LETTER: Militant teachers aren't classroom wreckers

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The Independent Online
From Mr Jon Berry

Sir: I expect I'm one of the militants who is, according to Judith Judd, isolated from the views and concerns of ordinary teachers because I hold a union post and so am rarely in school (News Analysis, 19 April).

I am given a day and a half facility time for my NUT work, which means representing members at hearings, negotiating with the LEA over day-to- day issues, visiting schools to canvass the views of members, ensuring that schools receive relevant information on matters concerning working conditions and a huge number of other duties. When I'm not doing this I'm teaching. And marking. And preparing. And attempting to ensure that all pupils in my care get the best possible deal they can, despite the fact that this government treats them so shabbily.

Like many of my colleagues I am very weary - which is precisely why I use what little energy I have left in my NUT work. I'm sure some people think I'm mad: I know they think I'm an extremist. But please don't tell me that because I spend time in an attempt to improve the lot of myself and other teachers that I'm some sort of classroom wrecker.

It is testimony to the lack of fight shown by Doug McAvoy and some of his advisers - who, incidentally, are not without their own political agenda - that the moderates stay away.

Yours faithfully,



Hertfordshire NUT

St Albans, Hertfordshire

19 April