Mary Alexander: I'm striking because these reforms will put people off going into the profession

Parents know that when we do things like this, it's because we care about the future of education
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The Independent Online

I haven't really spent my life being political, but it's my first year in teaching and I feel that it's making me more engaged.

This Thursday will be my first national strike. I feel like this Government is making lots of changes far too rapidly without thinking them through and I also feel they are not negotiating properly with teachers.

Sometimes you just need to make your voice heard. I think teachers are in a tricky position. Everyone has an opinion about how education should be. People say they respect teachers but the Government is not listening to us.

The idea of parents going into schools while teachers are striking is ridiculous. We all understand that the strike will cause disruption but sending parents in is grasping at straws. I think the long-term disruption the Government is going to create will be vastly worse.

Parents are actually largely supportive of teachers. I had a conversation with one parent, who understood why we were taking the action, but I haven't had a chance to have lots of dialogue with parents. No one has come up to me and challenged me on why we are striking.

What Michael Gove said about parents losing respect for teachers who strike made me angry. Parents know how much we care about their children and they know that when we do things like this, it's because we care about the future of education.

We have a good relationship with parents. In our last strike parents were really supportive because we were defending cuts. Obviously individual parents will have different views but I do feel that most of ours will be supportive.

The strike will cause logistical problems for single parents, but that's something they have to deal with in the holidays or when it snows. I find it funny that the Government is cutting funding for things like play services, which are vital for single parents, yet saying that strikes will cause problems for families. Parents are quite good at banding together, so they will sort something out.

Teaching is an amazing job. You put a lot into it and you work incredibly long hours. In the past two years, during my training and this year, I've worked harder than I've ever worked before. There is a lot of emotional stress. I think teachers feel undervalued already compared to other professions. But because we had an OK pension that sort of compensated for all that, you could think that your future was going to be secure. Take that away, coupled with the increasing workload and the pay, then I don't think people will want to go into the profession.

Mary Alexander is a newly qualified teacher at Fleet Primary School, Camden, north London

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