Torn between principle and pay

AS the deadline for threshold applications approaches I am haunted by a deepening sense of unease over the choice I face.

If I do not apply then not only am I losing out on the chance to increase my income, but I may also be jeopardising my career. Failure to cross the threshold could be interpreted in a number of ways, none positive: I could be lacking in self-confidence, committed to extreme political views, a disillusioned "time-server" or just not good enough.

If I do apply I am going against my belief that performance-related pay will be deeply damaging to the profession and, hence, to the education of our children.

I feel as if I am being bribed to conform to the Government's view o what is a good teacher while the nature of the criteria raises the spectre of mercenary motivation for every aspect of my work.

If I apply and succeed I will have to live with the guilt of going against my principles and perhaps succeeding where others, equally deserving, have failed. If I apply and fail I will have to cope with the demoralising effects of being branded a poor teacher.

Merely by applying I will apparently be supporting an initiative which I fundamentally oppose.

As thousands of us have no option but to apply, performance-related pay can be spun into a successful scheme that teachers welcomed.

Jill McManus

116, Brighton Grove

Newcastle upon Tyne

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