Don't be trapped by profession stereotypes

4th December 1998 at 00:00
As a nursery nurse, I must respond to the implied criticism of a recent article, ("Don't be trapped by gender stereotypes", TES, School Management Update, November 13).

This said: "Girls capable of becoming teachers set their sights no higher than nursery nurse."

I have spent two-and-a-half years learning how to help children in my care to reach their full potential. I have learned about the needs of children, the needs of their parents and the special needs of some children.

If I work in nursery school, I am trusted to make observations which will influence the way the teacher will work with that child. I am empowered to make suggestions toward the life of the class and work in a true partnership with the teacher. If I work in a school am I perceived as the person who tends to cut knees, cleans up after accidents and the pair of hands who does the photocopying?

Teachers should know that poor pay does not mean lack of training. May I ask, no demand, that I and my fellow nursery nurses are seen as professionals? If teachers could learn to trust their qualified nursery nurses they would find allies who are trained in child development. This training, in an era of age-related, outcome-based testing, will provide the teacher with a more balanced view of the child.

C Goddard

100 Avonmouth Road Shirehampton Bristol

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