Search

Letter of the week

PUBLISHED: 13:20 14 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:07 05 July 2010

I AM sorry to see that Rachel Moore, whose column I always enjoy and with whom I frequently agree, has joined the ranks of teacher bashers.

As the wife and mother of teachers I know that Ms Moore has given a very unfair picture.

I AM sorry to see that Rachel Moore, whose column I always enjoy and with whom I frequently agree, has joined the ranks of teacher bashers.

As the wife and mother of teachers I know that Ms Moore has given a very unfair picture.

“Cushy” is the last word anyone should use to describe the job of teaching. That most people see it as cushier than their own job may or may not be true. What they don't understand is what goes on outside, as well as inside, the classroom.

For example, my husband, when a headmaster, was once sitting working in his office during the school holidays. A parent arrived to see him and remarked how lucky he was to be on holiday. This perception of teachers is very common. Administration, marking, lesson preparation, organising school trips, meeting parents, attending evening meetings, going on refresher courses, in fact anything where teachers are not actually in contact with children, are all too often seen by parents as non-working time.

Ms Moore falls into this error when she complains that teachers have preparation time out of the classroom.

As for their long holidays, my husband spent a great deal of them in school getting ready for the next term.

My daughter in her first year of teaching worked every evening until bedtime and most Saturdays getting ready for her classes, although it wasn't quite as bad in subsequent years.

As for the average classroom teacher's pay being £35,000, this is not quite accurate. Main scale teachers in England start on £20,133 and after six years can be earning £29,427. If they then prove excellent teachers they "cross the threshold" and go onto £31,878. After another six years they might rise to £34,281. More can be earned with extra posts of responsibility but Ms Moore refers to “the average classroom teacher” by which, I presume, she excludes these. teachernet.gov.uk/pay gives the figures.

As for the comment that teachers should be child-minders so that parents can go out to work, I have to ask why does she think this? Teachers are trained and paid to teach. If, as is now so sadly usually necessary, parents need someone to look after their children so they can work why do they suppose the job should fall to teachers? In any case small children, especially, could not cope with only two or three weeks off school a year.

She is more right than she knows about the stress many teachers are under and perhaps should ask herself why they are leaving the profession in droves and why we not infrequently hear of suicides among teachers.

My brother-in-law, a GP, once told me that he always knew when an Ofsted inspection was imminent by the sudden surge in teachers coming into the surgery for tranquillisers.

Finally, the lack of support and appreciation by parents like Ms Moore does nothing to help children get the most out of their school days as it can lead to teachers being demoralised and this does no-one any good - teachers, parents or children.

NGAIO MALCOLM

Benacre Road

Henstead

This wins our Letter of the Week Award and the writer will receive a bouquet courtesy of Sansom's Florists.

Most Read