I am not well known for taking the side of government employees, I know some civil servants and I know how much they get paid, what benefits they receive and how that compares to the private sector. In general it seems to me that they complain a lot when realistically they do far better than people working for private companies.
However, teachers are a different story. One of my closest friends has a parent who is a teacher, another has a sister who is a teacher, so I have an idea what the government sees fit to pay them and how they are managed. And mostly they are underpaid, undervalued, over managed and frustrated.
To me teachers are the most important civil servant, not just by a small margin, but by a large one. For a person who generally disliked every teacher I ever had I find myself wishing I could go back and apologise to them. I was a 'little shit' and they didn't deserve me or the other children at my school. They are responsible for providing the country's youth with a strong foundation that will carry them into adulthood.
I was talking to Kate last night and she told me about teachers in Taiwan. They have been on the news recently as some citizens don't agree with the benefits they receive. But I do.
Firstly teachers here are the highest paid civil servants and the most valued. For this reason they don't have to pay income tax, electricity bills, gas bills or water bills. They are exempt from almost every type of bill, tax or payment.
39% of people in Taiwan have a university degree compared with 37% of people in Britain. Although this country is by no means poor, its budgets are tiny compared to those of the UK yet its students are better educated by stronger and better rewarded educators.
I'm not saying the British should copy Taiwan but I do believe that teachers in state schools hold one of the most important positions in our society and we should treat them significantly better than we do.