Teachers should not be motivated by hatred

Teachers should not be motivated by hatred

There was some surprise and disgust when a school teacher was pictured in a classroom holding a sign saying: “The only good Tory is a dead Tory” and “The only good Lib Dem is a Dead Lib Dem”.

Lucy Preston is grinning while holding the sign, and is described as a ’figurehead’ of the National Education Union’s strike’.

But the photo was not one that was sneakily taken by a pupil and shared – Preston gleefully posted it to her own Instagram page.

The English teacher went further on the post and described as a ‘ledge’ (legend) the child who had made the sign for her.

That she felt it was perfectly acceptable to post such a thing gives an insight into her – and her union’s – real motivation.

The motivation for strikes is not necessarily for fair pay or improved working conditions, it is a visceral hatred of the Conservatives.

Twitter posts from when she began teaching in which she talks about ‘punching Tories in the tits’ rather gives it away.

Striking has its place but children have endured some dreadful times through the lockdowns when they went untaught for long periods.

Whatever happened to the notion of public service?

Why punish the children further?

The poorest will suffer the most because their parents will have to forgo their own work to look after their children.

Teaching unions should really look at the bigger picture rather than their narrow self-interest and politically motivated actions.

Notably, two unions voted not to strike and plenty who belong to the NEU voted not to strike as well.

But with its hard-left leadership, the NEU wanted to join the other hard-left, Conservative-hating unions and cause as much disruption as it could. No matter how many children and families suffered.

Although the NEU is not politically affiliated, it is politically motivated.

It attends all the party conferences and its leadership is very left wing.

It is clear its leaders want a Labour government and they see that the current Conservative government is in a weak position.

It is the ideal time for them to take advantage.

But they should be thinking of the country and not just their political goals.

The bigger picture, had they looked at it, would show them the folly of their actions.

Inflation is running high and wage restraint is one of the only levers any government has to bring it down.

A Labour government would have to do the same thing.

The Callaghan Labour government of the 1970s tried and failed to do this. It was so bad the IMF was called in. If that happens we’ll be in worse trouble.

The government will be able to focus on growth once the headline Inflation rate is under control.

We can only pay public sector workers more when the overall economy grows – otherwise, it will just mean higher taxes and more inflation.

It is a tough time for everyone but teachers are better off than many. A little patience will go a long way.

The private sector is also under a lot of pressure and those workers often have fewer pension rights and lower pay. Many lost money – or their jobs or businesses – during the pandemic. Teachers didn’t.

I started teaching in the late 1980s. I did my training after a period of unemployment.

I was just glad to have a job after months on the dole. It was in the time of the teachers’ strikes back then.

I put my students first and joined a non-militant union. I never took a day off school. My students came first.

As the picture of the teacher holding a sign about ‘dead Tories’ shows – many teachers today are motivated not by teaching but by hating.