Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple school principals and departmental officers bully classroom teachers into ill health and out of work.

Teachers' Stories : Australian teachers talk about their working conditions - workplace bullying, harassment, mobbing, victimisation, discrimination and "payback".

Queensland teachers' stories : 
http://www.theteachersareblowingtheirwhistles.com/teachersstories.htm 
 
Read how a young male teacher - a first year graduate - was driven out of work in Queensland!
 
http://www.theteachersareblowingtheirwhistles.com/thefirstyearteacher.htm
 
 

New South Wales teachers' stories http://www.badapplebullies.com/nswteachersstories.htm

Northern Territory teachers' stories : http://www.badapplebullies.com/ntteachersstories.htm

South Australian teachers' stories : http://www.badapplebullies.com/sateachersstories.htm

Victorian teachers' stories : http://www.badapplebullies.com/victeachersstories.htm

West Australian teachers' stories : http://www.badapplebullies.com/wateachersstories.htm

Tasmanian teachers' stories : http://www.badapplebullies.com/tasteachersstories.htm

Australian university stories : http://www.badapplebullies.com/australianunistories.htm 

 

General teachers' stories and private school workplace bullying stories below -

 

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But if you would like your name or story removed from the website, no problem at all - whatever is best for you.

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Who on earth wants a job which entails continual sabotage and disruption of your teaching efforts?

Let's say it as it is.

Some students are lazy, unmotivated, poorly disciplined and disruptive. 

That's bad enough for them, but it's worse for (a) the willing and motivated students who want to learn and (b) the system itself which won't attract and retain competent and committed teachers.

 

Who on earth wants a job which entails continual sabotage and disruption of your teaching efforts?

 

I say let's change the emphasis.

Give priority attention to the students who are willing to co-operate in the advancement of their own education.

Allow school choice, where schools with high standards can enroll students who will respect those standards.

Am I the only person who is sick of so-called experts trying to excuse poor student behaviour on some sort of social deficiency in society or some new-fangled syndrome?

Older Australians will remember being taught by teachers who had larger classes and fewer resources.

If you stepped out of line you were warned and if that didn't work you were punished.

(sometimes there was no step one)

This seemed perfectly reasonable to us - the teacher was there to teach and we were there to learn and there was little official interest in whether we felt good about ourselves and if our wishes were being met.

I suggest that there needs to be real reform in our schools, but that the state systems with their vested interests and PC outlooks are incapable of achieving this reform.

So give individual schools and motivated teachers and students the opportunity to reform the system.

Give parents the choice (where the funding follows the child) of placing their child in a school which has a real as opposed to a pretend learning environment and where there is harmony between the values of the home and those of the school.

The teachers' unions won't like it, but tough luck.

The children are more important than them!

 

Maic (seems to be a teacher or to have had teaching experience), Reader's Comment, Rules of engagement for teachers, Stefanie Balogh, The Australian, 15 March 2017

Ex-teacher : I would strongly advise you NOT to consider teaching as a career.

I taught in high schools for 25 years and hated it for every single day except for the first day when I wasn't sure whether I liked it or not.

I taught maths and science up to yr 12 level.

I enjoyed teaching kids who wanted to learn but they were few and far between ... mostly it was crowd control with teenagers telling you to "get f...d" several times a day.

The behaviour issues are what soured teaching for me, topped off by total lack of support from parents and admin.

In my day, if I got into trouble at school, I was also in trouble with my parents at home.

The opposite is true today.

We weren't allowed to discipline kids effectively.

Raising your voice was a no-no and repeated instruction was regarded as harassment.

For example, if Johnny wouldn't sit down and you repeatedly told him to sit down ... that was harassment.

The other big issue was the constant dumbing down of the curriculum which I fought against but to no avail.

This article (link below) presents a very rosy "Mr Chips" view of teaching.

It was not my experience and I was not alone... the vast majority of my colleagues felt the same.

I would strongly advise anyone considering teaching to drop the idea.

 

Peter, Reader's Comment,  The Life Changers, Kate Legge, The Weekend Australian, 17-18 December 2016

Teacher with nine years' experience : I would not recommend teaching to anyone who achieves a good HSC mark.

I've been teaching for nine years after having achieved an HSC mark in the 90s.

I was a tradesman for a few years before entering teaching to "make a difference".

Although I love being in the classroom and feel I have made a difference to many students, it is a dysfunctional industry led by poor educators who do not judge a teacher by their performance in the classroom, but by the trendy projects they work on outside of the classroom.

Nepotism, cynicism and the sheer naivety of so many permanent school dwellers standing in front of classes has sapped much of my passion.

The paperwork is abhorrent and counterproductive.

In an ironic twist to the experiences described in the article (linked) below, it is my mortgage and young children that keep my in the same salaried job, as I can't afford to start again at this stage of my life.

I wouldn't recommend teaching to anyone who achieves a top HSC mark.

The pay is not good enough to compensate for the stress and frustration.

 

Spencer, Reader's Comment,  The Life Changers, Kate Legge, The Weekend Australian, 17-18 December 2016

Retired teacher : Australian secondary teachers experience stress and lack of authority.

As a retired teacher, I agree that there was a lot of magic in teaching but, in the end, it didn't compensate for the stress and lack of authority that teachers experience in public secondary schools in low to middle socioeconomic communities.

 

John, Reader's Comment,  The Life Changers, Kate Legge, The Weekend Australian, 17-18 December 2016

Queensland teacher sets up petition, protesting workplace bullying.

A Queensland teacher has set up a petition, protesting about her experience of workplace bullying.

Teachers may be afraid to sign this petition themselves because of Code of Conduct issues - but you can ask your husband, mother, friends, children, etc. to sign on your behalf.

If you are being bullied into ill health at work, you might want to consider setting up a similar petition, protesting about the bullying.

 

 https://www.change.org/p/petition-against-workplace-bullying

 

Teacher's wife : my husband was bullied into resignation.

My husband was an AP with 37 years of teaching experience.

Two female teachers, the Principal and an inexperienced AP bullied and lied.

My husband was pushed into taking long service leave and then into resignation.

 

Debra Munday,  https://www.change.org/p/petition-against-workplace-bullying

Incompetent school principals project their problems on to other people.

One of the biggest problems in our Australian education system is incompetent principals who project their problems on to other people.

Poor performance of teachers and students is usually the result of a substandard leader.

 

Nadine McMaster,   https://www.change.org/p/petition-against-workplace-bullying

School principal : I was bullied by Regional Office.

I was also the victim of bullying and corrupt behaviour by Regional Office.

I was once a school principal.

Bullying does happen in the education department regardless of which state.

 

IG   https://www.change.org/p/petition-against-workplace-bullying

How to gain promotion to the Regional Education Office.

I resigned from a state secondary school system after 40 years.

The upwardly mobile Principal from my last appointment mandated that no student was to be given an "E", the lowest grade possible for both classroom behaviour and subject attainment, unless said student's parents had been contacted regarding their child's progress at least six times.

