LETTER: Why teach?

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Sir: I went into teaching for the holidays. I was 19 with an appetite for theatre, mountains, travel, films, books and life. I figured that the best way to do what I wanted for as much of the year as possible was to teach - 13 glorious weeks of holiday a year, 18 if I went private.

I sky-hiked around America, I cycled through France, I saw every single Shakespeare play, I wrote a clutch of short stories for radio, I trekked in Nepal and I read everything I could lay my hands on. And in term time, I returned to my classes and taught English and loved it.

Now, 20 years later, when I read about David Blunkett's payment by results, I think, "No, you've got it all wrong. You haven't asked the teachers." Really good teachers need really well paid holidays. The private sector has always known this. Holidays for the teachers are like company cars for the executives - central to the package for getting the job well done.

Just mention the holidays, Mr Blunkett: that is the way to sell teaching to students - and any student with the right qualities for the classroom will jump at it.