Have I become second-class?

7th April 2000 at 01:00
I AM a fourth-year student at Exeter University, studying for a BA (Ed) in primary education with music. I chose my course because I thought it would give me a better education for teaching primary-age children, where degree-level music knowledge is unlikely to be needed.

I chose a four-year course because it gave me more time to reflect on my experience and so learn to evaluate my own teaching skills. I chose to go straight into teaching rather than doing a degree first, because I was dedicated enough to having a career in education (I have wanted to become a teacher since I was a young child). I chose to ignore the warnings about being over-worked and under-paid because I want to work with children and make a difference to their lives.

This latest idea of paying training salaries to PGCE students is the last straw, and an insult to many students who have worked extremely hard throughout their three or four-year courses.

We may soon have to put up with fellow students, who may attend the same school placements, eing paid where we are not. At Exeter University, the policy is that BA (Ed) students are paid 65 per cent of travel expenses when PGCEs get 100 per cent, not to mention the "PGCE only" opportunity to apply for money because they study a secondary "shortage subject". Now a PGCE student may earn up to pound;10,000 for a one-year course while we are stuck with student loans and overdrafts. I seem to be at the bottom of the pile.

Have I made the wrong choice? Have I been wasting the last three-and-a-half years of my life? When I go to an interview will they look down on me because I do not have a degree in music? I would hope that I would have an advantage in having four years of experience instead of one, but I am having my doubts.

Please somebody stand up for BEd and BABSC (Ed) courses! Where's my pound;10,000? I've done four years, does that mean I get pound;40,000? Where's MY incentive to be a teacher? My incentive should be job satisfaction NOT financial gain.

Laura Booy


Heavitree Road, Exeter

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