There has never been a better time to argue back

After nearly 20 years in the classroom, I would like to disagree with Michael Gove's claim that "there has never been a better time to be a teacher". Where I work, the majority of teachers do everything they can to "transform lives immeasurably for the better". They do so in a context of change and high levels of stress, at a punishing pace and sometimes great personal cost.

Mr Gove is right to praise, on a macro level, the impressive achievements of his independent, state-funded academies and free schools, and name some of the people who are linked with such success. He should also reflect on the work that thousands of teachers do in all types of schools day in, day out. I could name some of these individuals myself. I see them arriving at school at 6.30am and leaving nearly 12 hours later. They do this every Monday to Friday without recognition or fanfare. These teachers wouldn't thank me for naming them. They just want to get on with doing a job that keeps on getting harder. Many teachers really feel the best years are behind them.

Simon Martin, Head of religious education, Reading.

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