Letters extra: Yours, demoralised

22nd June 2001 at 01:00
As a mature teacher for seven years, having spent 20 years down the coal mine,nbsp;then eight years in numerous other jobs whilst getting re-educated, I find certain aspects of the profession a continual trail of despair.

I hoped many things would change with the election of New Labour, especially education under David Blunkett whom I admired since my mining days at a pit not far from his native Sheffield. C Woodhead being allowed to keep his job as main teacher basher was just the first of many disappointments under him, many of which are now well documented.

Now a new education minister comes riding over the hill determined to stamp her mark on the profession. The first words spoken are how proud she is in pushing through the PRP, which the vast majority did not want, and still don't want, creating 30,000 failing teachers in a lottery, and probably the same number again who did not apply through principle. She has demoralised, not motivated.

Estelle Morris is now going to concentrate her energies on pupils and parents, determined to miss out the middle manwoman. How thoughtful of her. She is to privatise services, again against the wishes of many.

In my school job seeking is now an important activity among staff. Some have already left, some have just resigned through sheer disillusionment and many are awaiting to see what the new school year will bring. I am in the job because I first and foremost care about the young people I teach.

I can take threats and indignities from those students who are confrontational. I love being swamped by students who want to do everything under the sun regarding school activities, clubs, raising money for charities, I am still able to complete marking, assessing, planning, teaching and extra duties around the school without getting depressed because I care.

What will push me out of the profession is education ministers who continue to make their mark by neglecting the middle menwomen. Saying teachers are great is patronising which makes the majority of us wince with disbelief and outright anger.

The teacher shortage, therefore, will worsen.

I believe for Estelle Morris; "to put her personal stamp on the top job," we must read; "to put the boot in".nbsp;

And for myself and the profession at large please read instead of "whingeing," "anger".

Mr CL Cheetham

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