Revealing interview – sheila nunan, INTO

I’ve known various professionals and sportsmen who have been disciplined by their own profession for bringing their professions into disrepute. The plethora of genuine, interested and conscientious teachers should be protected from colleagues who bring their profession into disrepute. Parents need to comfortably trust teachers and taxpayers need to feel their money is well spent in subscribing to their profession so they need a reputable, fair and reliable representative body which begets respect. Having listened to Sheila Nunan’s interview with Sean O’Rourke on RTE radio, I’m certainly not impressed. She didn’t have the facts about the problem teachers – who can be a big problem since they have so many in their care who are so vulnerable.

According to a Sheila Nunan, we have 30,000 primary teachers in Ireland. Add to that the number of substitute teachers coming and going and we could be looking at maybe 35,000 over the year.

That’s an awful lot of teachers, yet how many of these have been sacked in the last 25 years? would have been a more interesting question from Sean O’ Rourke. I only remember one in the news (Co. Sligo) who was suspended on full pay and suddenly the case went very quiet and we heard no more.

Primary teachers are either perfect angels and saints who never do wrong or else are thoroughly fulfilled and content in their posts because on average, 10% of a workforce usually leave or are dismissed per year according to statistics. So it should be ok if a certain percentage of teachers leave, particularly the problem ones who reflect badly on the ones who should be in the job. But the bad ones are not being disciplined or suspended (like their customers are) and Sheila Nunan is surprisingly unaware of the facts. Isn’t it better for one teacher to be sacked than to have a board disbanded, have 40 kids leave a small country school and 11 substitute teachers come and go from one class over a year due to “illness,” as happened in one school in 2006?

Despite her loquacity, what Ms Nunan does not say says a lot. But then, what do I know? Her argument made those of us listening to her squirm in disbelief at what impressed as disingenuous. Make up your own mind, it’s worth a listen (see below) but brace yourself.

If I were the parent of a primary school child I wouldn’t want Ms Nunan representing teachers. If I were a teacher, I wouldn’t want her representing me. Listen to the interview here

The previous day’s discussion is here

Update: Over the Christmas I’ve come across a primary teacher and principal on the Mayo/Roscommon border who should definitely be disciplined or sacked. However, 3 children from this tiny school opted to go to a far better school. The manager was neglectful and the teacher a bully and liar who intimidates 5 year-olds, criticises their work and then when challenged, hasn’t the manners she would like her students to have then lied to get out of it. Of course this is rare but the school suffers and so do the children because one person can do a lot of harm to many.

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