Don't undervalue life experience

14th August 2009 at 01:00

I refer to Jack Henderson's letter (August 7) and agree that the Government does need to balance the two pathways into teaching and focus on the real teaching numbers required. However, I strongly disagree with the underlying inference that PGDE teachers are in some way less devoted to the job.

Many PGDE students gave up careers following heavy government advertising. These teachers come from varying backgrounds, bringing a wealth of business experience to schools and possessing valuable experience beyond that of education. Many BEd students have no life experience other than that of a classroom.

Many mature teachers are interested in a career and apply for promoted posts, not because of "arrogance" or "disregard for the true nature of the job", as Mr Henderson claims, but because they may have a great deal of managerial or industrial experience and have coaching skills that could be used to develop and inspire pupils and staff alike.

One could argue that some teachers fall into promoted positions through years of service and many have little or no experience in managing a team of adults using coaching and team-building skills. A good educational team should include people of different ages, backgrounds and experience who can bring a variety of skills to the team. How they chose to be trained is irrelevant.

Both the postgraduate and BEd pathways into teaching are valuable in their different ways. In my three years of teaching, I have encountered enthusiastic and inspirational teachers and some awful teachers, but their ability to teach and their enthusiasm for the job has nothing to do with the pathway they chose.

Marnie McCrone, Largs Avenue, Kilmarnock (Woodlands Primary, Irvine).

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