Professionally speaking...

13th February 1998 at 00:00
So, Stephen Byers says that if we are to work extra hours in the evenings, early in the mornings and at weekends we must be rewarded and treated as professionals, (TES, January 23).

Apart from the obvious sense of outrage that every teacher in the country must feel about further enforced encroachments into leisure time, there is an obvious lack of understanding of the word "professional".

True professionalism in teaching is not about working even longer and more anti-social hours, it is about teachers being more involved in leadership, working with colleagues in consultancy roles and sharing expertise and decision-making in situations relevant to their pupils.

What Mr Byers unwittingly (or perhaps not) is talking about is not professionalism at all, it is "intensification". This refers to teachers having less discretion to exercise their professional judgment, carrying out routine and de-skilled work by adopting step-by-step instructional methods and complying with imposed directives.

We will not be seduced, Mr Byers, into believing we are becoming more professional and meekly allowing ourselves to agree to further exploitation through your plan for a "flexible" contract. We know we already do a professional job and we could do it better with less interference.


Headteacher Holmescarr junior school Grange Lane, Rossington Doncaster

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now