Next year

So today saw the GTCS release the council allocations for all probation/TIS teachers for 2017/18. A day long awaited by all student teachers.

Back in February we had to select 5 authorities that we would work for, ranked in order of preference. If you felt brave, you could tick the “go anywhere” box which puts an extra £8k in your bank over your probation year. Not a bad option for many of my class colleagues: young, no big commitments and nothing to lose (I would do it). Not such a good option for those with a wife, toddler and a mortgage to pay.

With Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire first two choices I was hopeful (perhaps naively) to be placed in either. It came as a bit of surprise however to be staring at the words “Moray Council” on my phone at 6am. I actually got in trouble for swearing in front of my daughter!

I have nothing against Moray; I spent my first placement in a Moray school and I loved it. Everyone was helpful, supportive and encouraging. It’s just a bit far away! A few phone calls and enquiries later and I find out that I’ve been allocated to the furthest reaches of Moray; a 2.5 hour drive each way!

As a mature student with a family, this year of training has been challenging enough as it is; not earning, travel, lesson preparation time, late nights and early mornings, assignments, juggling childcare, etc. It now feels that I am penalised further for entering the profession at this stage of life rather than being a young entrant with no/less commitments.

A choice awaits:

  1. Take the blue pill: stick it out with my TIS allocation with a guaranteed role and the support provided but with the complications of travel & childcare.
  2. Take the red pill: gamble on finding a job myself and having to get through a probationary year without the support mechanisms.

This is a tough one, with pitfalls either way. I LOVE teaching so this is not the end but I’m sure this kind of thing doesn’t help when it comes to the recruitment and retention of teachers.

To be continued………

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