Stuck on probation;Letter

4th June 1999 at 01:00
AFTER four years of frustration at the jobs' market in Scotland for teachers I finally feel compelled to write in support of Bruna Elisa Ballantyne (TESS, May 21). I can easily empathise with her plight given that I graduated in 1995 with a PGCE in French and Italian and I remain employed on a part-time temporary contract to this day. Teachers in a similar position must surely feel as angry as I do every time they read a headline such as "We Can't Get the Staff" in The TES Scotland.

My own experience of probation sounds very similar to that of Ms Ballantyne. I spent the first half of my first year as a qualified teacher working part-time in a call-centre in an attempt to make ends meet. I "taught" in 12 different schools on daily, weekly, and longer-term supply. In my second year I was lucky to be offered a temporary 0.7 FTE job as a teacher of French. I have now been in this job for three years.

While I enjoy my job and I know that I have been lucky to have a kind of stability in my career, it is really not what I imagined for myself after four years in a profession. I am still a probationer teacher of Italian having only taught that subject for two weeks in four years.

I know that I am not the only teacher in this position. Nine staff in my school (out of about 45) are on part-time temporary contracts. When are the powers that be going to see the light? When are we going to be given the chance to do our job properly with the conditions that we deserve?

Can no one see what is happening to our young teachers? I am on the point of leaving a profession that I chose after a great deal of consideration, and that I love, simply because I can no longer do a job where I am made to feel completely unvalued and where I know that I am completely dispensable if our school roll falls.

Dorothy Connolly Bowfield Crescent Glasgow Leader, page 20

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