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Reading: Education

Read the passage and do the task that follows

Is it any wonder that there are teacher shortages? Daily, the press carries reports of schools going on four-day weeks simply because they cannot recruit enough teachers. But why? There is no straightforward answer. For a start, fewer students are entering teacher-training courses when they leave school. But can you blame young people after the attack faced by the teaching profession in the UK over the last decade? The attack has been on several fronts. Government inspectors have been feeding the media a constant stream of negative information about the teaching establishments in this country. Teachers also come in for a lot of criticism from politicians. And the government wonders why there are problems in schools.

The government's obvious lack of respect for the teaching profession was recently revealed by one of the most powerful people in government when she referred to schools as 'bog standard comprehensives'. Hardly the sort of comment to inspire parents or careers advisers seeking to direct young people's future. Would you want to spend your working life in a dead-end profession? The government doesn't seem to want you to either.

On the administrative side, most teachers are weighed down by an increasing flow of bureaucracy. Cynicism would have me believe that this stops teachers from fomenting dissent as they are worn out by useless administrative exercises. Most teachers must then also be cynics!

Teacher-attacking has spread to youngsters in schools as the recent catalogue of physical attacks on teachers will testify. If grown-ups have no respect for the teaching profession, young people can hardly be expected to think any differently. The circle is then squared when competent teachers being driven out of the profession by the increased pressure and stress; fewer students are applying for teacher-training courses.

In the educational field, there is surprisingly constant tension between the educational theorists and government officials on the one hand, who would like to see teachers marching in unison to some greater Utopian abstraction and, on the other, practising teachers. Any experienced classroom practitioner knows that the series of initiatives on teaching and learning that successive governments have tried to foist on schools and colleges do not work.

 

Task

Fill the word or phrase in the summary

Is it surprising that there is a of teachers? Schools do not have enough teachers, but what are the reasons for this? To begin with, fewer students are going into courses after finishing schools. But this is not young people's fault. The of teaching has been under constant attack over the last ten years. The government's lack of respect for the profession is . Moreover, on the administrative side, the flow of bureaucracy is . Even pupils in schools have no respect for those who teach them, as a series of assaults on teachers shows. The growing pressure and stress means that as well as fewer applications for teacher-training courses, teachers who have experience and are are also being driven out.

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