Class struggle: the mounting pressures faced by Ireland’s teachers

Long and demanding hours, low salaries and a rising cost of living are just some of the many factors forcing an increasing number of teachers to leave this country for better conditions. What can be done to stop the squeeze?

Christopher Davey, physics teacher at St Leo’s College in Carlow: ‘Principals are finding it very hard to get physics teachers, and I’d worry that it’s just not going to be offered to students for that reason.’ Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke

Christopher Davey still remembers the frustration he felt when, as a newly qualified teacher, his car broke down. The physics graduate was on €19,000 a year at the time – a lot less than what his college classmates were earning in finance and computing. He sat in the car that day wondering how to fix the problem himself, since he couldn’t afford a mechanic.

The Sligo man is one of many young teachers who entered ...