Learning shouldn't end with retirement

22nd February 2008 at 00:00
Some decisions are hard. I'm still dithering. Do I, or do I not, pay pound;45 for registration to the General Teaching Council for Wales?

The GTCW offers some very good deals if you are currently teaching in schools - the continuing professional development (CPD) bursary being one. I had the opportunity to work with the National Grid for Learning for six weeks one summer. I completed my life coaching qualifications, courtesy of the GTCW.

I've even applied for a group bursary before. So often teachers know how to do something but simply haven't the time to work together - these group bursaries can really make a difference.

You only have to read the CPD section on the GTCW website. It's easy to see how open-minded the GTCW is towards encouraging teachers to take up learning opportunities. One teacher and his (female) colleagues trained to climb walls so they could add a new dimension to their PE lessons, taking lessons to dizzy heights.

A religious education teacher from Pontypridd attended a nine-day seminar programme at the International School in Jerusalem. Another RE teacher took a genetics course so that she could understand the ethical and social issues of genetic developments in science, such as the controversial "designer babies".

The GTCW can open training doors for you in nearly any field. All you have to do is apply and, providing the funds are available, you will have the council's support.

Currently, the teachers' body is putting a lot of effort into the concept of chartered teachers. There are teachers piloting the scheme at the moment.

The teaching council consists of a varied spectrum of dedicated teachers and educational experts with a tremendous range of educational experience. This is being used to develop and broaden its scope to meet the needs of teachers in the 21st century.

But I now have a problem - I have retired. Last year, after considerable thought, I decided to pay the GTCW registration fee. But what would I gain?

Perhaps there could be some funding to help those of us newly retired to take up new interests - it's a bit of a shock when the pension does not meet expectations.

Perhaps there should be a CPD fund to help prepare teachers for a contented retirement. Perhaps we could entice some of the newly retired teachers back into the classroom in a mentoring role.

Perhaps the registration fee could be cut dramatically for us old fuddy-duddies. To register or not to register? That is my dilemma.

Helen Yewlett is a retired ICT teacher.

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