Conflicting demands drive us to the edge

23rd March 2001 at 00:00
I read about Julia Kelly ("I quit", Friday, March 9) with a sense of recognition and resignation. I am a deputy head in a village school in Cornwall and our staff feel exactly the same as the staff at Dudley. We all love teaching, but feel frustrated by the conflicting demands made on us.

We appreciate the good aspects of the literacy and numeracy hours, but find them constrictive. I used to love encouraging children to finish written work to a high quality, making sure they understood the concepts behind science projects, and spending an extended period over DT projects.

This generation may be hot on identifying subordinate clauses, changing word order to add emphasis, doubling, halving, and using a range of trategies to work out a calculation, but they have probably never gone into a classroom, been given a few basic materials, and told that they have the day to build a bridge across the room.

As a result, they feel that the work they do in the afternoons is less important and I feel disempowered - a less effective teacher.

I spend most of my evenings working, but I don't think I can carry on at this rate for much longer. I have applied for a headship. If I get the job, it will mean I will have even more work and probably be less effective as a teacher, or that I won't get all the admin done.

I still haven't decided if I'm going to finish filling in the form.

Joanna Carter, Redruth, Cornwall

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