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What teachers say

The Teacher Training Agency has this week called on teachers to talk up the profession. The TES spoke to three teachers from different parts of the country: Rachel Graveson, the manager of key stage 3 at President Kennedy School, Coventry:

"These comments from the Teacher Training Agency are unfair," she said.

"Teachers just telling sixth-formers to go into teaching is not enough. I think there needs to be a more structured approach - the shortage of teachers is a multifaceted problem.

"I am the postgraduate certificate in education co-ordinator in our school, and I find that young people are put off teaching because they think it is exhausting and that it takes over your life.

"Mentoring rather than lecturing is a better way to get people interested in teaching. You need young teachers or students who are doing a PGCE to mentor sixth-formers. There is also a role for university lecturers in helping encourage students to teach."

Adele Rood, RE teacher, Robert Clack Secondary School, in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham:

"The promotion of the teaching profession is very important because as we all know the status of teachers has suffered dramatically over the past 20 years," she said.

"Teaching is a vocation and I really don't think that by talking to pupils about teaching that you will persuade them to become a teacher.

"When I left university I really didn't know what I wanted to do as a career. It dawned on me that I wanted to join the profession when I looked back at my school days, and remembered the support and encouragement I was given by my teachers.

"At the end of the day you can't become a teacher if you don't go to university and get a degree. Schools must encourage children to enjoy learning so that they will want to continue in education when they leave school."

Richard Wallace, English teacher, The Barclay School, Stevenage, Hertfordshire:

"I definitely think that teachers should speak to their pupils about becoming teachers. But to get a real insight into the profession pupils must speak to teachers in schools across the spectrum, from high achieving independent schools to inner-London comprehensives.

"It's not enough for me just to say I love teaching so you too should follow me and become a teacher.

"If I was speaking to my pupils about teaching as someone who has taught for 27 years, I would make sure they understood that the job is emotionally and physically demanding but that there are substantial rewards."

Nicole Martin and Matt Rodda

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