I HAVE read with interest numerous articles in recent months regarding the crisis in teacher recruitment. I wonder when the more important issue of teacher retention will be addressed; what is actually being done to retain teachers once they have qualified and have served 10 years or more?
The issue is not only of what percentage increase there is going to be in our pay packets in 2001, or threshold payments, but also, and more so, to do with working conditions. Not enough is being done by the Government or the unions to address this.
I think there is an enormous number of teachers who at present are at their "wits' end". Having survived initiative after initiative they are doing their best, but their working conditions are such to cause them to spend even more time at schoolhome "doing school-work".
Teachers are absolutely shattered by the end of each week. There is no life outside of school. Weekens and holidays are taken up recovering from the rigours of teaching.
When is someone going to investigate not only the number of teachers telephoning the counselling line, but those visiting GPs and alternative practitioners for stress-related illnesses?
When is someone going to realise that those of us "on the chalk face" are not going to be physically and mentally able to teach beyond a certain age. Why can't we be pensioned off after so many years service in teaching such as happens in the armed services and police force?
When is someone going to give primary teachers a free period a day? When are initiatives to give teachers sabbaticals actually going to happen? Why aren't teachers given extra incentivesfinancial help for studying in their own time?
What incentives are there for teachers to remain in teaching?
Janice Gill Teacher 28 Melbourne Avenue Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex