Let's take care of now

6th May 2005 at 01:00
I am writing in response to issues raised in last week's TES Scotland regarding the stress being experienced by Moray House lecturers. Having spent the last four years at Moray House on the BEd programme, I want to express my thanks to those involved in training me to become a teacher.

I graduated with a first class degree last summer and feel I was supported and encouraged by all my lecturers without exception. I was therefore concerned to read of the stress levels being experienced by these dedicated and very hard-working professionals, but can appreciate their predicament as the workload seems immense.

It was also disappointing for me to read of headteacher Rory MacKenzie's criticism of initial teacher education in another article within last week's issue. I was confused by the contradictory nature of his remarks, which devalued the work done by Moray House lecturers. Surely if he feels the standard of new teachers has improved, then those training us must have been effective in their endeavours?

I don't agree that the quality of those training teachers needs to improve.

From my experience, it's the constraints of budget which need to be addressed, as limited funding for staffing seems to result in an unrealistic workload. Large student class sizes generate a huge volume of work for lecturers, which results in the overload that we primary teachers also struggle with, due to our large class sizes.

I'm disappointed that a headteacher has criticised Moray House in this way, when it would be much more helpful to pile the pressure on those who cut the education budgets. For example, I am fed up with having the headteacher in my sons' school year after year having to explain to us parents how she is going to manage this year's cut to her budget. I'm sure Professor Pamela Munn faces the same challenges when it comes to the Moray House financial constraints.

While I'm on my soapbox, I may as well add that I am even more fed up about having to spend my first year of teaching in a cramped ill-equipped room with paint peeling off the walls, windows that don't open and two ancient computers at the back of the room, with which I am expected to deliver the ICT curriculum to 29 pupils.

I have written to Peter Peacock regarding these issues some months ago and I have yet to receive a reply. Apparently he's been busy in China this year! I'd like him to address the issues in run-down buildings like the one I'm teaching in and talk to newly qualified teachers like myself as to how to improve the system, rather than focusing his energies on China.

Incidentally, if he does choose to visit me and my class, then I hope he doesn't expect the all singing and dancing assembly and a bit of handshaking which our MSP's and councillors regard as the norm when they grace our schools with their presence. I think I'll invite him to teach ICT to the 29 and engage him in a bit of after-school marking.

Marian Rae

Probationer teacher

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