Let teachers into the 21st century

22nd September 2000 at 01:00
CHRIS Price and his colleagues have nudged at the door of the essential changes needed to the working school year (TES, September 8), but have avoided both acknowledging the real issue and looking for a solution.

They do not seek to address why it is that teachers are in such a state of stress and weariness.

Teachers can no longer be expected to teach, be trained, meet parents, mark, prepare lessons, review their own and their pupils' work, plan new modules, assess, appraise and be appraised, be a tutor, manage the demands of emotionally damaged pupils and a dozen other issues, all in the same amount of time as was allocated 150 years ago when secondary schooling was introduced for the sons of the middle classes.

The pressure is phenomenal and is leading many to depart.

Teachers should, in y view, have a 37-hour working week (including four 30-minute sessions of pupil-contact time each day, three hours for markingassessmentpreparationadministration) but all at their place of work. They should annually have 38 pupil- contact weeks, seven professional weeks at their place of work, but not engaged in pupil contact so as to undertake their many professional requirements, and seven weeks of leave, similar to most professional workers.

Heads and senior managers would expect a different schedule, similar to their counterparts in other areas of employment.

We must find the courage to enable teachers to become 21st-century employees and not continue to treat them as if we were still living in the 19th century.

Anita Higham

Berry Hill Road

Adderbury, West Oxfordshire

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