Teaching intern usually works for free
Schools treat their interns very differently. Both in guidance and responsibilities, and in payment. “The intern is used to plug gaps and has to figure it out further.”
Wim Borghuis is AOb-sector consultant and chair of the teacher training network. He discussed the situation with various colleagues in training and students of full-time, part-time and lateral entry. His conclusion: “There are schools where it is well regulated, schools where it is moderately regulated and especially many schools where it is not regulated. Often the minimal is done, in guidance and compensation.”
The latter is confirmed by a study by ResearchNed commissioned by the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg, which was published in June. 4900 trainees were asked how they were paid: 85 percent of trainees in education receive nothing, the highest percentage of all sectors (by comparison, in the number two worst-paying sectors, health care, 51 percent receive no internship compensation). ResearchNed has not investigated how the supervision of trainees in education compares with other sectors.
'She was simply used to plug holes and had to figure it out'
Borghuis heard, among other things, the story of a student who was going to do an internship in a kindergarten. “She was promised mountains of gold, but then people got sick and the support was nil. When she asked about it, the director said: Any more guidance? She was simply being used to plug holes and had to figure it out. And she says she hears similar stories a lot. The need is very high, trainees stand alone in front of a group and there is no space to supervise them.”
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He heard a similar story from another student, who also does part-time teacher training. “Third-year students often teach for whole days, she said. In that case, the own teacher is ultimately responsible, but in practice he is not or hardly scheduled on days when there is an intern.”
And then there's the payment, for which students are dependent on the arbitrariness of the internship school. “One gets a full teacher's salary, the other gets nothing, still others get 50 percent of the salary of a teaching assistant or teacher supporter. “But you don't see that reflected in their tasks,” says Borghuis. “I know someone who gets paid as a teacher assistant, but takes over a class during maternity leave. Then you are fully involved and you should also be paid that way.”
An experience expert is Youri, who only wants to be mentioned without a surname. Youri recently completed a lio internship, was well supervised and received 50 percent of the minimum teacher's salary, as it should be according to the collective labor agreement. He only knows of one fellow student who also got it. The others in his class, he estimates to be twelve people, got another internship contract, without compensation. “While they were just as far along with their studies and had the same kind of responsibilities.”
Universities of applied sciences have also noticed that the payment of trainees varies. Michiel Kampman of Windesheim explains: “Schools are free to determine whether they provide an internship allowance.” The university college does not refer to lio internships, in which students must receive 50 percent of the minimum salary of a teacher, but about graduation internships, in which the internship school itself determines whether and how much an intern is paid. “There is little difference for the intern in terms of responsibilities,” he says. According to him, Windesheim makes sure that the guidance is good. “There may be an exception due to a teacher shortage, but if schools cannot offer guidance, our students will not do an internship there. We are also keeping a close eye on that.”
Also FLOT (Fontys Lerarenopleiding Tilburg) no longer uses the term lio-stage. A document on the student portal reads, among other things: 'The lio turns out to be a confusing concept.' In addition, the university of applied sciences is not allowed to place lio trainees in schools, says co-education coordinator Ellen Mesch. “According to the law on secondary education (and also according to the law on primary education, ed.), Lio trainees can only be students who follow a dual study programme. We as FLOT do not offer that.”
The document on the student portal states that three types of graduation internships are possible from the university of applied sciences: a graduation internship without compensation, a graduation internship with compensation and 'working as a lecturer with dispensation', whereby the student is given a temporary employment contract as an (unqualified) lecturer, independent stands in front of the class and receives a salary, but the work at the school is registered as an internship. Which variant someone gets is up to the internship school. “But I recently heard from a student, for example, that he was asked to teach history completely independently because the teacher is retiring. At such a moment I point out to a student that he should be hired as a teacher and not as a cheap employee. We are on top of that, especially with the current teacher shortage, students are often called upon.”
This appeal to students is also something that Inholland is confronted with. Lecturer Garmt Meulendijks notes that this mainly concerns extra activities in addition to the internship. “Then, for example, they are asked to work as a teacher for a few days in addition to their internship. This happens to students in the fourth year, but we are already seeing it among second-year students. Students feel honored to be asked to stand in front of a class – it's their dream – so they are quick to say yes. But I notice that this sometimes jeopardizes their education. We are not officially about that, it is an agreement between the internship school and the student, but as a study program we are investigating how we can best deal with this.”
De AOb gives guest lectures at the university of applied sciences on the rights and obligations of students at Inholland's request. “Students then compare their contracts, for example, to see whether their activities fit within the job description. For example, if they have a contract as a teaching assistant, aren't they given responsibilities that only a teacher should have? The students find that knowledge very valuable.”
AObsector consultant Borghuis thinks information is a good idea. He even gave it to himself. Although he thinks that the union is the only way to tackle inequality and the high demands placed on students. “Many students don't think about joining. But individually they do not dare to say anything if things are not properly arranged at their internship school. They feel too vulnerable, although you would say that they have a good negotiating position with the large teacher shortage.”
'You would say that students have a good negotiating position with the large teacher shortage'
Borghuis continues: “And it is not up to internship supervisors from the universities of applied sciences to say anything about this, as they could harm the cooperation with the internship school and also do not have sufficient insight into it. The internship schools should of course take responsibility themselves to enable students to complete their education, supervise them and pay decently. But that doesn't happen enough, so you have to mobilize people through the union. Although it is of course too crazy for words that it is necessary.”
Do you want to see the AOb also invite you to come and give information about rights and obligations at your teacher training college or teacher training course? Then send a mail.
This article appeared in the July issue of the Education magazine.