Editor's Comment: Michael Adkins on the vocation of teaching

PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 March 2017


Teachers need support and investment

When my wife quit her city job to retrain as a teacher eight years ago I was so pleased for her.

She finally found her calling in life, studied hard for her degree and secured a job at a local primary school.

Working her way up to become an Ofsted-rated “outstanding” teacher she even made the transition to secondary school where she specialised in maths - a subject now in serious demand within our education system.

But after achieving so much in a short period of time she left the profession. After starting a family she wanted to take time out with the option of returning in the years to come. At the time I remember saying “it’s a job for life”. I thought there are some jobs that are so important and in demand there will always be work out there. But now I’m not so sure.

Union officials are warning that more than 800 teaching posts in Newham could be lost in the coming years as a result of changes to government funding. Whereas the Department of Education say these claims are “misleading” and plans to change funding will create a fairer distribution of funds. But, however you dress it up, the pot of cash is less as government austerity continues to bite.

Education is the single most important aspect you can give someone in life. It can lift people out of poverty, turn them away from crime, divert them from our benefits system and create better communities and stronger families. Refugees and immigrants risk their lives to study in this country.

The expectations on teachers to educate, manage and now be the first line of defence against child abuse are phenomenal.

It’s still a hugely rewarding and fantastic career - a vocation more than a job. But it’s one that’s rapidly changing and in need of greater government support.

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