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Student teacher - which union?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by stacey1004, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. I've just noticed how many exclamation marks I use. How annoying for people reading it, there's no need for so many.
    Will pop that on my 'English Skills Audit' list of things to look at.[​IMG]
  2. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    You absolutely need to join at least one union. Sadly in some schools, even as a student teacher, you could find yourself in a position where you need union advice and protection. Hopefully there's a 99.9% chance you'll never need it, but in some very rare cases you might find that the staff at your placement schools put you in an awkward position and your ITT provider's help isn't good enough, or you may find yourself the victim of allegations by students. In the latter case you could need tens of thousands of pounds of legal protection, which your union would provide for free. These are obviously absolute worst case scenarios and, as I say, extremely rare. But like car accidents, they could happen to anyone.
    On the first week of your course you should get talks by the main unions and they will give you loads of free stuff, including a year's free membership, in exchange for your name and email address. You can join all three if you like. At the end of the course they'll invite you to join as an NQT with heavily discounted rates - I know the NUT does it for £1. The unions also run courses - again, often free - that could be useful for your professional development.
    So in summary, please join at least one union - they're very important.
  3. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    Sorry, I've just seen this. Others will correct me if I'm wrong, but if you leave it until something actually goes wrong I don't think the unions will give you full support. Maybe they will provide free advice, but probably not the huge legal fees that may be incurred. This wouldn't be fair on their current, fee-paying members.
  4. katnoodle is absolutely right in this - although I very much doubt that any union would even give you advice in these circumstances. You wouldn't expect to drive your car uninsured until you have an accident and then sign up for insurance and this is no different.
    Not only is what you say wrong in the sense that this just wouldn't happen it is also morally appalling that you should expect other, often very low-paid, members of support staff to 'carry' you by refusing to pay union dues - I bet you have accepted any 'automatic' pay rises which have come your way during you time in this role - 'automatic' rises negotiated by the Trade Unions therefore paid for by their members! Not a great attitude from a prospective teacher, I'm afraid!
  5. quietlydetermined

    quietlydetermined New commenter

    Join all three for free as a student teacher. Read the magazines etc that come through the door and then you will be able to make an informed decision on which one to join in your NUT year.
  6. Doudou, I wish you had read my post more carefully, or I had made it more clear. The reason I have not been in a union until the point has been purely and only down to money, I've even had stop my pension payments as I am brely scraping by. I do not expect "other, often very low-paid, members of support staff to carry me" as I am that low-paid member of support staff who is currently floundering in debt having taken a huge pay cut from the private sector job market to work in the public sector in a job that I love and has cemented my longing to be a teacher. My choice to do this, and I don't regret it for a second.
    If I had joined Unison, I would have been paying nearly £10 a month, now that might not sound like a lot to most people but that is a huge amount to me. I've had to cut back in all areas of my life over the past 6 years (I'm not exaggerating when I say my shoes are literally falling apart - and if you read back over my previous threads I am always looking for ways to save money) and as much as I would have preferred to be in a union I just could not justify that money when I can't even pay for all of my own kids school trips (thankfully they both have little part-time jobs and don't begrudge paying for it if I can't scrape the money together). Our first family holiday in around 10 years was paid for by Tesco vouchers!
    I'm sorry that my attitude disgusts you, but I have had to make sacrifices to get to this point. I was informed by the unison rep in my school that I didn't have to join and that they would help me if a situation arose.
    If support staff were offered the deals like the better paid teachers get (i.e. a £1 for the year deal) then I would have joined in a flash.
    I know I should have been in one for the past 6 yrs, no it's not fair on my colleagues that have been paying, but thankfully I've never needed it. I fully intend as a teacher to be in a union, and with the additional earnings I will be getting I will be able to afford it, hence my original question.
    Thanks to everyone for their advice.
  7. Yes, I was aware that I would get advice and representation without the legal costs cover, this was explained by my schools unison rep. I totally agree it wouldn't be fair.
  8. Ooops, just checked the fees, it would have been under £8 per month, but still not justifiable in my situation.
  9. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    I understand where you're coming from stacey1004. I'd say join them all as a student teacher, then perhaps stick to one in your NQT year (although they are all very very cheap for NQTs, and you can absolutely belong to more than one) and then when you need to pay full whack you can pick and choose. From what I've learned, it's a good idea to speak to people in the school you get your first teaching job at - you might want to join the union which has the most members at that school so you have more collective bargaining power, or people might have a good idea which rep is the best at supporting its members.
    Anyway, good luck with it all!
  10. Thanks very much for that katnoodle, I never considered the collective bargaining part, so I will definately do it that way!

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