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'Myth' of teaching as a vocation;What the teachers say ...;Opinion;News and Opinion

KEILY DOWSING, 22, a new teacher at Taylor Road primary, Leicester, said: "When I was training there were more mature students who had done other jobs and then decided to teach than people who went into teaching as a stop-gap.

"I had some good teachers and they had quite a lot of influence on my development. I went into teaching because I wanted to guide children in the way I had been guided.

"When I was training, teachers were getting bashed from every direction but I didn't really think about that, or the money, I just wanted to teach. And I haven't been disappointed."

JUDITH COOPER, 47, teacher with seven years' experience at Taylor Road primary, said: "Training to be a teacher is tough. I'm surprised people go through with it if their heart is not really in it.

"When I was training they sent first term to a tough school. People dropped out at that stage because they realised they couldn't hack it.

"I did all kinds of jobs. I changed after I had children. I really enjoyed going to playgroup and into school and working with the kids so I decided to make a career of it."

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