As a newly-qualified (two years) secondary school teacher, I do not know what it was like to teach pre-austerity. I know only of daily life in a busy secondary school in Cork. I know of big classes, big work-loads and people doing their best. I have a Masters (in my subject) that is not acknowledged by the department. I am not in receipt of the teaching through Irish allowance.
Newly-qualified teachers’ pay is down 15 per cent since 2011. I’m appalled at the increase in the size of classes, at the cutbacks in special education needs resources and the constant air of gloom that pervades.
What happened to valuing the individual and of nurturing their potential? I consider it an achievement just to have spoken to every student by the end of certain classes, never mind meeting their specific educational needs.
I invite Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to spend a day shadowing me through the minefield that is secondary education. Although I might not have time to speak to him.
Roisin Mulford, Dungarvan, Co Waterford.
(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)