Military moves

So Michael Gove wants to encourage more ex-military personnel into teaching ("We're not really sergeant majors", TES, October 3).

I found that being a commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force volunteer reserve helped to widen my horizons as a teacher. When I went into teacher training, it seemed only natural that I should be the tutor to a group of marines who had joined up to train together.

The one area we all agreed these men would have no problem with was class discipline. Wrong. At the tutorial after their first teaching experience, they all said how exasperated they were. "What do you do," asked one, "when a 14-year-old girl tells you to fuck off? With a truculent matelot, I punch him in the face, but you can't do that with a teenage girl."

Indeed not. There is a lot the ex-military can bring to teaching, although not all their experiences will necessarily be very easily transferable.

Peter Stammers, Banstead, Surrey.

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