NUT own goal

My old union the NUT – and one I owe a great deal to for helping me through redundancy so supportively – has scored an own goal, I’m afraid.

10% is an unrealistic and insensitive pay claim in these troubled economic times and the public reaction to it should have been foreseen.

For those who have never been teachers – I can state quite categorically that it isn’t the cakewalk most people seem to imagine it is:

  • The constant pressure from government, OFSTED, senior staff, education authorities, educational theorists and parents.
  • The interminable and repetitive paperwork
  • The demands made outside of the remit of teaching regarding pastoral care
  • The increasing threat of violence from pupils and parents
  • The refusal of the authorities to judge a school properly with regard to its catchment area

Of course, balanced against this people are going to trot out the old – well, it’s only 9 to 3 and you have 6 weeks’ holiday in the summer bullshit.

And that’s what it is – bullshit, delivered by the shovel load by people who haven’t got the first fucking clue how demanding the job is.

My wife – recently retired – went into school and was there by 7.30, she worked through her lunch break and then stayed until at least 5.30. She then worked in the evening for an average of about 2 hours and regularly put in 12 hours at the weekend. I make that about a 72 hour week and she wasn’t exceptional at her school. Furthermore, as teachers tend to socialise with other teachers I can confidently state that such hours are not exceptional in other schools from other teachers we both know.

As for the long holidays, the 6 weeks in the summer were whittled away by preparation for the Autumn term, collating resources, completing paperwork.

Teachers have worked long hours for many years – and at one time it was just through sheer dedication. Now, in many cases, it’s because the demands of the job are so great because of pointless and ineffectual bullshit bureaucracy that you either work that extra or you can’t do your job in any sort of realistic timeframe.

People can moan and whinge all they want about teaching but I say – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

But 10% is a bit rich.

If I was running the NUT I’d go for better conditions of service – it’d certainly improve a teacher’s quality of life better than a 10% pay rise.


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