Did you know that in Italy the contract of a precarious teacher can last only 5 days?

Did you know that in Italy the contract of a precarious teacher can last only 5 days?
Did you know that in Italy the contract of a precarious teacher can last only 5 days?

A maternity replacement is the El Dorado. Excluding annual substitutes, the contract can range from a few days to a month. There is no minimum. A country that wants to build a future cannot treat those involved in training the citizens of tomorrow in this way

(photo: Antonio Masiello / Getty Images)

Each job has its own difficulty curves, made up of relationships, of adapting its standards to the required production levels, curves that can be dealt with more or less with a good calculation time and strategy. When work is precarious, however, everything changes. The curve is sharp and the solutions are few. Teaching is one of those paradigms that really clash with the vagueness of precariousness. Abandon the clichés: the life of a precarious teacher is different from how you imagine it, especially if you are young and have just started working. First of all, forget the three months of vacation – the ones we talk about so much – the precarious in the summer is not on vacation is unemployed. Not to mention the other holidays during the year: the short substitutes often work that you are fired at Christmas and then be recalled to the befana. We are fired as soon as lessons are over and we get one-day contracts for the ballots, so it also happens for the high school exams.

Our destiny is linked to rankings, the famous GPS. Through these we can obtain annual professorships, that is contracts that go until 31 August, or until 30 June. In this case you are lucky, no one fires you at Christmas or Easter and if you take an annual professorship you also have paid summer holidays (a real luxury!). For all other substitutions, those they call “short”, such as, for example, replacements for illness, maternity, leave or leave – unavoidable in the first years of teaching – the school rankings are scrolled. In each of these rankings the teacher starts with a score that depends on the degree grade, after which the teacher can accumulate points either through teaching, or thanks to the acquisition of qualifications (such as masters, language certifications, IT certifications, etc.).

Basically, excluding annual substitutions, the contract of a precarious teacher can last 5 days, two weeks or a month.. There is no minimum. It depends on the needs of the school and what kind of replacement is being made. For us precarious, for example, a replacement for maternity is the El Dorado. But often, even in this case, the contracts are renewed from month to month. And the questions that a precarious worker asks himself every morning, before entering the classroom, are always the same: When will he give birth? Will he do the optional or will he return immediately after the compulsory? Will you ask for part-time? What about breastfeeding? Will I take them to the fifth grade exams or will you come back earlier?

It’s all about timing and scoring. And we precarious are obsessed with the score. We know very well that just one point less in the ranking can mean frustrating working conditions. Like when you find yourself having to run from one part of the province to another because, perhaps, you have several schools at the same time, or when at the end of the month you realize that you have thrown half your salary on petrol and the highway, or when you have to accept a chair of a few hours because it is the only possibility left to you.

For a point less you can not get an annual chair, the only real opportunity for stability and continuity that a precarious can aspire to. The score is the only thing that matters, and for a few more points we accept everything.

Has it always been like this? Yes.
Is it decent? No.

“You have to do the mess!”. They say.

But is this the mess? Shouldn’t there be, during this phantom apprenticeship, who trains us on how to best teach our subject? Or maybe someone to explain to us what a special educational need (BES) is or someone to teach us how to structure a test for a student with a learning disability (SLD)?

Initial teacher training does not currently exist: you graduate, you enter the rankings, the school calls you and throws you in the classroom. Yes, he throws you in class. Without any preparation because, in the end, what you have in your hand is just a piece of paper and teaching is quite another thing.
Unfortunately, the apprenticeship for many coincides with the kilometers you drive every day to go to school, with the contracts you accept or in how many schools you teach at the same time. The apprenticeship in the school is how sweaty you did that chair. It doesn’t matter if you are able to teach or not, you are a score, which also and above all depends on what you are willing to accept.

This job should be one of the most beautiful, fulfilling and stimulating jobs in the world but it is not so, it suffers from low attractiveness and a high risk of abandonment.

There are more than 200,000 temporary workers in Italy and OECD data tell us that the average age of Italian teachers is always higher. In primary school, 58% of teachers are at least 50 years old where the OECD average is 33%. This percentage ranges from 53% for lower secondary education (OECD average 36%) to 62% for upper secondary education (OECD average 40%).

For a recent graduate, salary, career prospects and professional development opportunities are key factors in choosing to undertake this path. In Italy, the salary of teachers is between 22 and 28 thousand euros gross a year, salary increases occur solely and exclusively for seniority and are lower than in other European Union countries, both at the beginning and at the end. career.

Teacher starting salaries are very important in attracting new graduates but this is not the only factor to consider. If the starting salary is low but there is a chance it will rise quickly, the low starting salary may not be a disincentive. In our country, a teacher must wait at least 35 years of service to see his salary increase by 50%. This, in addition to being not very stimulating, can also contribute to increasing the dropout rate from the profession.

This system is not attractive to young people. We are used to uncertainty, we are used to insecurity, unpaid internships and internships, reimbursements or “out of pocket”. If we accept it is also because there is the hope of a better future, there is the awareness of growing and forming. Meritocracy in schools does not exist. Teaching is often the profession that you decide to undertake because things have not worked out in private. Teaching cannot be the last option in a discarded range of possibilities, nor can it be a mission. Teaching must be a choice. Aware and dignified.

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