No place for experiment

27th May 2005 at 01:00
I read with great interest the article on Anton Colella, "Get a real job" (TESS, last week). He proposes that more teachers should opt for work experience in industry as part of their professional development and that his time spent with Motorola (seven days) was "probably the single biggest formative experience" of his life.

I agree wholeheartedly with the chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority that experience in industry does allow you to "get a sense of reality". But alas, in my experience, that opinion does not appear to be widely shared with senior management responsible for the recruitment of primary teachers.

I also worked for Motorola (13 years' service from operator to senior engineer) and decided to follow a dream to become a primary teacher. I took the difficult step to take a substantial drop in salary and change profession. I achieved a first class honours BEd.

I am now a second-year teacher and keen to get a full-time, permanent class post. Unfortunately, when applying for jobs over three different education authorities and filling in numerous job applications (none of which have a section for work experience prior to "life-in-teaching"), no one appears interested in my "experience in industry". Having attended several job interviews, I have never been asked about my time in the private sector.

I agree that experiencing work in the private sector is extremely valuable in becoming a better teacher but, unfortunately, not so valuable when it comes to getting a job.

Debbie Bear


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