Needless to say, most teachers on staff immediately upgraded their potential "E" students to "D's". 

On Presentation Night this Principal proudly announced that, due to his teaching innovations, the results of the students had improved by 25%.

 

He was promoted from Executive High School Principal to the Head of the Regional Education Office with a subsequent rise in prestige and salary.

 

Bevan, Reader's Comment,  'She'll be right' - students mired in mediocrity : Kevin Donnelly, Stefanie Balogh, The Australian, 15 November, 2016

How many teachers in Australia are coping?

OK, let's play a game of pretend ... pretend that you are a lovely teacher three years out of uni.

You are teaching in central Australia.

You have 22 students on your 'roll'.

 

Let's list your challenges -

There are only 17 students in the room.

Where are the rest?

How many students speak English as their first language?

Have the students all had something to eat yet today? 

Is a can of coke enough for breakfast, Miss?

How many of the students slept in a clean bed for eight or more hours last night?

Are your students all clean, tidy and bathed?

No one wants to sit next to the "smelly" kid.

How many of your students have a hearing impairment because their ear infections were not treated when they were 15 months old?

How many students have a health issue? 

Scabies?

Foetal alcohol syndrome?

Bruises from domestic violence?

Lice?

How many students have a mental health issue or are using drugs / alcohol? 

Why are there no facilities for the student with the obvious disability?

Can any of your students recognise their ABC's or count to 10?

Is the adult who is yelling at the students in the playground a parent?

Why are they yelling?

 

Any one of these problems applying to even one student in a classroom will hold the whole class back anywhere in Australia.

This is not just an indigenous issue.

But out in the red dirt ALL of these issues will apply to your students ALL of the time.

There is no way you will be able to "teach" when even one of these issues is present - let alone two or twenty-two.

 

Many Australian classrooms are dominated by issues other than the 3R's.

Many of our teachers long to just teach.

How many teachers in Australia are coping?

 

Christine, Reader's Comment, NAPLAN results show core learning skills are in retreat, Jennifer Buckingham, The Australian, 3 August 2016

We need some research into how students treat their teachers.

Kids are largely safe at school.

It's the teachers who aren't necessarily safe.

I'd love some research to be conducted into how students treat their teachers.

Verbal and physical assaults, bullying behaviour towards teachers (trust me, it happens) are a result of kids who don't know boundaries and have no respect for authority or people or their property.

Parents are often to blame.

So are rubbish rules like banning hugging between primary aged children and rules that say teachers can't touch students.

Parents need to realise the destruction that is occurring and their own role in teaching kids respect and disciplined behaviour.

 

Lisa, Reader's Comment, Cory Bernadi holds parents responsible for teenage 'trasher', Michael Owen, The Australian, 19 April 2016

Assistant Principal : our job is twice, maybe even three times as hard.

I would love to have more of a social life but teaching just doesn't work like that.

You need to use your weekends and evenings to plan or you don't get the best out of your students.

The role of Assistant Principal is doubly hard as you have to have exemplary teaching practice, be a mentor or coach to your team and do all of the compliance that is part of school life - maybe I should have said triply.

Holidays????? LOL.

 

 

Claire, Reader's Comment, SCHOOLS IN CRISIS : One-in-four new teachers 'burnt out', Brett Henebery, Home News, The educator, 17 November 2015

A male teacher's greatest fear - false allegations.

In the largest private school in South Australia, based in the northern suburbs, an exceptional male mentor and teacher has been crucified by false allegations.

A court case.

Huge legal bills.

In a freely available judgement, the judge ruled the allegations were completely false.

The allegations were concocted by two girls.

The girls did not face any criminal charges for their actions.

The girls remained at the school.

Other students were disciplined if they approached the girls.

The teacher's career is in ruins.

His reputation is ruined.

The emotional and financial toll nearly cost him everything.

The College treated the teacher as guilty from the outset.

Never an apology.

No offer of re-instatement.

Where is the justice?

Who would be a male teacher?

 


Sue, Reader's Comment, Why we need more male teachers in SA schools, Tim Williams and Renato Castello,  Sunday Mail (SA), 30 January 2016

Experienced teachers are 'burnt out' because of their heavy workload.

With the heavy workload we now have, I see experienced teachers who are burnt out.

These are excellent teachers who will leave the system too early because of lack of support.

 

Kim, Reader's Comment, SCHOOLS IN CRISIS : One-in-four new teachers 'burnt out', Brett Henebery, Home News, The educator, 15 January 2015

Ex-teacher : I lasted three years and then moved on.

Huge workload, long hours, high stress, far too little support and poor pay.

Why do so many teachers last less than 5 years, I wonder?

I lasted three years and then moved on.

Best thing I ever did for me and my family.

Sad for education that we lose so many teachers for avoidable reasons.

 

Wibble, Reader's Comment, SCHOOLS IN CRISIS : One-in-four new teachers 'burnt out'. Brett Henebery, Home News, The Educator, 13 May 2015

After three years of teaching, I am at this crossroads.

I myself am at this crossroad debating whether after three years I want to do this or not.

Even when we get holidays  ... we get them alongside all of the kids we'd  probably prefer to be completely away from!

I am a mature starter and I feel people forget I'm a new graduate really.

No support, more paperwork than actual teaching, extra duties during breaks, politics driving a curriculum that changes so frequently, the expectation that parents can drop in and next to abuse you ...

 

 

Miss Fed Up, Reader's Comment, SCHOOLS IN CRISIS : One-in-four new teachers 'burnt out', Brett Henebery, Home News, the educator, 25 October 2015

A teacher's health problems may be related to work stress.

After more than forty-four years in education, I am retiring because of health problems related to work stress.

 

 

Kooka, Reader's Comment, SCHOOLS IN CRISIS : One-in-four new teachers 'burnt out', Brett Henebery, Home news, The educator, 14 May 2015

The life of a teacher is unhealthy.

I come from a family of teachers and I have watched close family members leave the profession in disillusionment with the system, for various reasons.

What many don't consider is the high number of females, many of them older, who struggle with the unreasonable demands made on them throughout the day.

It is often impossible for teachers to use the bathroom as required, or to sit down and eat a healthy lunch.

Meetings often take place before the school day begins, or at the end of the day.

They then go home to try to complete unfinished work and juggle it with the demands at home and their own personal needs.

Basically, the life that teachers are asked to endure is unhealthy.

The school day for many teachers is one of unrelenting stress and noise.

On top of this, everyday most teachers face a growing number of behaviour problems in their class.

I am amazed that any learning ever takes place in some classes, so great are the needs of various children.

Having to deal with all of these is almost impossible, and combined with feeling constantly under pressure throughout the day to perform as a teacher, and not to be able to pause for a few minutes in your own space, seems to me to be a recipe for disaster for a human being.

