Education - Letter: Further education

As a mature entrant to teaching in the further education (FE) sector and now involved in teacher training, I have been interested in recent correspondence on this subject - particularly Nick Landau's letter ("Your Views", Education, 24 September).

Of course the FE sector needs teachers with high academic qualifications and the skills they have acquired in gaining these qualifications. Teachers in the sector are, in fact, increasingly under pressure to acquire more qualifications. However, it is of no use being highly qualified if you cannot communicate what you have learnt.

Adult students frequently need a lot of support and it is the teacher's responsibility to help students achieve, sometimes against all odds.

Teaching in FE can be about seeing the student that you first had to encourage to even press a key on a computer keyboard and apologising every time they pressed the wrong key, coming back a few years later to tell you that they had just completed their degree in computer science.

I would hope that anyone applying for teacher training in FE had shown some prior interest in teaching - possibly by appropriate volunteer work. I would also hope that, in the case particularly of academically highly qualified mature applicants, that they had taken the trouble to research and read about the sector. Teaching adults is not the easy option. The choice whether to teach children or adults is really down to personal preference and inclination. Teaching adults in FE does, of course, also include teaching 16-year-olds.

Sue Diplock

London, E17

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