Filter out weak teachers;Letter

26th February 1999 at 00:00
ALAN Hall recounts how, as a young teacher, he had to teach next door to a colleague whose discipline was, seemingly, almost totally lacking (TES, February 12). I sympathise with his feelings as I too have been in this situation.

In my case the colleague was in the room above and the situation even more frustrating as I was being paid on what was then a scale one. The author of the noise which at times totally disrupted my classes was on scale four.

Sadly, unlike Alan Hall, I cannot claim to have entertained any feelings of sympathy for my colleague. I only remember, after 25 years or so, the deep resentment that such a person should have been allowed to become a teacher. I also remember conversations with others on the need for a Teachers' Council to act as a necessary filter.

One other difference I have with Mr Hall is that I never thought I should be paid more than my colleague, simply that he should never have been able to becaome a teacher.

I share with a majority of teachers, both then and now, the view that there should be a fixed, known framework for teacher remuneration applicable to all on entry to the profession.

Mr Hall thinks that he should have been paid more - but he would not have been the person to decide. Could he have been certain that whoever held that responsibility would have seen things as he did?

Is it not possible that the person in question might have passed over his qualities and favoured someone else whom Mr Hall saw as less effective than himself? Worse, that the incompetent colleague was favourably viewed by the powers-that-be and that he was considered no more than an arrogant upstart who should show more respect to his betters?

No, the solution to the problem is not to cast teachers' career prospects to the waves of subjectivity but to allow them to control entry to a known and agreed career structure.

I am convinced teachers would not let the incompetents that we all have met pass into the profession to wreak the havoc that they do and give ammunition to the populism of the chief inspector's reports.

W J Walder

107 Shalmsfor Street

Chartham

Kent

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