A friend has described teaching as being a case of getting up each day, having to perform as a circus clown, being ever ready to pull out another act, in order to try and attract the attention of children who are unengaged and lacking in imagination, from the passive over-use of screens of whatever type, or lack of encouragement at home.

 

 

The needs of teachers should be given much more consideration.  

 

 

LL, Reader's Comment, Teachers are leaving the profession - here's how to make them stay, Merryn McKinnon, The Conversation, 11 Jan 2016

Ageism (and sometimes an "anti-teaching-experience culture") is alive and well in Australian schools.

"Temporary" teachers may work in a school for several years and then find themselves replaced by an inexperienced teacher.

There is a disappointing reason, I believe, behind this all too common practice.

Some senior school executive, especially if they do not have a lot of experience in their own position, prefer to offer the scarce permanent positions, or long term maternity leave relief positions to inexperienced teachers because these teachers will be "yes" people.

A more experienced teacher may not be so compliant and accepting of directions. They may even have some strong opinions on how the needs of particular students should be met, or how best to implement the curriculum.

These opinions may run counter to what senior executive in the school want to happen.

Or even, charitably, because mentoring a young, inexperienced teacher looks good on the senior school executive's CV.

 

 

Another group of disadvantaged new graduates are those who are mature aged - the mums who have helped out in their own children's classrooms for years and then decided, "I'll study to be a teacher".

They may not even get much casual work.

And these mum-teachers are the least mobile.

They can't go chasing permanent positions overseas - or even in rural and remote locations.

 

 

Ageism is alive and well in schools.

In some schools retired teachers who join the ranks of casual teachers are highly valued, but in other schools they are passed over for the younger, more compliant casuals.

All schools need a mix of teaching experience - the new graduates bursting with new ideas and lots of enthusiasm and those teachers with years of experience and the wisdom that comes with that experience.

 

 

EL, Reader's Comment, Should I stay or should I go? The dilemma for unemployed teachers, Misty Adoniou, The Conversation, 7 January 2016

Why do Australian teachers have to move inland for several years to gain a permanent job? Why can't they just work in their local school?

I have frequently seen a much loved but temporary teacher build a good relationship with students, parents and school staff.

But, when the position becomes a permanent position, some unknown and sometimes problematic teacher is appointed from elsewhere, disrupting all of these good relationships.

The good teacher is lost to the school.

Sometimes the new teacher is such a bad fit that parents consider moving schools.

 

Or a teacher is a member of a local, established family but has only ever been casual.

This local teacher cannot ever be considered for a permanent position in their local area unless they agree to uproot their entire family and move inland for several years, then hope to eventually get a position back in their home area.

Teachers from elsewhere are required to move to fill permanent positions that could easily be filled by local teachers, even if they'd rather work where they are.

I really don't understand the convoluted logic of such an education department.

 

Dealing With The Mob explains : Australian education departments do not really need teachers - there is an abundance of unemployed teachers in Australia.

Their real need is for teachers who are willing to work for several years in remote areas.

Very few Australians want to spend years of their lives in the remote areas.

So, to staff the remote schools, the education departments make it a condition of permanent  employment that teachers spend several years in a remote area before they can apply for a transfer back to work in their local area. 

This has made teaching an unattractive job.

So thousands of excess teachers have to be trained, and the entry standards to teaching have had to be lowered, in order to find enough teachers who are willing to work in the remote areas.

 

SG, Reader's Comment, Should I stay or should I go? The dilemma for unemployed teachers, The Conversation, 7 January 2016

30+ years experienced teacher : Principals load up classroom teachers with ridiculous requirements just so they can tick a box on their own resume.

Having recently retired after 30+ years as a teacher, most of it spent in the public system, I have little sympathy for principals.

Most have gone to extraordinary lengths to attain the position.

Many load up their staff with ridiculous requirements so that they can tick a box on their resume.

They bully and lie to staff and surround themselves with sycophants who will automatically do their bidding.

One delightful teacher had taught me. I had the opportunity to work with her many years later.

When asked if, after 40 years of teaching, she could name a principal who she believed should be given the power to hire and fire, she said "no".

Without hesitation.

When principals micro-manage, then complain about workloads, they need to get another job.

Once limited tenure was introduced , most principals I knew were concerned only about their next step up the ladder.

Principals are there to implement departmental policy.

When a principal over-rides staff, citing the best interests of the school, what they really mean is the best interests of their careers.

Think I'm being harsh?

Ask and teacher with a few years of experience.

Many principals I dealt with over the years were constantly on the lookout for the next bandwagon they could jump on to enhance their careers.

Students succeed, in spite of principals, because of the classroom teachers who do their best to interpret the nonsense that often dribbles from above.

If principals find it too hard, don't do it.

However over many years I have observed that it doesn't matter how demanding the job was, somebody would always apply.

Go figure.

 

 

CS, Reader's Comment, Why is being a school principal one of the most dangerous jobs in the country? John Fischetti, Scott Imig, The Conversation, 10 December 2015

Experienced school principal : we are judged on our mistakes, not on our achievements.

I was a school principal for 27 years and without supportive colleagues would not have survived.

The major problem is that the principal is on their own.

There is no backing from anyone on the abusive parent, the decisions on underperformance of staff, providing for the ever-expanding needs of the students with an ever-decreasing budget etc.

The regional offices have been dismantled and you have to soldier on the best you can.

Moreover, you are judged on your mistakes, not your achievements.

Support and professional development including having good mentors available is what is required.

 

RPB, Reader's Comment, Why is being a school principal one of the most dangerous jobs in the country? John Fischetti, Scott Imig, The Conversation, 10 December 2015

Ex-teacher : I am so glad I did not accept a deputy principal job.

I am an ex-teacher.

I am an ''ex'' because I couldn't deal with the 20+ little samples that parents sent to school, their behaviour obviously reflecting what was modeled at home.

I don't blame the kids, too much.

I do blame the almost complete lack of child-rearing ability, lack of ethics, morals, goodwill, humility and empathy of a significant cohort of parents that I encountered at many year levels.

I also blame the concentration camp / Taylorist / militaristic discipline of school's physical, temporal and intellectual environments.

If you want to dragoon and bludgeon, they're an ideal environment to do it in.

I was once offered a deputy principal role, but turned it down.

I am so glad I did.

 

 

MH, Reader's Comment, Why is being a school principal one of the most dangerous jobs in the country? John Fischetti, Scott Imig, The Conversation, 10 December 2015

Principals who bully teachers do not seem to be dealt with effectively, even after many complaints.

Teacher Leila (name changed) began teaching when she was 21.

The deputy principal at her school allegedly withheld information from her, badmouthed her to parents and isolated her.

Then he cornered Leila alone late one afternoon with a false allegation.

He swore at her and called her names like "fat b-tch", "stupid b-tch" and "stupid little girl".

Leila fled in a panic and the deputy principal chased her to her car.

