I have just become a registered teacher, having completed my probationary year. At the age of 40, I decided to venture into teaching as I wanted to do something more worthwhile and rewarding. I do not expect to walk straight into a job, nor do I look down my nose at supply teachers, as suggested by Gordon Cairns (TESS August 3).
During my probationary year, I learned a great deal and I am most grateful for the support, help and advice I received from teaching staff at all levels, permanent and temporary.
However, my concern is that the Government keeps implying there is a shortage of teachers due to the numbers who are retiring. Indeed, I was told by headteachers that I was changing career at a good time as there would be plenty of opportunities. This message was backed up on the postgraduate course.
However, the jobs being advertised are few and far between, with between 150 to 250 applicants per job. Also, much supply work is carried out by people who have retired, wishing to supplement their pension.
I believe the Scottish Executive needs to look at the people entering the profession. University places must be matched more appropriately to the needs of the industry and true information should be available so people can make an informed choice before leaving well-paid employment to become a teacher.
Gordon Cairns obviously feels that probationers have too much in the way of expectations. At the end of the day, we are all teachers, new and experienced, and I always felt the term "probationer" sounded as if I had just left jail. As I was introduced to the probationer taking my class next year, my deputy head kindly said: "This was our probationer this year. She's unemployed from tomorrow." Now that is condescension.
and address supplied
(supply teacher for five different local authorities)