Hypocrites, are we?

Teachers.  We’re not a popular lot.  Well, not if you believe everything that’s written in the Sunday Independent.  On Sunday 20th October, Daniel McConnell wrote this tirade where he reckons that members of the ASTI aren’t worthy to call themselves teachers.

This kinda annoyed me, and I’ve penned the following letter to the Sindo.  I wonder if they’ll publish it?

Madam,

Daniel McConnell doesn’t seem to like teachers too much. (Teachers! Spare us all your hypocrisy and false outrage.)  In the midst of his own outrage Mr. McConnell seems to have missed the point as to why members of the ASTI overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action.

The past 5 years of austerity have seen not so much as cuts in education, as attacks on education.

Yes, teachers have lost pay, but that is not the heart of the matter.  Schools are struggling to deal with the range and volume of cuts that have ravaged conditions in schools.  And this has a direct effect on the educational experience, attainment, and ambition of students.

The allowance that schools receive for each student (capitation) has been reduced; the student teacher ratio has been increased; the summer works grant was put on hold; SNA posts and Language Supports have been savaged; the National Educational Psychological Service has had its resources reduced, leading to less assessments for students with learning difficulties; the new junior cert programme is different to that agreed with the unions; guidance counsellors are no longer ex-quota; and, condescendingly, teachers are expected to work an extra 33 hours in school after normal hours (do they really think that teachers clock off at 4?)

Teachers are angry.  Despite the allegations of Mr. McConnell, we do care deeply about our students, we care enough to be looking to the future.  We worry that the attacks on education will continue, and thereby undermine our whole educational system. We care enough to say ‘enough is enough’.

Mr. McConnell, do you think maybe that teachers should continue to roll over and let cut after cut continue?  Perhaps, Mr. McConnell, before you accuse us of hypocrisy, you should remove the plank from your own eye.

John Hurley

Killeagh, Co. Cork

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