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.
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.
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.
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?