Teachers' happiness is essential too

14th December 2007 at 00:00
So now we know. Happier teachers are more effective (TES, December 7). Why on earth was it necessary for academics from Birkbeck College in London to research the obvious? Teachers are no different from other employees, and the importance of investing in the welfare of employees has been recognised throughout industry and commerce for the past 30 years.

When I entered teaching in the 1970s, the idea of spending money or time on the comfort of teachers was greeted with protests from those occupying a moral high ground about needing to focus on children's needs, not teachers'. The first staffroom I entered had torn curtains, cracked coffee cups, broken furniture and a very downmarket but righteous ethos.

Things have improved since then, but there is a long way to go. Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, has put well-being and happiness on the agenda. Let's hope teachers' well-being and happiness is given the same emphasis, so they can - as Birkbeck researchers have found at great expense - "make pupils feel happier, motivated and more confident".

Eve Gillmon, Education consultant, Fordingbridge, Hampshire.

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