An investigation into the incident found in Leila's favour.

But the deputy principal was not reprimanded or demoted.

He went on to become principal of a large primary school in a major city.

Leila was granted a transfer to a new school to give her a fresh start.

 

 

The new principal knew Leila's story before Leila arrived at the new school.

The new principal had already spoken to her previous deputy principal.

The new principal told Leila that she had made it her mission to vindicate her 'respected colleague'and to have Leila sacked once and for all.

The new principal micromanaged Leila excessively,  enforced impossible workloads and went through her belongings regularly.

Leila became distressed and suicidal.

 

 

When Leila asked for time off for an IVF appointment, her principal told her to choose between having children and teaching.

Leila applied for leave the following year.

The leave was refused.

Leila resigned.

 

 

Leila later discovered that dozens of complaints had already been made concerning her previous principal.

She is shocked at the department's failure of Duty of Care in allowing this behaviour to continue.

 

Dealing With The Mob comments : this story contains elements that would be familiar to Australian teachers : 

The departmental failure to deal with a problem principal - the inappropriate promotions, moving the problem from school to school and destroying the lives of more and more classroom teachers.

The malicious principal-to-principal gossip.

The IVF situation is tricky.

If regular IVF appointments in school time were necessary it would have been difficult for the school to cope.

Teaching is not a flexi-time job.

You are stuck in that classroom all day, every day.

 

Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden,  news.com.au  8 October 2015

Contract teaching - some common problems.

Mature-aged graduate teacher Nina (name changed) was offered a contract with a special education high school.

She loved the work and became the performing arts teacher.

But some things worried her.

The special school was part of a larger school where everyone claimed to value integration.

But there was no integration.

The special education children were ostracised.

Nina did not like the way that the staff treated and handled the children.

 

 

Nina did not like the politics.

There was obvious nepotism - another teacher was employed and quickly offered a full-time contract.

This left Nina with minimal hours.

Nina complained about this nepotism and a number of other issues to the principal.

She was offered a position in the main school's art department.

But Nina had no experience of teaching high school art.

One of the other art teachers told her that if Nina wanted her to mentor her, then the school would have to give her more release time because she was not prepared to do it in her non-interaction time.

Nina felt like a second grade citizen.

This experience, combined  with the lack of consistent work and the exhaustion from constantly "swimming upstream" with no support left Nina feeling that she had no option but to change professions.

 

Dealing With The Mob comments : this is another interesting story that contains several elements that would be familiar to teachers.

Teachers often find themselves teaching a subject that they are poorly qualified to teach.

Teachers have to be prepared to continually do part-time study in new teaching areas.

And you do have to be independent - you can't really expect other teachers to take on the extra load of supporting you.

Those teachers have their own problems - all teachers have to work so hard.

Special education is a huge problem area - the numbers of children with problems are increasing, parents want them to be integrated - but the impact on the average student may be significant because special education students need so much individual attention.

Nepotism - yes, another huge problem.

The principal responded well to Nina's complaints by offering her another position.

Some principals would simply have put Nina into a punishment process.

But in the end the new job was a sort of punishment - some principals have told me that they deliberately move teachers out of their "comfort zone".

They grin when they tell me.

I suspect it is a form of "payback" for classroom teachers who have been "causing problems" by making suggestions, asking questions at staff meetings, etc. 

 

Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden,  news.com.au  8 October 2015

Teachers have to work long hours at home in the evenings.

Within one week of completing her education degree, Jennifer (name changed) was offered a full-time contract as a primary teacher at a large school.

Jennifer was shocked at the workload.

On top of her normal classroom teaching and planning for teaching, she often needed to work for hours in the evenings on administrative tasks.

After just over one year, she gave up the contract.

She tried casual teaching.

Finally she took a receptionist position at a real estate agent's office.

 

Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden,  news.com.au  8 October 2015

Teacher's wife : the union can't help my bullied husband.  More money means nothing if you are in a job that is destroying you.

My husband is another teacher who has been bullied.

He absolutely loves working with the kids but the adults in his workplace make it a living hell.

It is the worst workplace he has ever worked in and despite going to the union about the constant bullying, they can do very little as it is very hard to prove.

We refuse to send our own kids to public schools (not to say private schools are perfect) because we have seen first hand the damage that is being done by extremely poor and unethical management (principals, HODS, mentor teachers).

Sadly, their disgusting behaviour behaviour not only affects the staff but passes on to the children and we have seen first hand the effect it has had on many children.

The education system is a mess and it will take a lot more than simply paying teachers more to change things.

Lots of money means nothing if you are in a job that destroys you.

 

 

Teacher's Wife, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au 8 October 2015

Experienced male teacher : teaching is a thankless job. I can't wait to get out.

The toxic workplaces found in some schools are unbelievable.

This is partly due to teacher stress and poor and weak leadership.

Leaders who require teachers to attend BS meetings about nothing on most afternoons rather than being left alone to prepare for the classroom.

Lazy principals who offer little support to the teachers who are dealing with behavioural issues on the front line.

People in positions of power up the top of the food chain ready to vilify teachers for the sake of their own career.

Thankless job - can't wait to get out.

Not due to the kids but the dipsticks who run the agenda in the school.

 

 

Big Nicky of Happytimes, a male teacher of ten years in both full time and relief positions, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au  8 October 2015

Teacher : Bullying principals wear you down.

As a teacher, there is a bucket-load of non-teaching administrative work done at lunchtime or after hours.

Additionally, I can testify to the bullying that can occur in the workplace - I've had rotten head teachers, deputies and principals and they can wear you down and stress you out.

To survive as a teacher today, you need a partner who you can vent to and help you get a perspective on it all.

Oh, and great patience, for the other staff, not so much the kids.

 

 

Perpetually tired teacher, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au  8 October 2015

Teacher with 40 years experience : young teachers are being worn out with endless, meaningless paperwork.

The children are not the problem.

It is the endless rubbish and meaningless paperwork a teacher has to complete that is wearing young teachers out and scaring them away.

I have taught for the past 40 years and still love the job but can clearly see the anguish the young teachers go through.

Pressure to have endless "rubbish" prepared - which, by the way, does not improve student outcomes one iota.

"Where's this? Where's that?" are the constant badgering these young teachers cop from leadership that run them into the ground and then grind their bones until they push them away.

Would I do it again?

Not on your Life!

I wouldn't put up with the endless, worthless bulldust the admin throw at you.

Once upon a time you could plan a week's work on a couple of A4 pages.

Now ... 13, 14, 15 pages of goals, outcomes, focus statements, learning intentions, assessment for learning, assessment of learning,assessment as ... it goes on and on.

Why are young teachers leaving the classroom?

Blame the admin, the admin, the admin.

Kids have not changed!

 


Tommy, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden,  news.com.au  8October 2015

Teacher's husband : young teachers on contracts are loaded up with work. They cannot refuse because they want a job next year.

