A Side Order of Guilt And Stress.

A Side Order of Guilt and Stress

Dear Mr Swinney and the Scottish Government,

I am a teacher who was first registered with the GTCS in primary and nursery nearly 30 years ago. 

I have had a wide and varied career including Primary and Secondary Teaching in Scotland, England, N Ireland and Wales; roles have included leadership and management posts throughout the education sector. 

Public, charitable and private organisations; My roles have included all from class teacher to specialised leadership within an organisation training over 8000. 

Whilst I fully support inclusion, I also believe that it must be fully resourced. It is not currently and the policy of inclusion is being used to ensure budget cuts within education. 

Previously, the ratios were 1:6 for behavioural difficulties in pupils and 1:10 for learning support difficulties as teacher ratios (still are where special schools exist). Additional support of other staff was always available in these circumstances. 

Now, after inclusion in mainstream, ratios look like, 30 children (6 with behavioural issues, 10 with learning difficulties and the remainder struggling to learn in the environment of inclusion) : 1 teacher.  

This is most certainly not GIRFEC but simple cost saving. 

Teachers just cannot cope with this ratio or the planning and paperwork implications of the policy.

A 35hr week is impossible without: excessive paperwork, providing personal resources (at own cost), and a side order of guilt and stress. 

Whilst many teachers would love to work a 35hr week (and in some Secondary Schools may be doing as a result of work to rule) in Primary Schools teachers feel guilty if they do not support their pupils in all aspects of finance, learning and emotion. 

Today I was told in the staff room that no-one could do a 35hr week (despite the fact that they disagree with workload) as they have to do what the management and children need and want or/and will not see either success or progression.

A personal life is not possible without a 35hr week unless overtime is paid in order that teachers have a life/support and/or can be there for their own families.

I dispute the 5-11% quote for teacher pay – I worked out that the maximum would be 8.7% for a teacher on stage 5 to go to stage 6 automatically

I am confused – I am on point 6 (from the old point 10 – ie 12 point scale)and will only receive 3% with of course additional Scottish tax implications. 

Where do you get most will get 5-11% thing from? 

Please explain in detail for us all to understand or give accurate information to the Scottish public! Heh now amend this as the real situation becomes available – with reductions in point status 2 – 7 % max!

I have read that teachers want to tell you all about expenses they have had to do their job and the extra time we spend beyond our contract (overtime I believe it is called). 

I believe that it would be an excellent idea to send you all of our expenses and overtime for the next year just so that you can understand what we do.  

Alternatively, why don’t you all do a few weeks  doing our job and then say we are being paid appropriately?

Can we all send you expenses, travel, support personnel costs and overtime we are not allowed to claim as teachers? 

I am offended and to be honest, disgusted by the attitude of the Scottish Government – you have adapted the curriculum to suit the SNP, denying parity of information and basic skills to the young people of today in pursuit of Political agendas and career progression. 

I believed in your cause until you undermined and tainted a wonderful education system to further it.  

Blame management – sorry I can’t – They are governed by unrealistic targets and policies resulting in the expectation that teachers will cure the ails of society. 

Parents need to be responsible for their children. We as teachers are responsible for 25hrs a week over 40 weeks (ie 1000 hrs) which leaves responsibility of 7736 a year to parents so why is it our total responsibility to discipline, resource and emotionally support our pupils? 

As a teacher I am technically responsible for less than 13% of their life(and even then in a class of 30 that equates to 0.4% of my input to their life) 

Why do I feel  100% responsible to support them – oh yes I’m a teacher and I care like we all do!

Can I just point out that in the last 9 week term I worked 13 weeks (hour wise). 

This is common place for teachers and more than makes up for the holidays in which we work for no pay. 

If you would like to pay me overtime that is about £3000 this term alone – over the year this would be at least £12000 on hours alone without overtime payments.  

Look at it another way,  I, and most teachers at the top of the scale, are paid around £12 an hour – is that even reasonable for a professional?

Scottish Government, we are good at what we do but we are not magicians (nor are we indestructible). 

We are real people entitled to a life outside work , free from abuse from parents, pupils and society like all other public servants. 

In council offices, hospitals et al if a public servant were abused, the perpetrators would be banned from the establishment – not so in schools – violence and aggression have to be accepted as children are entitled to an education. 

Your policies are not helping Scottish Education and rather than blame teachers you and parents need to support a reduced workload with increased pay as well as total, resourced and managed educational reform to make us the nation we were before you interfered with a globally renowned education, pre CfE.

A teacher who loves teaching but is disillusioned with the current system


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