Rose-tinted specs blind graduates

I AM surprised that Nicola Watson (TES, August 2) does not recognise the importance of obtaining school experience before applying for a teaching course. At Sheffield Hallam, candidates for primary and early years courses are unlikely to be offered an interview without this experience. Candidates for undergraduate courses are also required to produce a reference from the school.

There are several reasons for this requirement. Firstly, Nicola needs to appreciate the workload and pressures on teachers in the 21st century. Potential candidates for teaching courses sometimes have a rosy picture of the profession based solely on selective memories of their own primary school education.

Secondly, Nicola is likely to be asked at interview to reflect on her school experience, perhaps by preparing and delivering a short presentation. Finally, a glowing reference from a school can be of considerable assistance to a candidate who is nervous and tongue-tied at interview.

Teachers need to be good time managers. Most undergraduate students are not timetabled for five full days a week and the university year is much shorter then the school year. Those who want to teach find the time to discover if it really is for them.

Alison Ryan School of education Sheffield Hallam University Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield

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