First trainees

13th July 2007 at 01:00
Nick Morrison's article "We mean business" (TES magazine, July 6), while informative about Teach First, was one-sided. I am a newly qualified teacher who came through the PGCE route and my experience of Teach First trainees has not been as glowing.

The premise that "high-flyers" with good degrees must be good teachers is flawed from the outset. In my experience, there are as many "good" graduates who train on the PGCE. Elitism among Teach First trainees causes problems with other teachers and can mean they are reluctant to follow advice from more experienced staff. There is also a feeling that they will pass, no matter what. Some Teach First trainees are interested in their two years in school only as a stepping stone to careers such as medicine or law, so pupils get the impression that their education is a plaything, important only as long as they are useful to the trainees.

Surely the profession needs good teachers who are concerned for their pupils. It is the person behind the degree that matters. Teachers who have struggled to gain degrees surely have a better understanding of the needs of the majority of pupils who also struggle with their studies.

I am aware that my experience may not reflect the majority of Teach First

students, but I am concerned that schools and local authorities may be using them as cheap labour. This is surely unfair and will do nothing to improve children's education.

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