Teachers are not militant – they just want fair treatment

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From: Sue Cuthbert, Newton on Rawcliffe, North Yorkshire.

WITH reference to the letter from Malcolm Nicholson (The Yorkshire Post, April 17) about teachers, he should get his facts correct.

Firstly, teachers who were seen on the march were wearing casual clothing instead of what they wear at school, which are often suits or other suitable items of apparel.

Secondly, teachers are not ”a bunch of militants hoping to get at the Government”.

They just want to be treated fairly.

Michael Gove, who is a journalist, not a teacher, has made drastic changes to teachers’ terms and conditions.

He will not discuss any of this with the main teaching unions, in fact, he usually sends one of his minions instead of attending himself to meet with union leaders.

The main changes are paying more into the compulsory pension scheme and receiving less pension after working until the age of 67.

Most teachers are burned out long before this. When people reach this age, they often suffer from age-related illnesses. Being in front of a class of difficult pupils is not good for teacher or pupil.

As for the holidays, many years ago when children had to work on farms, time off school was necessary. This has continued as the designated school holidays.

I receive a teacher’s pension which I can assure Mr Nicholson is less than £6,000 per annum. As a woman, I did not start teaching until I was 35.

To become a teacher nowadays, a student must complete at least four years training to degree level.

Personally, I do not think that parents should be fined for taking their children out of school for a fortnight’s holiday. The wrong people are targeted here. This is a Government initiative, not the decision of teachers. It’s very silly to suggest that parents and children should fine teachers.

As for having a day off school, most pupils are often quite happy about it. Also, there are still parents who regard teachers as childminders. A recent poll in The Yorkshire Post asked this question: Should teachers be banned from striking?

It had a worrying result. A large percentage of voters said yes. It is becoming difficult to keep teachers in the profession these days. Do parents really wish a continuing shortage of them?

We need to make people understand that the teaching profession is a worthwhile job and teachers be made to feel that they are wanted.