Thursday, 24 April 2008

Support the teachers

You couldn’t pay me enough to be a teacher.

And I’m not adverse to the sound of my voice, and I get quick a kick out of ‘teaching’ whether it’s doing presentations or trying to help instruct martial arts. But the thought of being part social worker, part security guard, part mentor and the responsibility for shaping young minds that goes with being a school teacher, frankly scares me shitless.

Which is why I think they deserve more pay and support their strike today.

I’m not totally soppy about this. With two children in inner London schools and a partner who is a school governor, I know that there are some crap teachers, and it’s still too difficult to get rid of them. But then there are weak individuals in every industry or profession.

However the arguments behind the strike today are really about the status of teaching itself . A lot of people in the private sector - actually most of the people I work with - are totally misinformed about teachers pay (the quoted £35k is at the top level not the average) and the hours (the unpaid overtime and out of hours working is conveniently forgotten).

But even if they weren’t mis-informed, even if teaching really was a cushy over-privileged profession; why shouldn’t it be?

Graduate trainees in city financial institutions regularly start at £35k – who do we really need most? Maybe if we go these priorities right we’d have a more civilised society.

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