The joy ofshaping lives

10th July 1998 at 01:00
Your headline "Teachers are more important than head" (TES, June 26) made me seize and read my copy of the paper before handing over Pounds 1. Hallelujah! I am no longer feeling like the "voice of one crying in the wilderness".

I have been teaching primary pupils for more than 20 years and fondly remember the pre-national curriculum days when I too felt "like a small king in my classroom" and experienced joy in knowing I was shaping lives.

I had classes of 39 and no free time. However, I was able to concentrate almost all of my time on planning, teaching and caring for my pupils. I know that my pupils were receiving a better education then than now.

I was well trained and was allowed to use my professional skill and judgment in the situation which only I knew and could assess. I have recently been forced to resign my post for being "over-conscientious, too hard working and a perfectionist".

I was told this by a non-teaching head and deputy (who have not taught for more than 10 years and to whom the national curriculum is largely a mystery). They were backed by a board of governors I had not met and were guided solely by the head's report.

Moreover, to run this small school of 90 pupils this non-teaching pair need a "finance manager", one full-time and two part-time secretaries and board of governors, and a paid clerk to the governors. Too many chiefs and not enough indians?

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