My wife is a teacher, the amount of work she has to do outside of school and the lack of support blows my mind.

The education department is broken, they get young teachers on contracts then load them up with no option to say no because that want a job next year.

I also think it's wrong that old teachers retire then go back and teach on contracts and get paid double while young teachers need work.

 

Dealing With The Mob says : I am sure the older teachers would be happy to retire.

Maybe their pensions are so poor that they feel the need to build up some savings while they are still able to work.

Will you have enough savings to retire when you are 65?

Maybe also - given a choice between an inexperienced teacher and an experienced teacher for the same price - principals value their their experience.

One sad aspect of the lack of work for graduate teachers is the resentment and disrespect that some younger teachers seem to feel towards older, more experienced teachers.

 

 

PB, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au  8 October 2015

Ex-teacher : I wanted to change the world.

The difference between what you are taught in uni and what the administration make you do is why I won't go back to teaching.

You come out wanting to change the world and get stuck because the administration won't let you do anything new.

It can be pretty soul destroying.

You need to find a mentor who has the same philosophy as you do to give you support when things look grim.

 

Dealing With The Mob comments :  I think this is an example of the problems caused by uni education departments.

The lecturers tell their students that they are being taught a 'new, better' way to teach and that the more experienced teachers in the schools do not know this 'new, better' way to teach.

Then the younger teachers come out of uni 'wanting to change the world'.

They have no respect for the experience of the older teachers.

This is how the Whole Language weed gained control of the brains of so many Australian teachers in the 1980's and delivered widespread illiteracy to a generation of children.  

 

 

Mimo, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden,  news.com.au  8 October 2015

Primary school teachers are often stressed out, bullied and sleep deprived.

The expectations for primary school teachers are insane!

Four or five hours extra every night would be the norm.

Add to that at least 10-12 hours extra on the weekends - more than that when reports are being written.

Our schools are often manned by stressed out, bullied, sleep deprived devotees who are committed to their craft and their students but are tremendously overworked and taken advantage of by megalomaniac / psychopathic principals looking to impress their superiors and fulfill their desire for power.

 

 

Appalled, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au  8 October 2015

New graduate : getting a permanent teaching job is very difficult.

Getting a permanent job is very difficult.

Unless you teach maths or chemistry you are going to be doing temp or casual work for three or four years before something comes up.

 

 

New Teacher, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden,  news.com.au  8 October 2015

Sack the senior departmental public servants!

Quite frankly, the issue is poor management, right from the top.

How people can be allowed to get into management positions in the first place, and then to not have appropriate governance and oversight in order to pick up their lack of competence, shows incredibly poor planning by senior departmental public servants.

The bad managers should have action taken against them and a massive cultural change needs to occur.

But not only that, the Directors-General and Directors should be removed because they are clearly incapable of -

 

 

a) hiring staff correctly.

b) measuring ongoing performance

c) and taking remedial action.

 

 

I can only despair for the direction teaching is taking, as it leaves me with very little confidence in the system.

This is a great shame because there are many great teachers on the ground, dong an awesome job, but let down by idiots in management.

 

 

Ex-Pat Rob, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au  8 October 2015

Ex-OZ teacher : Do not be totally disheartened - there are many overseas options for Australian teachers - have the courage to explore the world.

I was a teacher just short of ten years in Australia.

I was NEVER full time and every year had to re-apply for my own position.

In the end the admin, workload, hours and distance led me to look elsewhere.

I ended up moving to South East Asia to teach.

I have now been teaching here 14 years and there is NO way I would return to teach in OZ.

Here I have a "rolling" contract (I just sign every two years), great hours, great pay and complete job satisfaction.

It is sad to read about the situation for teachers in OZ now ... but any teacher reading this should not be totally disheartened as there are many options for teachers outside of Australia.

If you have the confidence to explore like I did, you might just find the perfect teaching job.

 

Teacher who left, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au 8 October 2015

Yes, go overseas.

Teach overseas.

There are many kids and families who respect education and teachers.

The pay package often includes rent, travel and other allowances.

You get to live in some great locations.

The opportunities to travel are usually better as well - many International schools have 7-8 week summer vacations.

If you don't like someone, your contract is usually 2-3 years, so you can move elsewhere.

 


 

Jason M. Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au 8 October 2015

Teacher's partner : I was shocked at the difference in professionalism that exists between private industry and teaching.

My partner is a secondary teacher.

I was blown away by the office politics, bullying, power struggles, gossiping and, in general, the unprofessional conduct of the teachers at the first school where my partner worked.

She frequently came home in tears and was so disillusioned that six years of uni could have led to this.

As an engineering graduate, I was shocked at the difference in professionalism that exists between private industry and teaching.

I think many parents would be shocked if they knew what really happens behind closed doors at some schools.

Fortunately her second school (where she now has an on-going position) has been fantastic and she has rediscovered her passion for teaching.

She wants to stay at that school for life.

 

 

Joe the cameraman, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au  8 October 2015

The Department of Education 'bully' teachers.

One of the biggest issues facing teachers is the Department of Education itself and what they require teachers to do to remain 'registered' - it is a form of bullying in its own right.

 

 

Teacher's husband, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden news.com.au  8 October 2015

Teacher : the amount of admin is ridiculous.

The system needs to change.

Data (teach to the test) and money driven.

It is all about making the school look good instead of focussing on the child and real teaching.

The amount of admin is ridiculous.

OH&S means 'fun' experiments or excursions require a massive risk assessment.

 

Debbie, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au 8 October 2015

Teachers are not paid anywhere near enough.

It's all nice to talk about doing something good for the world, having the best intentions and wanting to nurture new generations, but the reality is we do a job to get paid to live and being a teacher doesn't pay ANYWHERE NEAR ENOUGH to keep up with the cost of living.

Why be a teacher when you can just flip real estate and get rich?

Why be a teacher when you'll only afford (if at all) a house three hours commute from work each day?

 

Cost of Living Stupid, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au  8 October 2015

Teacher's partner : My partner was driven into depression. I have spent the last five years picking her up off the floor.

My partner was harassed, threatened with violence and treated like a criminal because students lied about situations.

Parents threatened violence directly.

There was no support from the union delegate or principal.

She was treated like a criminal, was driven into depression and is still having nightmares.

Because of others' lack of professionalism and duty of care they victimised her until she left and I have spent the last five years picking her up off the floor.

She was 'targeted' to be a full time professional teacher by the department.

This industry needs to pull its head out of the sand and work with teachers who can help the Education Department be more efficient and professional.

Teachers need more support and protection.

Panee of EAST COAST AUST, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au 8 October 2015

Experienced teacher : the changes to teachers' superannuation have removed a wonderful incentive to stay in the profession.

Anyone who has been in the profession over the last ten years has witnessed many baby boomers retire on 'old super' - a wonderful incentive to keep them in the profession until the age they wished to retire.

