Welcome to Teaching!
Welcome to the teaching profession! TUI wishes you the very best in what we are sure will be a long, eventful and fulfilling career.
The work you are doing is vital work for the public good. In an increasingly complex world you will provide the instruction, guidance and the inspiration that will sustain our learners’ minds as they mature and develop under our guidance.
As you begin your career, the TUI would like to offer some practical advice based on the experience of our members over several years.
- Your employer is either the Vocational Education Committee or, in the case of teachers in Community and Comprehensive schools, the Board of Management.
- In the case of a VEC, appointment is to the “scheme” (normally defined by county) which means that one may be assigned to any Vocational School or Community College within the scheme and may, in subsequent years and subject to protocols agreed with the union, be transferred within the scheme.
- Community and Comprehensive schools are stand-alone employers.
- All teaching positions with public sector employers, other than casual short-term positions, are filled following advertisement in the national press and competitive interview.
Qualifications - general
- You need absolute clarity about your qualifications. What are you qualified to teach? Are you recognised by the Teaching Council, your employer and/or the Department of Education and Science as a fully qualified teacher who is eligible for appointment to a permanent wholetime teaching position in your subject/specialism? You must be registered with the Teaching Council and you must renew this registration annually. Please note that from September 2011 nobody can be paid as a teacher without being registered with the Council.
- To be qualified as a second level teacher in the vocational sector you must hold a recognised degree (or equivalent) in at least one of the subjects on the Leaving Certificate programme. Memo V7 details the specific requirements.
- In Community and Comprehensive Schools you require either an appropriate degree (or equivalent) and the Higher Diploma in Education (or equivalent) or an appropriate degree that includes a training in teaching qualification to be recognised as fully qualified and eligible for appointment as a permanent whole time teacher.
- Generally speaking, subjects taken in final year degree examinations may be taught to Leaving Certificate level while those taken in earlier years of the degree course may be taught to Junior Certificate level. However, it is important that you check the subject specific criteria on the Teaching Council website (www.teachingcouncil.ie)
- All part time teachers should have written contracts which they should receive on appointment or shortly thereafter
- Permanent members in the VEC sector are employed under memo V7 .
- Permanent wholetime teachers in the Community and Comprehensive sector do not have a written contract but are employed under terms no less favourable than memo V7
- By definition, a permanent wholetime teacher is deemed to be fully qualified
Pro Rata Contracts/Fixed Term Contracts
- If you are a fully qualified part-time teacher (i.e. with fewer than 22 teaching hours per week) and have been engaged to teach for a specified number of hours per week over the course of the full school year with a start date not later than 1st November) you are entitled to a pro-rata contract.
- This is a written, fixed-term, contract of employment and must be signed.
- The standard contract is appended to Circular Letters PPT 19/03 (Community and Comprehensive schools) and PPT 20/03 (VECs).
- To be entitled to a pro-rata contract you must have been appointed following a formal selection process. This process involves advertisement of the position in the national press and competitive interview by a properly constituted interview board.
- If your appointment was not subject to a formal selection process you are not entitled to a pro-rata contract.
- If you otherwise satisfy the conditions for award of a pro-rata contract (i.e. if you are qualified and have specified hours over the course of the school year) but have not been appointed following a formal selection process, you should contact your TUI School Representative and, assisted by her/him, ask your employer to advertise the position and make an appointment following a formal selection process.
- Do not sign any contract without consulting a member of your school’s TUI workplace committee.
- Always keep a copy of the contract which has been signed by you and the employer.
- If, before 1st November, additional teaching hours are added to your weekly timetable – as sometimes happens after the commencement of the school year when a school’s timetable eventually “settles” - your contract is augmented to take account of those hours
- Any further hours – undertaken on an occasional basis - that are worked by a pro-rata contracted teacher during the school year will be paid at an hourly rate calculated by dividing the sum of your point on the CBS and your qualifications allowances by 735 (i.e. the number of teaching hours in the school year of a permanent whole time teacher)
- Having a pro-rata contract means that you are entitled to a salary for the full school year. For this purpose the school year runs from the date of commencement of your contract to 31st August, inclusive. The commencement date must fall within the period from 1st September to 31st October, inclusive.
- Your salary for the school year is based on your hours as a proportion of the whole time hours (22). To calculate your salary, you apply that proportion to the sum of your point of the CBS plus your qualifications allowances
- Full salary details are available on the TUI website or in the relevant section of the TUI diary/handbook.
Contracts and Salary – Non-casual Part-time Teaching contract
- A fully qualified part-time teacher who is employed to teach for a period in excess of 150 hours during the school year but for less than the course of a full school year is classified as a “non-casual part-time teacher” and is entitled to a non-casual part-time teaching contract.
- As such a teacher, you will be paid at an hourly rate calculated by dividing the sum of your point on the CBS and your qualifications allowances by 735 (i.e. the number of teaching hours in the school year).
- If you are employed to replace a teacher on maternity leave or extended sick leave you may fall within this category.
Contracts and Salary – Casual part-time teaching contract
- A fully qualified teacher who is not employed on a Pro-rata Contract or on a Non-casual Teaching Contract is regarded as working on a casual basis for the first 150 hours worked in the school year.
- If, as such a teacher, you work for more than 150 hours in the school year each additional hour in excess of 150 will be paid at an hourly rate calculated by dividing the sum of your point on the CBS and your qualifications allowances by 735 (i.e. the number of teaching hours in the school year).
- This type of contract applies in cases in which the work arises only on an intermittent basis and where the employer may reasonably expect that the hours worked will not exceed 150 in the course of the school year.
Contracts of Indefinite Duration
- A contract of indefinite duration (CID) is a permanent contract.
