Teaching Tuesday

I have a bee in my bonnet. And you see, when I get a bee in my bonnet, I tend to turn into Ranty McRantyPants. While watching the news yesterdayI heard about the governments new legislation to add a few more hoops to jump through for trainee teachers. They want to implement numeracy and literacy tests, aptitude tests, demonstrated values, written statements, community service…God knows what else, before they can graduate and become qualified teachers.

Don’t get me wrong. I think those things are all important, especially literacy. I think I told you the story about the enrolment letter we got from our 2nd choice of school for Nick. They sent home the enrolment package and the welcome letter was littered with spelling and grammar mistakes. In my opinion, that’s not even close to good enough for an educational institution. It had the teacher’s name on the bottom of it, but I like to think it wasn’t her that typed it up and her eyes never saw it. I believe kids (and teachers!) NEED to know the difference between you’re and your, and they need to NOT write “ur”. I believe they need to know the difference between their, they’re, there.

Source: cafepress.com via Ashley on Pinterest

In my eyes, teaching is up there with the most important but least respected professions. Along with police, firefighters and nurses, just to name a few. We put our children in the hands of teachers for 12+ years of their lives. We* expect them to teach them to read, to write, to count and do their times tables. We expect them to be firm but kind. We expect them to be fair. We expect them to put up with attitudes (from students and parents!). We expect them to do all this and more, for little to no thanks, for pittance for pay. And then we say, “Oh teachers have it easy, they work 6 hours a day and get great holidays!” Anyone who knows a teacher, knows that is a load of crap.

Source: chattease.com via Angela on Pinterest

One of the guests on Sunrise yesterday made a really great point. Years ago, before women could be lawyers, doctors, anything they wanted to be, they were mostly teachers, nurses or secretaries. That made for a lot of really great teachers. Now days all the top graduates want to do something that pays well. Something that is more “respected.” What does that mean? The less-smart (?) ones have no choice but to be teachers? I don’t necessarily believe that, but I do think more could be done to make teaching a more appealing option.

It takes a really special person to be a teacher. It must truly be a calling to follow that dream. They put their heart, their soul, their time (yes, more than 6 hours a day!) into teaching our kids, who are the leaders of the future. Yet they are blamed for poor grades and threatened to have their pay sacrificed by the results of their students in naplan tests. Naplan testing, don’t even get me started on that! Then you have the parents. The parents who don’t want their kids to be disciplined at school, which are usually the parents who don’t discipline at home, either and expect miracles to happen at school! I’ve worked with parents before, and while there are always wonderful ones, you only ever seem to have to deal with the pains in the asses.

What makes me angry about these new government legislations is that any idiot or puppet can be a politician. And those are the people who are putting more and more pressure on teachers. Who are they to sit in a fancy room and come up with policies that affects a profession I’m guessing most of them have never had anything to do with? Teachers have my utmost respect. And it’s important for me to teach Nicklas that teachers are to be respected, too.

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Have you been in a classroom lately? Have you seen what teachers have to deal with on a daily basis? Do you think there should be tougher requirements on teachers?

*By we I mean “I”. I’m sure we all expect different things from teachers.
Linking up with the lovely Jess for IBOT, naturally, because that’s what we do on Tuesdays!

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34 thoughts on “Teaching Tuesday

  1. Great post, I actually like the idea of there being some sort of testing for teachers, what I don’t like is that it is in the middle of degree. To me it should be part of the entrance to teaching. While I understand that adding more hoops may be a deterrent I also think that by making it a tougher profession to enter it will then become more respected and in turn seen as worthy of a higher pay

    • In all that I’ve read and heard I’ve not once heard mention of giving them any extra money for the privilege of going through all this rigmarole. I think the govt thinks they have to try and do something to get Australia’s poor school performance up. Perhaps it’s not a problem with the teachers themselves, or what they know, but with the limited resources they’re given to teach it. Or the pressures of having to teach to the naplan tests. Or not being able to effectively discipline those disrupting the class? I don’t know, just doesn’t seem so fair on the teachers to me.