Nowadays we are faced with working until 65 or 70 with little or no incentive to stay in the profession, many teachers without the security afforded to previous generations of permanent employment.

When I entered the profession 20 years ago parents respected and trusted our judgement, now we are seen as lazy babysitters who long for the next school holidays.

I do my best to encourage anyone I speak to not to enter such a socially ostracised 'profession' where one has to justify one's working conditions on an almost daily basis.

For the record, I scored 96.2 in my HSC and chose to do teaching.

While I still love it, there have been many changes over the years which have led to reduced job satisfaction among colleagues and difficult clientele to deal with.

Most of us are here to make a difference, which is why we don't abandon ship and 'get out' as we are so often encouraged to do!

 

Corinne of South Coast, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au  8 October 2015

Ex-teacher : eventually the bad days outweighed the good days and that's when I left the profession.

The reality is the stress and workload placed on teachers is far more demanding than most people realise.

As a former teacher who lasted 7 years on the job, I was lucky to have extremely supportive staff around me but the amount of time consumed with disciplinary issues and administration left little time to do anything else.

There will probably never be anything as satisfying as having an ex-student saying thank-you for influencing them in a positive way.

Eventually, however, the bad days outweighed the good days and that's when I left the profession.

The thing that I question about the industry is Institute of Teachers registration.

Why do teachers need to pay for the privilege of teaching?

Registration is important but asking teachers to foot the bill is harsh.

I now work in the hospitality industry and important things like First Aid Certificates are paid for by the company, not the employee.

Also I moved interstate in 2008 and was informed that my registration did not transfer across because "the NSW standards were not equivalent to QLD".

More funding and administration assistance is needed for all teachers.

To all teachers, thank you and keep up the great work.

 

SeaChange, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au, 8 October 2015

School administrators hold all the power in the school while losing contact with the reality of the classroom.

The problem with school administrators is that they have never worked in the real world.

Classroom teachers are promoted to become administrators.

The longer they work, the less they teach and the more they get paid as a co-ordinator.

They have no idea what the real professional world is about.

They have to deal with student problems out of their depth.

They have no capacity to support teachers' well-being.

They hold all the power in the school - at a time when they lose touch with the practical elements of their profession.

 

Andrea, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au 8 October 2015

Experienced teacher : Once upon a time you would get one student who was causing concern in the classroom, now you get several.

I have worked as a tradesman and now as a teacher in a high school.

I see teachers leaving because of student behaviour and classroom discipline issues.

I can put up with a grumpy head teacher or back-stabbing principal, but when you have to spend so much time on other issues beside teaching it runs you down.

I have seen young teachers in tears after stepping in to a classroom and sometimes question my own ability after years of teaching.

I believe it is the breakdown of the family that has caused so many problems with students as well as the way that parents see the importance of education for their children.

Once upon a time you would get one student who was causing concern in the classroom, now you get several.

Supporting the teachers would solve many problems, but if you look at the departmental policies, it is all one-sided.

Maybe I should get out and go back on the tools but I made the decision to teach and stick it out.

 

Keith, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, news.com.au , 8 October 2015

We need to fix the problems with the promotion system in Australian schools.

Educational management in Asia and Europe is far superior to Australia, where failed teachers are "promoted" to administration and management.

As a teacher, I never worked under a principal / manager whose qualifications equalled, let alone exceeded my own.

Some were unqualified and were in their positions due to cronyism, i.e. mates in the bureaucracy.

It is absurd that the least qualified people can be running education - but that has been the pattern for decades in Australia.

 

Alex, Reader's Comment, Hard work, not money, key to educational success, Natasha Bita, The Australian, 5 November 2015

Experienced teacher : We do not select or train our educational leaders effectively.

There are numerous causes of teachers stress but one that never seems to be addressed is bad management.

Given equivalent settings, the difference between a well-run school and a badly run school on teacher stress is enormous.

There are numerous reasons why schools end up being badly managed - incompetence, short-term careerism among senior staff, high staff turnover, unresolved conflict and so on.

For me, having survived some truly appalling situations over the years, involving school closures and the ultimate sacking of a principal, the only possible conclusion is that we do not train or select our educational leaders effectively.

 

Laurie McGinness, Reader's comment, The emotional workload of teachers is too often ignored, Jean Hopman, Pat Drake, The Conversation, 6 October 2015

Some horrific Australian school principals regard the destruction of a well-qualified teacher as a triumph.

There are some woeful school principals around who go out of their way to pull down and destroy outstanding teachers.

Why? Who knows.

Incompetence, jealousy, nothing to stop them doing so, no reward for rewarding the best teachers as opposed to mates ... these are all potential factors.

Some of the most gifted teachers I saw in decades of experience were hounded out by truly horrific school principals and their cronies, who viewed the destruction of a great teacher as a triumph.

Most of these outstanding teachers had higher degrees and every quality to recommend them as great educators.

Student outcomes and feedback were excellent, which seemed to stir lesser-performers in management and the staffroom to their destructive actions.

I have never heard of this happening in Europe but American research has shown similar problems there.

Ultimately, if a society cannot organise the actual system to be functional and free of fools abusing their patch of power, it does not deserve the best available teachers.

It is disgraceful that highly competent, well-qualified, outstanding educators are abused like this, with their own health put at risk by working in a system that is never under the spotlight for the atrocious conduct that can occur within it, and then be hidden away by imposed confidentiality.

 

Alex, Reader's Comment, Top ATAR scores don't necessarily mean top teachers, Kevin Donnelly, The Australian, 10 October 2015

Australian teacher : During the past ten years I have seen the vast majority of my peers thrown to the wolves at one stage or another.

Australian teachers are abandoning their 'profession' because of the way they are treated by bureaucrats who have systematically disempowered them in the classroom, stripped them of resources and insist on st-ffing around with curriculum every couple of years to stamp their own ideology on society.

It is also about abuse from parents and students who think teachers have sole responsibility for teaching, when in reality teaching is a partnership requiring an active contribution from parents and students. 

Australian teachers are dealing with a ludicrous system that places all responsibility on teachers and none on students.

Students can't 'fail' or be kept back a grade because it is 'bad for their self esteem'.

Utter drivel.

I have been in this profession for well over a decade, came from a professional self-employed background prior to teaching, and have seen the vast majority of my peers thrown to the wolves at one stage or another.

The emotional toll is a symptom of a dysfunctional system on all levels.

In a given week, a teacher gets approximately six minutes dedicated time to an individual student - and that is provided every other student in the class is working.

Finally, we have our glorious leaders and academics who continually treat us with the same tripe that 'standards are improving'.

They are not, period.

Thirty years ago, virtually every student left school literate and numerate.

That as sure as h-ll is not the case today.

 

Rom Spingall, Reader's Comment, The emotional workload of teachers is often ignored, Jean Hopman, Pat Drake, The Conversation, 6 October 2015

Teacher's son : Teaching is a tough gig.

