Sunday 3 July 2011

Making A Goddamn Difference

On Thursday I went on strike for the second time this year. Last Sunday, our "favourite" Education Secretary appeared on the Andrew Marr Show to talk about how he felt that:
"Taking industrial action... will actually mean that the respect in which teachers should be held will be taken back a little bit."
Who is he kidding? Gove doesn't respect teachers - he thinks we are glorified babysitters (in the next breath almost he urged parents to go into schools and do our jobs while we were on strike), we're all greedy and only care about money (because we were striking for our pensions), and we have cushy holidays.

Well, as has been done many times, let me calculate what my salary would be worth as a babysitter. Let's go with an hourly rate of £5.93, the National Minimum Wage. Not including the admin and induction weeks (and assume I don't get paid for enrolment duties), let's stick with a 36-week year. This year I taught nine A2s and 15 AS students for 4.5 hours a week. I taught 16 BTEC level 3 year 2s and 13 BTEC level 3 year 1s for 4.0 hours a week. I taught 18 BTEC level 2s for 3.0 hours a week, and eight of them for 1.0 hours a week. That's 286 student-hours a week. Multiply 286 by 36 weeks by £5.93 and that's an annual salary of £61,055.28. Thank you very much - I'll throw in all my admin, school trips and enrolment duties for free. That's more than twice my salary, Gove, you bastard.

But I digress. So at the end of a shitty week where it has seemed that the entire world is against teachers and everything they do, it made my year to have a message from a student to say thank you for everything that I'd done, and that he wanted me to be the first to know he'd got an offer from a university - a jolly good one at that. Where colleagues gave up, I persevered, nagged, bribed and cajoled, and I am so fucking proud of this young man. I'm not ashamed to say I cried a bit on the phone telling my dad (a retired physics teacher) a couple of hours ago.

And I've felt the tears streaming down my cheeks watching this for the past couple of days (yes, I'm a big girl's blouse), but it is one of the most powerful and moving tributes to educators that I have ever heard:

This week - this year - I made a goddamn difference. Now what about you, Govey?

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