Resignation was the only option

5th May 2000 at 01:00
I HAVE just returned from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Belfast. While it contained no fireworks or histrionics, it did contain eloquent and often moving speeches about the depth of despair that was felt for the future of the teaching profession and the frustration engendered at the Government's failure to really take account of the fears, feelings and opinions of classroom teachers.

For myself, I have just resigned my position as head of department. It is a position I have held for 12 years. One of the reasons for resigning is that I cannot bear the thought that I will need, if I wish to remain a manager in the future, to play a part in determining the salaries of my colleagues.

I cannot do that, under any circumstances, and will not. I have always believed that the truly competent, experienced and well trained in any profession, know what to do to earn their salaries. The position of head of department is in my view, one which requires somebody who is willing and able to take on all or most of the administrative burden, and also able to shoulder the position of taking the flak, the bad kids, and for keeping discipline (if required). Heshe is not there to "lead and drive", to "manage". Professionals do not need that. Unfortunately that view is not fashionable, and that is mainly why I have resigned. I am simply no good at that kind of thing.

Brian Waggett

National executive member

Association of Teachers and Lecturers

20 Melrose Avenue


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