- Pro-rata teachers who have been in successive fixed-term contracts with the same employer, who satisfy particular conditions and whose teaching service will be required on an ongoing basis have an entitlement to a CID. It is open to an employer to award a CID to a part-time teacher in the teacher’s first year of service with the employer.
- A CID must be awarded in the fifth consecutive year of service (ie after four consecutive fixed term contracts) unless there are objective grounds to prevent this. Always check your contract to see if it contains objective grounds. The number of hours in your CID will be based on the number of hours you hold in your fourth contract. In effect, a contract of indefinite duration confers permanency in respect of the number of hours specified in the contract.
- Make sure that you maintain close contact with your teaching colleagues. Do not isolate yourself as a teacher. You can quickly, and mistakenly, conclude either that your style and methods are entirely right or entirely wrong. Don’t confuse appropriate professional autonomy with raising the drawbridge. Remain open to professional discourse. Often a casual chat with a colleague in the staffroom can be a wonderful learning experience. The quality of your teaching will be significantly enriched if you continue to be a learner.
- Involve yourself fully in the life of the school community Make yourself available as much as possible for activities with your colleagues. .This involvement will enrich your professional life.
- Ensure that you are in command of your subject and well prepared and you can legitimately insist upon the highest standard from each student that s/he is capable of reaching. It is central to our educational philosophy in TUI that every student, irrespective of background, has an entitlement to a high quality, publicly funded education. As individual teachers we should be guided by this ethos.
- Be aware of public policy as expressed in legislation, particularly education legislation.
- Be accountable. The TUI supports the principle of appropriate public accountability of schools through elected public representatives and agencies such as the inspectorate of the Department of Education and Skills.
- Make sure that you respect the rights and personal integrity of your students. Remember that fairness and consistency with the application of school/centre rules will earn you respect . Always maintain clear, objective records. These may relate to student progress, conduct, contacts with parents, issues relating to your employment, formal discussions with school management and other relevant matters.
Your rights and duties as a teacher
- You are entitled to the support of your employer in your efforts to ensure that students receive an education of the highest quality. In that regard, you are entitled to a healthy and safe workplace marked by respect for human dignity and the absence of bullying or intimidation. The principles of equity, equality and inclusivity should inform school/centre practice.
- Your employer, your colleagues, your students and their parents/guardians are entitled to your respect, loyalty and best professional service. The principles of equity, equality and inclusivity should also inform your practice
- If employed by VEC or C&C sectors you are on probation for your first year. If the school/centre management has any difficulty with the quality of your work, it is obliged to bring it to your attention and offer appropriate advice. If you are not advised of any difficulty you are entitled to assume that there is none and that you will be probated.
Your Union – Teachers’ Union of Ireland
- TUI is here to support you in your career. Join the union and actively shape your professional environment, both locally and nationally. You will quickly become familiar with current issues. Research has consistently shown that disaffection with and disengagement from one’s work are most pronounced where employees are least involved in decision-making processes.
- Find out who the TUI school representative is and who the school committee members are Have the name and contact details of the Branch Chair and area representative. Get to know them. The same applies to the union/ teacher representatives on the VEC and/or the Board of Management. Avail of the earliest opportunity to attend a TUI meeting in your work place or/and your local Branch.
- Use your TUI Diary – your conditions of service and the range of union services are more fully explained. Constantly check the TUI website for information and updates. Be active in your union. Remember the TUI is only as strong as the members. Be committed to being a strong member.
- There are certain conditions of service that are regarded by the union as so important as to require the protection of directives. These conditions relate to the maxima that apply to class contact hours, class size (i.e. student numbers) and the number of days in the school year. As a member of the TUI you are obliged to abide by these directives – there is no discretion in the matter.
- The directives should be displayed on the TUI Notice board in the school and can be downloaded from the TUI website
In Case of Difficulty
If you encounter a difficulty with your employer, address it at the earliest opportunity. In this as in other matters, keep the issue and the personality separate. Informal resolution of difficulties is desirable, provided the rights of all parties are respected. If informal resolution is not possible, approach the TUI school representative and process the issue through the agreed grievance procedures for your sector. The procedures are set out in the TUI Diary and may be downloaded from the union website.
Keeping Professionally Fit
Involve yourself in reflective practice and professional development from the outset. In this regard, you might consider joining the relevant subject associations. You should also avail of in-service and professional development opportunities. These are provided by a wide variety of agencies and institutions, including the Second Level Support Service, Further Education Support Service, the Special Education Support Service, the Education Centres and the teacher unions. The Teaching Council, at present in its infancy, is quite likely to set a premium on continuing professional development. The TUI is campaigning for a continuum of professional development that will sustain excellence throughout one’s teaching career. As public servants, we must be to the fore in insisting upon and maintaining the highest quality in our public education.
Remember - you are the union. Your commitment as a member is what will keep the TUI strong. It is important that you are not isolated in your workplace. Feel part of a professional family by joining TUI. Teaching is a rewarding profession Decide you are going to enjoy it.
Think about this - you now have the power to influence a mind for eternity! As an active member of TUI you will have the courage to exert this influence wisely and well!
Take two minutes to join TUI now online or alternatively ask your school representative for an application form.
TUI offers members a range of benefits and services, a small example of which include:
- Expert advice from experienced industrial relations officials
- Your questions on pay and conditions answered
- Free legal advice
- The TUI diary and handbook
- Regular editions of TUI News magazine
- Special interest rates and other incentives with TUI Credit Union
- Low cost insurance
- Professional development seminars
- Most importantly – a robust defence of your pay and conditions in the classroom, across the negotiating table and in the media