Skip to main content

The dream-turned-nightmare

At school, I used to listen to friends as they searched the internet, looking for jobs they might be interested in as a career. They would want to be architects, doctors, pilots or firefighters. But I knew what I wanted to do - teaching was always my calling.

The route for me was clear. I went to university to do a degree, which would keep my options open, but I would never lose sight of my ultimate goal. Throughout university, I volunteered at my local secondary, and when I got accepted onto the PGDE (P) course, it felt right - the way my life was meant to happen.

Twelve months later I stood before my very own class - through ups and downs I would be their teacher and they would be my pupils. The year was exhausting, but I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I had a great relationship with the children, parents and staff. It was a fairytale - almost too perfect to be true - and a glowing report sealed the deal.

Here the tale takes a turn. Move forward to the start of term and a very different tale. Despite a glowing report, I sit here, no permanent job, no fixed school, no class of pupils to call my own, scrounging on scraps of supply that may happen to fall my way. When I hear of friends sitting in the same positions, hearing rumours of councils breaking service, people who are unable to pay their mortgages, or who have to leave the profession altogether, I can only ask one question: when did the dream become a nightmare?

In my short time I have seen an abundance of excellent professionals. Yet, if things continue - irrespective of political rhetoric - we are going to lose the hearts and minds of all those who want to make a difference, who see teaching not simply as a job, but a way of life. If we do not wish to lose these people, the time to act is now.

Craig Mackay, supply teacher, Glasgow.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you