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Hey Teacher, leave those kids alone

By Jo Green - Sun 18th Mar 2012

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how Regional cuts to the educational system in Spain were effecting schools on a local level. Although I have no personal experience of other Autonomous Communities, I know for a fact that things here in Valencia are already pretty grim.

... and then earlier this week Sr Rajoy announces that further cuts to both the education and healthcare sectors will need to be made !

Now I’m far from being a Union-loving lefty, but for once I can understand where the teachers are coming from, and why they are taking such a stance against the system (In my valley, at least).

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Last year my daughter was taken on a number of school trips. Quite a responsibility : Taking a coach load of hyperactive 3 – 4 year olds for a full day away from school. Managing who is sitting next to who and where on the coach, making sure everybody has their bags and coats, supervising the lunches and toilet trips, being responsible for the safety of the group etc.... – And that’s even before anything resembling education can take place.

The note home from school a couple of weeks ago announced that no school trips would be arranged for the foreseeable future. Many of the parents quite reasonably assume that this was due to the school not wishing to pay for such extravagances (However, we all assumed that us parents subsidised this quite heavily anyway). But it later turned out that this was not the case.

The reason was the teachers were no longer to do it for ‘free’.

Hang on .... ‘free’ ? – Aren’t they paid a salary to do this ?

-“Yes” and “No” both seem to be the answer here. Apparently the teachers are paid a salary to work certain hours, but that the period between 12pm – 3pm (Winter hours) is for their own lunch break and time for preparing lessons for the afternoon and the next day.

When a day trip away from school is arranged they are expected to forego their lunch break and to do the preparation for the next day’s lesson in their own time. This is something that I guess teachers the world over have all done since God was in short pants.

However, as teachers have all had to endure salary cuts, extended working hours and had to forego the help of assistant teachers I can imagine that they are slightly annoyed at then being told that the schools do not have enough money available for things like lighting, heating and photocopying.

And then on Friday of last week it was in the news that as of next year all state school teachers in Valencia will have their holidays halved. Previously both July and August were taken as holiday, whereas now they will be expected to work during July.

So why on earth should they put themselves out to do even more work, unpaid and work longer hours ? Sooner or later they will be pushed too far, more than likely go on strike and it will be kids who end up losing out !

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