Welcome the probationer, but beware the dishonesty of acting up

The monthly diary of a new probationer and Sheilah Jackson's Head to Head column in Scotland Plus on January 10 both gave much food for thought.

As a harassed class teacher, I can reassure the probationer that the completion of the final report is no landmark. Planning may become easier but everything still has to be justified and documented. As for personal development, can someone direct me to a clear statement of the criteria for the achievement of chartered teacher status? We welcome the probationer to the rank and file who undertake this course, that course, this additional responsibility, that initiative - with no indication of the credit to be apportioned to the activity.

One course which caught my eye indicated that it "may" or "may not" be recognised as accreditable. Besides, places were offered for those recommended by management and then an interview.

Career structure seems as vague for management. At a staff meeting, we were informed that some higher order manager was going to "act up". This announcement was received with a couple of raised eyebrows, but not even a sigh. We all now realise that "acting up" becomes, after a while, an acronym for "is". There is a dishonesty about "networking" which does not fit with the Scottish work ethic.

Why do we still enjoy our jobs? Perhaps we are sustained by a naive optimism that a new year will mean that things can only get better. Or perhaps it is a genuine optimism that a word of praise here, a little encouragement there, will make some small difference to the children who are at the heart of our jobs.

Class Teacher (name and address supplied)

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