I agree with you entirely. There is (and wasn't any) problem. I have the pleasure of observing many brilliant, hardworking and inspiring teachers in my job as a secondary TA. I have,unfortunately, also had a few bad experiences with teachers, which have made it hard for me to do my job, and what is worse, turn students off learning entirely, which is a shame. I have utmost respect for my colleagues. Teachers get a lot of grief, and the workload is crazy, and the pay doesn't compensate as it should. However, there are plenty of TAs who get so little pay that without state benefits (tax credits) wouldn't be able to pay rent or feed their kids. Sometimes they don't deserve even the little they get, but the majority of TAs I know do a lot more than they are paid for, things that just wouldn't be done otherwise. It is wrong to use TAs to teach whole classes, but I do think that there needs to be a more clear and gradual progression from unqualified TA to fully qualified teacher, which doesn't necessary need full time university. I know teachers with 1st degrees from very illustrious unis who can't teach, yet others with inferior degrees can reach kids in an inspiring way. The Foundation degree and HLTA are meant to offer this, but unfortunately, most schools in my experience only back the HLTA beacuse it has been fully funded, and they don't then follow through with HLTA jobs and certainly not pay. My school will not fund the extra modules needed to acheive the Foundation Degree either. I met a woman the other day in a shop, and for some reason she was talking about teachers, and she shocked me by saying 'I always tell my kids that teachers don't deserve respect, they must earn it'. I had to bite my tongue, because I was afraid what I might say, it made me so angry. Unfortuately, bad school experiences lead some people to have this view. The idea that teachers should have some sacred protection from criticism also leads to this kind of back lash. We should be able to criticise bad teaching, in a positive way initially, with support, but ultimately, no teacher should be protected from their own incompetence. Bad teachers should be sackable, just as any other profession. I know a head of department who cannot get rid of a useless teacher, despite repeated complaints from parents and other staff. The teacher just plays the 'stress' card and threatens to go to the press. This puts all the good teachers into bad repute, as many people don't remember the hundreds of good teachers, they only remember the bad.