  2. Teachers certainly do deserve our respect. And I to believe that they are swamped by “political” pressures. My son studied at University for a year in the hopes of becoming a Primary School Teacher. Unfortunately due to the “politics” he and also four others dropped out and went on to study in different areas. Teachers today do not get the respect they deserve because respect in general today is lacking.

    • That’s a real shame about your son and the 4 others. My cousin has just started a 1 year degree to become a high school teacher. I know he would be fantastic and the kids would LOVE him, so I hope he manages to get through it.

  3. I have to ask, why are we looking at special tests for teachers. If there literacy and numeracy skills are not up to scratch how have they managed to be studying at a university level? Is it because universities are run as a business, underfunded by the Federal Government, and willing to take all regardless of academic ability.

    The solution to all the ills of education seems to be blame the teachers, it’s the system that is broken, let’s look at real ways of fixing that first.

    • I did a graduate certificate at a local uni here and can not believe the quality (or lack of) of work that I saw from some international students who couldn’t even speak the language yet they pass and get degrees!? totally run like a business! it’s a shame (or sham?!) and I do worry about teachers being thrown in the deep end. Seems like it is an issue that seriously needs addressing, more so than so much other garbage the pollies go on about!

  4. Thanks so much for this post! As a teacher I totally applaud what you have written and love to hear it. If only there were more parents like you. Would certainly make my job a LOT easier!

    • Aw thanks Zita. I really appreciate anyone who takes on a teaching role! I think it’s such an important job and is way too overlooked. I wish the government would do more to help teachers and schools.

  5. I’ve been teaching for 10 years and each year I have more to teach, less time to do it and less resources. I do think, if we have more kids, maybe I’ll finish up. Which is sad because I love it so much and I look forward to doing 2 days a week later in the year. I just get so tired of battling the people who think we do nothing. Thank you for your support! xx

    • I can’t even imagine having to hear the comments people would make about teachers. I don’t understand how people could even think that, at all! I’d like to see THEM teach a class for a week! Honestly, one of the most important and toughest jobs around!

  6. as a daughter and sister of teachers i agree with you – love the parallel to the politicians who have no testing – let’s make sure they have values, know what they are talking about and can do a good job too! – deb xx

  7. I’m with you. I have the utmost respect for teachers and I think they need much more support. As a parent I would like to help our school and support teachers, but I just find there are very few opportunities in high school.

  8. Teachers and nurses go hand in hand I reckon. Underpaid and over worked. Unless they are paid more, appreciate more and given more help by schools, society and parents we’re in big trouble. That’s why I offered to parent help – and in just 1.5 hours I was overwhelmed with how demanding it is for Prep teachers! Em x

  9. My MIL is a primary school teacher and has been her whole career, after seeing her and how much work she puts in any half-formed thought that I could do that for a living fled. They work damn hard 8am to 5pm (yard duty, school, more yard duty and meetings) then come home and lesson plan or mark and they get paid terribly while shaping the minds of the next generation of leaders. Yes, teachers should be enthusiastic and actually want to teach vs falling into it by default but it wasn’t that long ago there was a dire shortage of teachers, more hoops is so not what we need.

    • no wonder they’re in dire need of teachers. it’s such a hard job and so grossly under-appreciated. i sometimes wonder if i could do it. i admit it would be nice to have holidays off with my son, but then i realise what they have to put up with, and i’m certain i wouldn’t last a week!

  10. I have the highest respect for teachers . It is sad the profession is not held in higher esteem . I spent a bit of time in the classrooms of my eldest and now the twins ….they couldn’t pay me enough to be a teacher . I was a nurse and they didn’t pay me enough either though I did enjoy working with children then.

    • i imagine being a nurse working with sick children would be really tough! i am not sure i could be paid enough to be a teacher, either. i sometimes think about it, then realise i struggle with 1 4.5 year old, no way I could handle 20-25!

