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Working holidays

JOHN RAE is right to state (TESS, March 10) that "teachers know best". I don't think any teacher would doubt his words. However, I also feel that everything we do should reflect the best interests of the child, and from what he says, I don't doubt he agrees with me also.

A shorter summer holiday, for instance a four-week break, would provide me with more quality time on planning, classroom preparation and quality inservice training or professional development. Thus, the quality of the pupils' learning experience would be further enhanced.

The first week could be spent attending courses that were seen as a priority by the individual and the school - thereby negating the ordeal of going on courses mid-term, which causes undue havoc and disturbance o the learning and emotional stability of some pupils and also to the teacher who then has to juggle teaching, preparation and assessment, along with the production of quality notes to cascade what they have experienced on an inservice training day.

During the second week, thorough planning could take place, instead of at weekends or after school hours. We could also get our classrooms ready for "our" students, instead of feeling like we are continually playing catch up.

Let's be honest anyway: I don't know many teachers who do not go into school during the holidays to "get things ready". At least this way we would get the acknowledgement for doing so! The acknowledgement we so crave.

Alan Graham

West Lewiston, Drumnadrochit

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