Letters: Stress? Everyone blames teachers

 

Share

As the children of an incredibly hard-working secondary school teacher we feel obliged to express our outrage at Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw's statement that "teachers don't know the meaning of stress".

Not only does our mother spend virtually all day in school but the vast majority of her evenings and weekends are taken up with lesson planning, preparation and other essential tasks – not to mention meetings, presentations and parents' evenings all out of school hours, and unpaid weekend field trips. The huge amount of time that her job consumes is often to the detriment of other areas of her life such as spending time with her partner and children, which adds still more pressure and stress.

Our mum is a perfectionist, never known to do anything half-heartedly, and she puts her all into her job. She wouldn't know how not to. There are times when it seems worth it, and there have always been pupils and colleagues who obviously appreciate her time and effort very much. But it has been heartbreaking over the years to see so much go largely unrecognised.

In this "blame others" culture, where many people do not want to take responsibility, everything is the teacher's fault. Ofsted, the Government and even the general public can't seem to wait to point the finger and dismiss the care and hard work that most teachers strive to provide.

Jennifer Fawcett-Thorne

Stanley Fawcett-Thorne

Lilian Fawcett-Thorne

Bristol

Although "compassion fatigue" was a term coined by the American Nurses Association, it is now recognised as afflicting teachers as well. The combination of physical, emotional and spiritual depletion involved in caring for those in protracted distress causes burnout. Sir Michael Wilshaw is in deep denial if he believes that teachers are immune.

Walt Gardner

Los Angeles, California, USA

Swallow your pride and let the eurozone shrink

The single currency for Europe was a colossal mistake by overambitious but financially ignorant politicians, and must inevitably fail. A common currency cannot succeed unless the parties to the currency union have common or similar financial aims, similar financial structures and similar attitudes to taxation and government finance, and, a practical impossibility, they have a council which can enforce rules regarding amount of debt, interest rates (which can never be comfortable for all) and taxation.

It is obvious that anyone who knows Germany and Italy, for instance, knows that these two countries cannot run their finances in similar ways; their peoples are different and have different attitudes to life.

The only practical answer for the countries where the euro has failed to work is for the EU and particularly members of the eurozone, arrange a system by which without loss of dignity by any party these countries could revert to their previous currencies. The only real problem here is that many prominent politicians will lose face, which has caused many wars in the past; we must overcome this problem if we can.

Peter Croggon

London SW16

Should a Greek euro exit come to pass, a programme of external support for the country will no doubt be needed over many months to assist its economic recovery. Such support will presumably be a matter for the EU as a whole, not just for the eurozone. One hopes that our own government is fully prepared for such an outcome and that Mr Osborne has our chequebook ready to hand.

Roger Davis

Peterborough

Now that Mr Hollande has been elected, all the political commentators are toeing the Coalition line that the "markets" will rebel because he cannot have growth without increasing French debt. Read his lips! One of his major points is that he will increase the top rate of tax and this is where the money for growth will come from. It is exactly what the US did in the Thirties and the following decades to get out of the depression and to encourage growth – with amazing results.

At the same time, Europe, led by Germany, is forcing excessive austerity on Greece, parallel to the austerity forced on Germany by the Versailles Treaty in the 20s and 30s by Britain and France – history repeating itself, but with the cast taking different parts.

This is not a eurozone crisis but another banking crisis – or a continuation of the 2008 one. We, the people of Europe, know exactly where all the money has gone. Mr Hollande is starting a campaign to retrieve our stolen money.

John Day

Port Solent, Hampshire

President Hollande flies to meet Chancellor Merkel and there, waiting on the tarmac to greet him, is a long line of expensively kitted-out squaddies. In an age of austerity, might not EU leaders indicate to each other that they appreciate a red carpet but do not need to be greeted by each other's armies every time they step from a plane?

Trevor Pateman

Brighton

Defence need or imperial folly?

Tim Cross (Comment, 15 May) concludes that defence requirements are not just about financial balance. They are "about an ability to deliver military capability where it is needed". Just so, except how are those decisions made?

A government with imperial ambitions could decide that Britain "needs" a military capability comparable with our global interests in 1914. Ridiculous, you might think, except that British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan reflects just such a mindset.

Tight financial constraint is an excellent way to prevent the march of folly reflected in these two adventures. They have achieved nothing except wasted life and the wrath of kamikaze terrorists which results, among other inconveniences, in a large bill for Olympic security. An inability to pursue such "needs" because there is no money available is the perfect solution to defence planning.

