Commitment and dedication versus a top degree

8th August 1997 at 01:00
In September, I will be starting a primary postgraduate certificate in education course. When I applied, I felt I had developed a number of skills that would prove useful to the teaching profession. I had left a reasonably well-paid position to gain some experience in schools. I had worked as a classroom assistant and a special needs assistant. I also have 16 years' experience as a parent.

I returned to education after 17 years to obtain the qualifications needed to become a teacher. During the past four years I have put all my time and effort into getting my degree. The cost of my degree has been high. My children have had to make do with a mother who not only worked days but nights and weekends. And after finishing my PCGE I will have to start paying back my student loans - around Pounds 10,000.

With less than six weeks left before I start the PGCE course, I should be feeling that at last there is light at the end of the tunnel. But it would appear, according to Sir Ron Dearing's inquiry ("Concerns over quality of trainee teachers", TES, July 25), that rather than being an asset to the education profession, I will be one of the many that will be "threatening the entire education system", because I only got a 2.2.

Fortunately, the university that has offered me a place on its PGCEcourse realises that having a first or upper-second degree does not necessarily mean that you will have the skills to become a competent teacher. Commitment and dedication are just as important.

JOAN CARROLL

Weston Street, London SE1

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