My father, a high school teacher, retired early from his job because of stress.

My sister, a former primary school teacher, quit the profession because she was getting stressed.

Teachers are under pressure from everywhere - students, parents, co-workers, the principal, the government and the general public.

It is a tough gig.

 

Andrew McIntosh, The emotional workload of teachers is too often ignored, Jean Hopman, Pat Drake, The Conversation, 6 October, 2015

Teacher's wife : Many Australian secondary teachers do not feel safe at work.

My husband recently studied to be a secondary teacher but couldn't face applying for a job, after experiencing traumatic training placements at schools where the students were out of control.

He felt more like a policeman than a facilitator of learning.

And this despite everyone we knew saying what a fantastic teacher he would make.

He is but one loss to the student body.

I know of many, many more ex-teachers.

Maslow theorised that feeling safe is a basic premise for people to be in a space where they can grow and develop - but many teachers in our public secondary schools cannot feel safe.

Add to that the low pay, low status, increasing red tape, declining student mental health, increasing parental aggression and insecure work - and why would our best and brightest ever become , or stay as, teachers?

 

Anneliese Ford, Reader's Comment, The emotional workload of teachers is too often ignored, Jean Hopman, Pat Drake, The Conversation, 6 October 2015

Teachers burn out because a) there is no limit to the work and b) because teaching standards are so vaguely conceived.

There are no technical limits to the amount of time you can spend in teaching work.

The bell at the beginning and the end of the day delineates the 'public' part of the job, but there is no bell for the rest of the work.

This, and the fact that there is no agreed tradition of what constitutes 'good' or 'good enough' teaching leads to excessive demands on the self.

You can't fall back on legal precedent like lawyers or medical best practice like doctors.

Teaching standards are vaguely conceived.

So you can always prepare more thoroughly, assess more carefully, give more time to extra curricula activities, etc.

It is not surprising that the teachers who 'burn out' and become 'dead wood' have often started their careers with huge promise.

 

Alastair Dow, Reader's Comment, The emotional workload of teachers is often ignored, Jean Hopman, Pat Drake, The Conversation, 6 October 2015.

High school teacher in the humanities :  the workload, the pressure, the contempt.

If you are a high school teacher in the humanities, and teach 5 or 6 classes, you might end up with a holiday where you have 24x5 classes worth of essays to mark.

At half an hour per student (to give decent feedback), that is 60 hours of marking.

And because of the school's policies around when assignments are handed out and how much notice students must have, it is impossible to stagger this workload.

Summative assessment 3x per semester =180 hours.

Some holiday.

Pressure about student performance, endless moderation which seems more like an endless justification of your own professional judgement, having to have every assessment task 'approved' by someone else, school's modifying and reinventing to suit a National Curriculum which is supposed to offer flexibility but is delivered blindly and prescriptively ...

And sheer contempt for the professionalism of the teacher on all fronts.

Why would anyone leave?

Catherine Jean-Krista, Reader's Comment, The emotional workload of teachers is too often ignored, Jean Hopman, Pat Drake, the Conversation, 6 October 2015

Excellent, experienced teachers advise promising prac teaching students to find another career.

One of the saddest things is when enthusiastic, promising prac students are told by excellent, experienced teachers to find a different career.

This isn't going to change till the status of teachers changes.

Sadly, I can't see this happening in the near future.

Teachers and schools are held responsible for so many of society's issues.

As long as teachers are a societal scapegoat, stress levels will continue to rise.

Tess Writer, Reader's Comment, The emotional workload of teachers is too often ignored, Jean Hopman, Pat Drake, The Conversation, 6 October 2015

Teacher's husband : teachers are spending 80% of their time dealing with 20% of their students.

My wife was a schoolteacher and taught in both the public and private sectors.

She made the decision to stick with the private sector due to the rampant social and behavioural issues in the public sector.

Public sector teachers are spending 80% of their time dealing with 20% of the students and as such the other students suffer.

Teachers go into teaching to teach, not to be pseudo social workers or behavioural psychologists.

Teachers in the private sector get support for behavioural issues by simply putting much of the solution back on the parents.

If poor behaviour persists, then students are simply asked to leave.

 

CBE Reader's Comment, Public School students twice as likely to be bullied as private school pupils, Eryk Bagshaw, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2015

Teachers are bullied at work. It is endemic in the education system.

Bullying is endemic in education workplaces, particularly in the state sector.

Children cannot help but pick up on it.

When will the media take education workplace bullying seriously and investigate the causes, not just report on the symptoms?

 

Teacher, Reader's comment, Public school students twice as likely to be bullied as private school pupils, Eryk Bagshaw, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 1015

Let Australian state school principals remove the violent, anti-social students from their schools.

The government makes it near impossible for schools to expel students who wreck lesson after lesson and make other students feel like dirt.

The biggest improvement to Australian state schools could happen overnight if the government let principals remove the violent, anti-social, drug addicted morons from their schools.

Endless second chances won't teach anything to students who misbehave.

 

GAZ, Reader's comment, Public school students twice as likely to be bullied as private school pupils, Eryk Bagshaw, the Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2015

Primary teacher : People don't realise how hard we work.

I am a primary school teacher and I have been teaching for four and a half years.

Teaching is a very demanding job.

I am at school from 8am to 4pm (at least) every day.

I am involved in running extra curricular activities two lunch times a week and I have three playground duties a week so I don't actually have a day where I have a full lunch break.

There's rarely an evening when I come home from work and don't do some sort of school work and I usually work over the weekend.

I spend most of my holidays preparing work for the next term.

The only holidays that I don't spend nearly every day at my computer are the five weeks over Christmas.

Would you consider yourself on holidays if you had a pile of work you were expected to complete in that time?

It's really more like working from home.

I get very offended when people call teachers lazy.

There isn't a day I don't go home exhausted and it is upsetting to put so much effort in and feel like people don't appreciate how hard you work and how much you care.

 

Gabrielle

 

Reader's Comment, No school jobs available for thousands of trained teachers throughout NSW schools , Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 8 July 2014

Independent school teacher : to get experience, I had to work in a country area and commute back to town each week-end to see my husband.

I've been working as a teacher full time for 12 years in three different schools.

I've been at an independent school for 10 years.

I work six days a week as I have Saturday sport.

I'm at my desk before 7.00am and I'm lucky if I'm home before 5.30pm.

My 'holiday' so far has consisted of writing programs, marking assessments and annotating novels that I'm teaching next term.

The "holiday" is that I get to do it in my comfy clothes!

When I first started teaching I had a job out in the country.

My husband was in hospital pretty much weekly.

I commuted four hours on a Monday and Friday so I could be with him at the same time that I got much needed teaching experience.

 

Rebecca

 

Reader's Comment, No school jobs available for thousands of teachers throughout NSW schools , Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 8 July 2014

Ex-teacher in the Catholic system : students make false claims against male teachers. Don't believe it will never happen to you.

