Teachers face bureaucratic nightmare
A chara, – I note with amusement the currently running newspaper stories about teacher shortages in Ireland, given my current circumstances as an experienced teaching professional recently returned to Ireland.
I qualified as a secondary-school mathematics teacher in England several years ago and have worked abroad in England and most recently as a head of department in Berlin. I hold a master’s degree in astrophysics. I’m passionate about teaching and love my job.
I have young children and wish to raise them at home here in Donegal, so I have recently moved back to Ireland. I’m attempting to register as a teacher here with the Teaching Council of Ireland.
Their registration process takes months and requires dozens of documents from a host of organisations from all over the world – covering all of my previous studies, employment and checking I am free of a criminal record in the many different countries I have lived in throughout my life. Each of these documents needs to be stamped and certified. Each of these documents will take many weeks or months to arrive before they can be sent off, after which there will be another 12-week wait for processing. The Teaching Council charge nearly €400 for this registration process.
Throughout this time I will be looking for other work, working in Northern Ireland, getting into debt and/or signing on the dole – the one thing I will not be doing is entering a classroom in the Republic of Ireland and teaching any children there.
Although checking that a teacher is properly qualified and free from criminal convictions is important, it is also important that people who have children in schools suffering from staff shortages are aware of the specific barriers there are to teachers entering the profession or moving home to teach in Ireland. These barriers are administrative processes that could be streamlined or handled differently so that properly qualified and experienced teachers can be brought into classrooms quickly to deal with the shortage.
Teachers who want to work here should be incentivised to do so, not faced with a bureaucratic nightmare and a €400 fee. – Yours, etc,