When I get older, losing my rights ...

25th February 2005 at 00:00
My daughter loves her primary teacher. She is enthusiastic, exciting and devotes huge amounts of time and energy to her class. She reminds me of myself, 20 years ago.

When I was in my twenties, my teaching was creative, risk-taking and pretty committed. I enjoyed my classes and they appeared to enjoy them too: they loved reading, wrote amazing stories and wanted to come to school.

Now I am in my late forties, I am better at the mechanics of teaching but less impassioned. I suspect that if children had the choice, they would prefer the younger me.

Children respond to energetic, imaginative young teachers in a way they cannot do with us oldies. They do not want teachers who are counting the days between each half-term holiday or serving time until they can cash their pension. Moreover, I do not want to work until I am 65.

Until recently, I was told I would get my pension at 60. Now this promise has been withdrawn and I am told I will have to work for another five years. I can retire at the lower age but if I do my pension will be considerably smaller. The Government has stolen a large chunk of it. I and many colleagues feel betrayed.

If I am forced to teach until I am 65 I do not think I will be innovative or even enthusiastic. This old lady will be a resentful, time-serving employee - that is not the sort of person I would want to teach my own children.

Gina Crowley is co-ordinator of humanities at a special school in Gateshead, Tyne Wear. Feeling aggrieved? Send 400 words to susan.young@tes.co.uk and get paid as you grumble

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