Letters Extra: Why are they teaching?

31st January 2003 at 00:00

As a fourth-year BEd student I am just beginning my final semester of financial deprivation knowing that all around me the government is handing out cash to trainees but I won't see a penny.

Time and time again I see friends on non-teaching training courses graduate and ask themselves: "What shall I do with this degree in sports studies or dance?"

After several weeks pondering their future and still no nearer to a solution they contemplate their last resort, the great fallback, teaching.

For the next year they receive anything upwards of pound;6000 whilst they plan what they really want to do with their lives.

This attitude must be picked up on interviews for graduate teaching training courses but institutions desperate for money seem willing to fill places with any human being with a degree.

It would be interesting to know how many of the third of teachers who want to leave the teaching profession never really wanted to enter into it in the first place.

I would like to point out that as I have devoted all my energy into unpaid teaching practices over the past 4 years I have met many excellent and wonderfully committed teachers who have recently followed the postgraduate route, and in general these people had always planned to teach after they had graduated.

If the government really wants to raise standards in education they must train people who want to teach and do not approach the profession as an afterthought.

They must also reward this desire to teach by giving undergraduates a training salary in their last year similar to that of the postgraduates.

Adam Watson
Winifred Road

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