David Bracey

Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire

I read in The Independent (14 May) that to date we have lost 414 brave soldiers to achieve absolutely nothing in Afghanistan.

It is a pointless exercise, keeping a corrupt government in power, which is bound to lead to more of our soldiers being killed by the very people they are supporting. We should get out now, but of course we won't and soon this terrible number of 414 will top 500.

Malcolm Howard

Banstead, Surrey

Demand justice for Alan Turing

We would like to add our voices to those mentioned by Andy McSmith (2 May) campaigning to grant Alan Turing an official pardon.

This year is the centenary of Turing's birth and there will be celebrations in honour of his brilliant mathematical achievements and outstanding contributions to code-breaking during the Second World War. Turing was driven to take his own life in 1954 because of the appalling way he was treated. He was convicted of "gross indecency" and chemically castrated at a time when having a sexual relationship with another man was against the law. Turing was just one of thousands of men convicted under this unjust law, many of whom are still alive today.

A pardon for Turing would send out a clear message that the present British Government recognises the laws resulting in prosecution and persecution of people for having gay relationships were wrong. It is not possible to put the clock back but it is possible to honour Turing in his centenary year. This would also indicate that the Government is committed to promoting equality in this country and ensuring that there is no discrimination on grounds of sexuality in the future.

The House of Lords has rejected a petition to pardon Turing posthumously but the campaign continues. We urge all readers to sign the online petition in support of a pardon.

Dave Burke

Chair, Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance

Cllr Jay Kramer

Cllr Jeremy Birch

Cllr Kim Forward

Cllr John Hodges

Cllr Matthew Lock

Cllr Matthew Beaver

Sarah Owen

Nick Perry

Barbara Martin

CV lies will find you out in the end

The downfall of the former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who has been tempted to "enhance" their CV. No matter how high you rise and how much time passes, you can still get caught out.

What makes the episode even more disheartening is the fact that a computer science degree isn't all that important in the IT industry. Only 1.5 per cent of the IT professionals we work with have one. What makes people successful in IT is an analytical mind and the ability to process complex information.

More often than not, telling lies on your CV is a result of insecurity rather than careful calculation. But very few who do it realise they will spend the rest of their careers under the sword of Damocles, in fear of being caught out.

Mark Baxter

Greythorn Recruitment, London WC1

Brooks: let the courts decide

I think I have seldom read a more hubristic statement from an accused person than that of Rebekah Brooks on being charged with three counts of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. She challenges the impartiality of the Crown Prosecution Service in charging her; she accuses them of making "a weak and unjust decision" and she says the whole thing is baffling, "an expensive sideshow" and a waste of public money. We shall have to wait and see, won't we?

David Ashton

Shipbourne, Kent

Early sandwich

The connection between the sandwich and its aristocratic inventor as described by Andy McSmith (Diary, 15 May) seems borne out by a painting currently on display at the Royal Academy of Arts which shows a young boy munching on such a snack just six years after its invention. The painting, A Porter with a Hare, is the work of Johan Zoffany, whose patron was the Earl of Sandwich.

David Prior

Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

Border raiders

It is reported that the Scottish government proposes to impose a minimum tax on alcohol of 50p per unit, while the UK government is considering 40p in England. If this happens, would it be possible to ensure that Scottish drinkers are unable to buy alcohol at the price prevailing in England, in the same way in which English students are refused free university education in Scotland?

Gordon Elliot

Burford, Oxfordshire

New partnership

As the scribbling classes cast around for something to replace Merkozy in their lexicon, may I make a constructive suggestion to embrace the Hollande/Merkel axis? Homer. Here the intellectual debt would be not to the author of the Iliad – D'oh! – but to The Simpsons. In this rich new cultural idiom, who might earn the soubriquet of Sideshow Bob? Fat Tony? Yes Guy? Radioactive Man?

Martin Wallis

Shipdham, Norfolk

Flowing locks

Robert Dillon finds Mary Beard's hairstyle "inappropriate for someone of her age and distinction" (letter, 14 May). All power to those people, women and men, who have enough personality and individuality to dress in a way that rises above the expected norm. More Mary Beards, please!

Jeannie Howard

Banbury, Oxfordshire

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The campaigning is over. So now we wait...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
In this handout provided by NASA from the the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida in space. The robotic arm of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System or Canadarm2 is seen at upper right. According to reports, Arthur has begun moving steadily northward at around 5 kt. and the tropical storm is expected to strike the North Carolina Outer Banks  

Thanks to government investment, commercial space travel is becoming a reality

Richard Branson
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week