Low pay and lack of job security is harming the future of second-level teaching and education, Ireland’s largest teachers’ union warned today.


A new Red C poll of ASTI teachers showed that job dissatisfaction is widespread amongst young teachers.


83 per cent of teachers said that their level of pay was their main source of unhappiness with the job. 65 per cent said it was ‘feeling that their work is not valued in society’, while 58 per cent said it was the lack of job security.


Two-thirds of second level-teachers who entered the profession after 2010 are still working in temporary and part-time teaching jobs. One in five (18 per cent) recently-qualified teachers under 30 have to work a part-time job to make up for the money shortage.



In their own words



Irish parents are well-aware of school industrial disputes at this point, but what about the long term effects of low pay and job instability?


The ASTI report asked teachers about what was causing the biggest tensions in work. One newly qualified teacher said: “I don’t feel I’m reaching my full potential as a teacher because I can never progress with students am constantly starting from scratch in schools”.


The ASTI has previously commented on how instability in the profession can damage pupils’ education: “There’s insufficient contact with students, which can affect interaction in the classroom. They find it difficult to integrate into the life and the culture of the school and to avail of career enhancing opportunities such as mentoring programmes and team working opportunities.”


Another teacher said: “I am nearly 4 years teaching fully qualified yet I am still "unequal" to my colleagues who are a mere few months teaching longer than I am."


Other comments highlighted how the profession is being abandoned by teachers who can’t make ends meat: “I do not see myself teaching in the near future as I am struggling to survive on my current salary as a single man with no dependents.”


Pay Cuts


Teaching salaries were cut in 2011 and again in 2012. The ASTI is not a part of the Landsdowne Rd agreement, meaning that they haven’t seen pay restorations. An ASTI teacher starting in 2017 will make 21 per cent less than a teacher who qualified in 2010.


The ASTI has also confirmed it will ballot its members next month for strike action over potential redundancies.


Some 500 secondary teachers will attend their annual conference in Kerry next week, where pay is expected to dominate proceedings.



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