I am sure that this topic shall enrage many people, but it has bothered me for a long time. When did teachers become so detached from reality? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the invaluable efforts of the educators around the world. They play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our country, but should that render them exempt from exposure to the GFC?

My sister, the Adopted One (see previous entry for clarification on that!) was a teacher. And the incessant complaining enlightened me to the unrealistic expectations of the profession. Let me clarify their grievances:

1. The salary is too low.

Let us consider this further. As a newly qualified teacher, the Adopted One was earning 20% more per annum than myself, as an Architect with 10 years of education, 3 degrees and 5 years experience. Ok, maybe that’s ambiguous – I could be a terrible architect. So let us compare it to my wife, who is a medical doctor. Surely her salary would be higher? No. That’s right – the newly qualified teacher was earning the same as a doctor.

2. I’m not getting a big enough pay rise.

Welcome to the real world. In case it had escaped your notice, we are in a recession. The majority of people are taking pay cuts or redundancies… At the end of the year, I am happy if my salary matches inflation!

3. The hours are terrible.

Ok, so you work from 8-3/4, but you unfortunately have some marking/planning to take home. Maybe you spend an extra 4 or 5 hours a week on that? Must be hard. Especially with the 13 weeks holiday you get each year. I know, you deserve it etc. Ok well let us look at it a different way. How about you receive 21 days leave a year as per the national average, and the rest of the time is working from home? Sounds pretty good to me? Still not satisfied? Ok, I was salaried to work from 8.30am – 5pm Monday to Friday. What I actually worked was 6am – 8pm Monday – Saturday, and no, I wasn’t paid overtime. Why did I do it? Because it was the done thing, especially in a recession where you want to keep your job. Doctors? Well since the introduction of the EU Working Time Directive restricting their hours to a maximum of 48 per week, they must have it pretty comfortable, right? Wrong. Yes they have reduced their hours, but no additional doctors have been hired to fill the gaps. So what happens? They are paid for 48 hours but work 80+. 

4. I don’t like being assessed all the time.

If you don’t like it, don’t call yourselves professionals. The requirement for being classed as a professional is regular assessment, training and subscription fees. I am afraid you can not have it both ways.

So teachers, before you embark on your next strike, maybe reflect on the situation other people are in. And remember, when you do strike, poor Mr/Mrs Jones will have to take a day of precious annual leave from his/her low paid, overworked job to stay home and care for their child who was meant to be at school learning, so that you can protest for better pay with fewer hours.


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