Letters extra: salaries outside teaching

4th May 2001 at 01:00

I am one of the many teachers who has abandoned teaching, in my case shortly after qualifying as a secondary English teacher. I earn more, though not that much more, than a classroom teacher with the four years' experience I would by now have had in a job I enjoy.

I miss the buzz and working with teenagers, and I suppose I miss the holidays, though frankly I was so drained I needed the time tonbsp;recoup. What I have realised is that in the world outside the classroom there are people who earn substantially more than most teachers but who wouldn't last five minutes in the classroom and are nowhere near as talented, hard-working and clever as my former colleagues.

I am amazed at the amount of overtime I was expected to put in preparing, marking and attending meetings and parents' evenings. If the price were right I would consider returning to teaching, as would former teachers I know.

In the meantime, I follow developments in education with a mixture of horror and anticipation - maybe this time, I think, they'll get it, they'll pay real salaries for a real job. A school is not a business and sometimes you just have to trust that teachers are, for the most part, good given half a chance. When I see outstanding teachers being paid less than mediocre workers in business and industry I cringe at what this implies, and until this situation is rectified the decision-makers deserve the mess they have made of teacher recruitment and retention.

Jayne Moore
Purfleet, Essex

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