Droichead is back but have too many bridges been burned?

Droichead 2.0 arrived today and the INTO almost immediately lifted the directive against cooperation. It’s obvious that the INTO aren’t knee-jerking in their reaction. They have known about this for months. It raises the question about the involvement of the INTO in the Teaching Council. I don’t believe unions have any place in the Teaching Council. They should be outside of the Council and fighting for teachers’ rights from that perspective.

Given the timing of the Teaching Council announcement and the INTO response, it is clear there is a relationship between the two organisations and the voice of the Teaching Council and the voice of the INTO CEC appear to be one. This is worrying as the INTO are supposed to make sure that their members are consulted when swathing changes are made to their conditions.

Over 90% of teachers voted not to cooperate with Droichead. Today, the INTO has simply decided to ignore these teachers. They haven’t even given us the option of voting on the new model.

The new Droichead model has a number of positive points but it still leaves the system at risk of becoming less professional.

– What happens to teachers who can’t speak Irish? What happens to principals who are hiring them?
– Why do so many students coming out of college still fail their probation year? What has been put in place in colleges to counteract this change? The 10-week artificial teaching practice does not ready a student for the classroom.

I’m ok with the current model enough to take part in it but have serious question marks which need to be addressed. I would rather if the INTO had have at least attempted to negotiate reversing some of the cuts in exchange for taking on Droichead. I also think we need to look at teacher training in this new landscape. It is not a good enough gatekeeper right now. I strongly believe that Year 4 of the degree should be a 100% school based year. For post grads, the 2nd year should also be 100% school-based or that there is some model where a trainee is probated in a real setting.

However, I think too many bridges have been burned by the initial rollout of Droichead. It was arrogant, unethical and downright nasty at times. Rebuilding the bridge must start first by asking INTO members whether they are willing to engage. That should be the first stone placed.

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