The dream-turned-nightmare

16th September 2011 at 01:00

At school, I used to listen to friends as they searched the internet, looking for jobs they might be interested in as a career. They would want to be architects, doctors, pilots or firefighters. But I knew what I wanted to do - teaching was always my calling.

The route for me was clear. I went to university to do a degree, which would keep my options open, but I would never lose sight of my ultimate goal. Throughout university, I volunteered at my local secondary, and when I got accepted onto the PGDE (P) course, it felt right - the way my life was meant to happen.

Twelve months later I stood before my very own class - through ups and downs I would be their teacher and they would be my pupils. The year was exhausting, but I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I had a great relationship with the children, parents and staff. It was a fairytale - almost too perfect to be true - and a glowing report sealed the deal.

Here the tale takes a turn. Move forward to the start of term and a very different tale. Despite a glowing report, I sit here, no permanent job, no fixed school, no class of pupils to call my own, scrounging on scraps of supply that may happen to fall my way. When I hear of friends sitting in the same positions, hearing rumours of councils breaking service, people who are unable to pay their mortgages, or who have to leave the profession altogether, I can only ask one question: when did the dream become a nightmare?

In my short time I have seen an abundance of excellent professionals. Yet, if things continue - irrespective of political rhetoric - we are going to lose the hearts and minds of all those who want to make a difference, who see teaching not simply as a job, but a way of life. If we do not wish to lose these people, the time to act is now.

Craig Mackay, supply teacher, Glasgow.

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