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Teachers need to retire early

How true it is that teachers' attitudes change towards their charges as they get older.

One example I witnessed in my career was how many of my female colleagues' view of their job changed subtly when they returned from maternity leave (as they invariably did from the 1980s onwards) - and quite rightly so.

With the best will in the world, your priorities would, of course, be different when you had a family of your own.

As regards expecting teachers to work longer, I have to say that, from my experience of 34 years at the chalk-face, most teachers tended to retire early, with very few reaching the official retirement age.

Indeed, of the few male colleagues I knew who did carry on to 65, two sadly were dead by 67. Modern teaching requires fit and energetic people for the most part.

Do we really want students to be taught by people as old as, if not older than, their grandparents?

Perhaps if we could eradicate most of the so-called 'challenging' behaviour from our classrooms, the idea of working until your late-60s might be more attractive.

The thought of having to go back into the classroom (I retired early in 1999) would have filled me with dread.

JOHN MARRIOTT

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