Tuesday 3 December 2013

to discuss my profession...

Teaching, and education in general, is something that has gained a lot of media attention of late, and not necessarily for a good reason - but then that wouldn't be news worthy now would it! Again I never intended my blog to be a political forum and the thoughts expressed here are mine and mine alone.

A few weekends ago the following article popped up on Facebook.

Now it would appear that this article was actually written back in 2011 but with the beauty that is social media it has reared again.

If you can't be bother to check out the article I'll try my best to summarise it's main points....


Each and every one of us chose the profession we are in and I feel we all have a choice to change profession if it ain't all it cracked up to be. I didn't necessarily grow up desperately wanting to become a teacher, I knew I wanted to work with children so I guess it seemed like the obvious profession. A few years back I had decided that I had had enough of the classroom, for many of the reasons listed in the article above, so I completed my Masters and did just that, left the classroom, but am still obviously working in schools.

The main theme of the article is the unfair treatment, and what they refer to as bullying, that so many of my colleagues and I are faced with on a day to day basis. A 2009 survey identified 99% of teachers were the victims of bullying. It doesn't necessarily state who is doing the bullying but it could be assumed that it's from students, parents, colleagues, or a combination of all of the above.

The following cartoon that also pops up from time to time may seem funny to some but it is all too true in many classrooms and teacher parent interviews.

The article suggests that problems began to occur around the same time the cane was phased out in the 80's. I am not sure I think that taking away the cane made things worse, any more than I am that bringing it back would make things better.

Truth is, kids have changed, family dynamics have changed. Heck... the world has changed, but for some reason Teachers and Schools seem to be the ones who bear the brunt of these changes and for the most part - and for what is published in the newspapers and shown on the 6pm news - it's not all positive.

At times we teachers might come across as whingers and whiners and like we want more but I assure you we are there fighting the good fight every day to get the best outcomes for the students in our class which we feel a professional responsibility to, especially when (in some cases) no one else is!! I have experienced a lot of the scenarios mentioned in the article; kids threatening me, parents abusing me and questioning my professionalism, six year olds turning up to school at 8:30am with a bottle of coke and hot chips for breakfast, teenagers walking in to school on their second can of Mother/Red Bull/V for the morning, making students lunches because they have no food at home, students being kicked out of home, students being abused/neglected by their parents, students who have had no sleep the night before and being so tired they curl up on the bottom shelf of the bookcase and fall asleep...... and while all of this is going on we are expected and pressured to maintain a high level of education and produce high standards of academic results of National Standardised Tests...

The statistics of teachers suffering mental illnesses due to stress, bullying, pressure etc is too scarey to even contemplate. The number of teachers leaving the profession within the first 5 years is startling and concerning. What is happening in our schools, society, government at the moment is not making the profession an attractive one at all. All of this together with the latest announcements (and then backflips and then backflips on their backflips - no wonder they are confused by all this backflipping and then finding an extra 1.2billion???) by our current Prime Minister and our Federal Education Minister makes me nervous. Headlines on the QLD news about students ranking teachers to help determine pay just makes me feel sick to my stomach! Performance based pay is an absolute joke and not practical at all. What other profession would even have this considered.... What, I'm only going to pay my doctor if he cures my ailments...? I'm going to determine how much I pay my accountant based on if I am satisfied he has given me a good enough tax return...?

So many people who are quick to judge teachers and put forward their 2 cents worth are usually the ones who will just as quickly turn around and say "I'd never be a teacher"...."I don't know how you do it"....

What teachers need now is support, parental support, societal support, government support...not more pressure. So to those of you that are parents - if you are still with me - as the school year draws to an end take some time to thank your child's teacher. Yes, they are doing the job that they are paid to do but there is no greater profession than educating our future leaders, our future Prime Ministers, our future scientists, inventors, accountants, doctors, even our future teachers.....because after all teaching IS the profession that creates ALL other professions! and in a sometimes thankless profession, it is nice to know we are appreciated...

Another way you can support teachers is by talking to your teachers/Principals/P&Cs and finding out about the Gonski Review or by checking out the I Give a Gonski Website... Here's the link to help you!

Linking up this rant and rave with Essentially Jess for IBOT!



  1. I agree with you --- teaching can be such a thankless job. I used to work as a school counsellor and was always in awe of the teachers. They have it tough especially in this day and age. The cartoon speaks volumes about how society has changed. Back when I was growing up, parents always supported the teacher even when the teacher was wrong {as can often be the case in India} but it's gone a complete 180 and is not helping anyone...particularly the students! And don't get me started on the Gonski backflips...sigh!

  2. I cannot praise teachers highly enough. The work you guys do, is right up there, in my opinion with doctors and surgeons. I am disgusted that parents bully teachers, but then not surprised either sadly. I've seen many parents that are so over involved in their kids lives, they don't give the school's a chance to do any good with them. I try not to interfere, and only back the teachers up. I think that's probably what they need most of all