Willing and able

14th April 2000 at 01:00
RORY Shand (TESS, March 31) is entitled to his opinion, but surely not at the expense of the majority of Scottish teachers. It's strange that he chooses to attack our inability to perform our jobs within our contracted hours.

I say the majority of teachers, instead of only my own situation, because if he had read the Educational Institute of Scotland's submission to McCrone he would have seen that an average teacher works a 42-hour week (seven above the contracted hours), a third work for 45 hours and 15 per cent work for more than 50 hours.

Therefore, if Mr Shand stands by his statement, then he thinks that the majority of teachers can't do their jobs, which is strange, and a horrific attack on our educational system.

The EIS help to illustrate my point that we need more time to do non-teaching activities. Therefore, extra time during the long summer break, adequately funded by our employers (as Mr Shand says, and I implied), is an ideal situation, and one which would improve our already impressive educaional system. After all, educating is why we are in the teaching profession.

If Mr Shand has not attended any worthwhile in-service "training" during his 26 years in the "business" then I feel sorry that he has not been able to choose the correct courses for his own professional development. Which is strange because I have been teaching for "only" two years and I have experienced excellent courses that have enhanced my teaching. I hope to continue to do so for as long as I can, maybe 24 years!

As for me being indispensable, I don't think that at all. I care about the personal and emotional well-being of the students I teach, my ability to improve their achievement and make their education a worthwhile experience.

With adequate time, finance and continued quality in-service "training" I think that my ability would improve and continue to improve for as long as I am in this profession, which is dedicated and works extremely hard for the children.

Alan Graham

West Lewiston, Drumnadrochit

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