  11. I do think there has been something slacking in our area in Perth – I want my daughter to go to my primary school.. it had an awesome reputation with a waiting list a mile long. So naturally I am thrilled my daughter will be attending next year.. until last week when my sister tells me most of the kids get pulled out in year 3 and sent to a private primary school or different suburb school. Apparently the teachers give up after year 2 and do nothing to push these children to want to learn.. which is really sad.. because its the reason why our house in where it is.. and we’re not living elsewhere!! 😦

    #teamIBOT

    • that is a shame 😦 i hope when she gets to that point you find it’s not true at all. i know what it’s like to be in a job where your hands are tied and you don’t feel appreciated, so I can see why some teachers would “give up”. I wish I knew what the answer was, but certainly making things even harder for them is NOT the answer.

  12. Well bloody said!
    Teachers are incredible people and need as much as respect as we can give.
    We’re so lucky with the school we have. Not only are the teachers great, but there is a huge attitude of respect in the school community, that makes everything feel more comfortable.

    • Thanks Jess. That’s great about your school. We are pretty lucky with our school I think (so far anyway, from what I can see). It has a great reputation. But I think it comes from the top down, so it all starts with the principal and deputies. If the teachers are happy, it says a lot about the whole school.

  13. This is such a great post Aroha. The work teachers do is so underestimated in our society. We should recognise their work more often and stop putting so much pressure on them.

  14. This is such a topical issue at the moment. Miss 14 has always wanted to be a primary school teacher but as she is top of all her classes people are telling her she shouldn’t become one. All her friends are saying if they don’t get into the course they want, teaching is their fall back. It is undervaluing teaching as a profession. To be honest I have met some pretty crap teachers. I thought that the government initiative to get professionals into schools was great but then it turns out there wasn’t many jobs in their areas once they graduated. I would love to teach high school, but being very little flexibility in where you can work isn’t a great prospect for a professional with a family. I some reforms need to be done, like tougher graduation requirements or a campaign to change attitudes to the profession.

  15. Beautiful post. I have to say though, as a teacher, I’m all for the literacy testing too. To be honest, I saw some very frustrated lecturers that had to deal with messy, grammatically incorrect essays time and time again. I think it’s a really important part of what we do.

    However, 4 years of study is a long time. It’s a profession that isn’t paid enough for what its worth to the country, and too many people who could potentially become brilliant teachers are changing courses or doing further study to do other things which will be respected in society and paid well!

  16. As someone who is half way through I teaching degree, I can tell you it isn’t easy doing the degree, at least in WA you still have to have a pretty decent exam score to be accepted to University, and the subjects I’ve had are pretty intensive. I’ve also seen what teachers in schools have to deal with, my mentor teacher (a young 25 year old lady) got hit in the head by a kid wielding a metal pole while I was on prac. I can see why people don’t want to become teachers, and then many who have a great attitude become disenfranchised because of the nature of the job. Saying that, I have many friends and family who are AMAZING teachers, but the stories I hear about the unrealistic demands of parents, definitely would make many people second guess getting into the profession. It isn’t a job for the faint of heart that is for sure, and the looks I get when I tell people I’m going to be a high school teacher!! Good job standing up for the teachers Aroha!!

  17. Nodding away here. My sister and dad are teachers, and I’m so saddened when I hear people bad mouthing their profession. It’s a scary situation this circle we are going in.. Not to sound fuddy daddy.. I am worried about future generations.

    Great post

    Loz x

  18. I come from a family of teachers – and there is no WAY I could do what they do! They are passionate, dedicated and caring above and beyond the job description for significantly less pay than the majority of professions.

    I do think there should be tougher requirements for teachers – for the simple reason that if it’s harder to get into that might work to give it some of the prestige that being a teacher really deserves.

  19. I have the highest respect for teachers too. And I think your point about how the government is making it tougher for trainee teachers also goes for nurses.
    It makes no sense that these professions are the most poorly resourced and lack support yet the government makes it so difficult for people to enter the profession. And on top of all that, not guaranteed for better pay or work benefits.

  20. Being married to a teacher I know the pressures they are under to perform, the limitations placed on their ability to enforce discipline in the classroom and the real lack of compensation they receive for their efforts. It is certainly not easy at all and we need to support those who have an actual passion for the profession and genuinely care for the children they teach. Great post Aroha.

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