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Teacher's tears

I am composing this email at 2.30am, the tears flowing down my cheeks, trying to keep quiet, so that I won't wake the children.

Last Tuesday we searched the house for money to buy bread. We found €2.60. Yippee!!! Off we went on our merry way to Lidl to buy the bread. On the way my youngest asked: "Are we broke, mammy?" "Yes", I said, "we are." Telling the truth.

My second child piped up immediately: "We won't be broke next Tuesday." "Why not?" said I, knowing well why, but just seeing if he knew.

"We will get the children's allowance," he said cheerfully.

Now, I am a qualified primary school teacher, having just received a 2.1 honour from Hibernia College. I discovered that Hibernia take in about 800 primary students per year, at a cost of over €9,000 per student. This means Hibernia is receiving €8m a year. But poor students, there isn't a job in sight, not even a day's subbing.

Out of 30 in my immediate class, five got short-term subbing jobs. Lucky ones returned to their original jobs and many more are unemployed, like me.

In total, I calculated it cost me €30,000 to do the course, when I include costs such as child-minding.

Yesterday, I went to a school and the principal advised me to do voluntary work so that I could get a sub teaching job later.

This is what other qualified teachers are doing, he said. But if I don't have money to buy bread, how can I do voluntary work?

I am sick with worry, with the lack of job opportunities and going from school to school like a beggar.

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