There needs to be more support for male teachers when a student makes false claims against them.

Only those who've been through such an ordeal can understand the terrible stigma that results.

Students (and their families) can make up these claims for a myriad of reasons.

At present IF these false claims are found to be such, very little (if any) ramifications follow for the students making the false claims, yet the teacher's life is never the same.

 

Later comment:

I had been a hard-working Catholic Education teacher in the area of early childhood for 15 years.

I loved my job and put in so many hours.

One vexacious complaint coming from a dysfunctional family put an end to all that.

I'd heard of such complaints being made, but wrongly thought it would never happen to me.

Once the complaint was made, again I errantly believed the truth would be revealed and this false allegation would be seen for what it was.

Cath Ed put their hands up with absolutely no support.

Being an active member of the union (I was the school union rep at that time) meant nothing as they just extorted money for very little effort.

After I'd exhausted over $80,000, I was forced to plead guilty to something I never did.

(Editor: This seems really odd. If anybody can explain how a teacher could be forced to plead guilty to something they had not done, I'd like to hear from them. dealingwiththemob@badapplebullies.com )

People can make judgements without all the facts, and that really hurts.

I now know the family who made their absurd allegations only did so to claim a "quick buck" through an undeserved compensation.

What was most upsetting was that reports proved the child had been coached, yet I was financially too crippled to take this any further.

My warning to all male teachers is : don't believe it will never happen to you and know that both the system and the union will do nothing to assist you if a false complaint is made.

It is a truly soul-destroying experience to go through.

 

Troy.

Reader's comment, Looming shortage in maths and physics as male teachers age  ,Brittany Vonow, The Courier-Mail, 11 March 2015

Brisbane Boys' College teacher Tony Chittenden - devastated to be booted out of work at 64.

Teacher Tony Chittenden served with distinction at Church of England Grammar for 31 years.

Then, 11 years ago, he moved to Brisbane Boys' College.

Mr Chittenden was head of the middle school and a member of the executive at the elite College.

But now he has mysteriously "disappeared".

Officially he is on sick leave.

But he will not be returning to the college and the rest of the staff do not know why.

All records of Mr Chittenden's role at Brisbane Boys' College have been deleted from the Brisbane Boys' College website.

Mr Chittenden would not comment on the situation.

But sources close to Mr Chittenden allege that he was struggling after losing the confidence of headmaster Graeme McDonald who was planning to demote him.

Mr Chittenden had been invited to reapply for the position of middle school head - but he had been warned that he would not get the job.

Mr Chittenden was facing a salary drop of $46,000 by being "redeployed" as a teacher.

Some teachers believe that Mr Chittenden, 64, was booted out simply because he was too old.

"Tony is devastated. He only had a year to go," one teacher said.

 

 

The vanishing schoolmaster, Des Houghton, P.35, The Courier-Mail, 8 November 2014

Teacher :  teaching is a dangerous and even ruinous job in Australia.

It is the quality - or otherwise - of the local administration that will decide your fate as a teacher.

Remember teaching is renowned for bullying workplaces.

Nothing kills a teacher's career more quickly than bullying, especially if he /she is an outstanding, well-qualified teacher, with solid achievements, stuck in a milieu where tall poppy teachers are despised by some (or many) staff and brought down.

This is particularly so when cultures are able to become entrenched with the same decision-makers and managers in the same roles for decades.

I have seen one such environment in action, with some brilliant teachers bullied mercilessly and forced out, never to teach again.

Their students were devastated.

I actually saw a very capable teacher with a higher degree forced out while an unqualified teacher-mate of the manager stayed employed although he had non-stop student complaints.

Merit?

On its head!

Taxpayers say they want quality teachers, but there are many people in the system who do not want quality teachers.

And quality teachers have no protection when they are attacked.

This is what makes teaching such a dangerous and, too often, ruinous job in Australia.

Most other countries would not stand for such a waste of human ability and training.

Unbelievably, the state government here (seems to be Victoria) will always fight a teacher, no matter how unjustly.

This plays right into the hands of the above-mentioned lynching of teachers whose abilities stand out in a hostile workplace - where nobody is allowed to exceed the manager's low level qualifications, etc.

A teacher.

 

Reader's Comment, Jan Wositzky : I sympathise with the teacher awarded compensation last week The Age, 11 September 2014 

Teacher : It is a club.

What the teacher above has to say reflects my own experience.

Teacher quality, experience - particularly in other jobs - and qualifications have nothing to do with how well or how advanced you become as a teacher in the public system.

It's a club.

If you're not in, you're an outcast.

 

Dr Phil

Reader's Comment, Jan Wositzky : I sympathise with the teacher awarded compensation last week, The Age, 11 September 2014

Ex-teacher : The school you teach at will decide your fate as a teacher.

My teaching qualification should have included being a security guard, self defence and handling weapons.

Having a thorough understanding of curriculum and teaching and learning pedagogies was useless.

Ultimately, the school you teach at and the number of challenging classes you get will decide your fate as a teacher.

I got out after being physically attacked by a 16 year old off his head on amphetamines.

Definitely not the job for me.

 

Reader's Comment, Jan Wositzky : I sympathise with the teacher awarded compensation last week, The Age, 11 September 2014 

Teacher : Principals and deputies need to work harder for the large sums of money they are paid.

I'm glad the Werribee teacher was recently awarded 1.2 million dollars.

Shame it was not more and shame it doesn't happen more often.

Maybe then education departments would start to shift the power balance away from bleeding heart parents and unruly kids back to teachers.

I am not advocating the cane at all, just more power back to the classroom teachers who are trying to do a job.

I am a teacher and I don't take rubbish from unruly kids.

If they try it, they are punished.

Like in real society, if you break the rules, you are punished.

I see some teachers struggle and it's a shame that school principals and deputies do not stand up for their staff adequately.

They need to work harder for the large sums of money they are paid because, from what I can see, it's teachers on the front lines while the deputies and principals sit in an office.

If schools had more power to remove problem students from classrooms and into another setting, grades would rise across the country.

 

Flatlander

Reader's comment : Jan Wositzky : I sympathise with the teacher awarded compensation last week, The Age, 11 September 2014.

Ex-teacher : I had chairs thrown at me. I got out of teaching.

I was a high school teacher for seven years and got out.

I had chairs thrown at me, was verbally abused and had this one student who I will never forget ...

The principal saying ... "his file needs to be about this thick before we can do anything. Hang in there and keep filing out these incident forms."

What a joke!

The system needs to change.

Christine Antoniadou

 

https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/posts/10153230056469988

Every day. Being verbally abused. It is very draining.

Every day.

Dealing with the same drama patterns.

Being verbally abused every lesson.

Constantly watching for trigger situations.

Dealing with constant mood swings or emotional baggage from earlier in the day(or previous days).

It is very draining - no matter how "good" you are as a teacher.

Michelle Pacey

 

https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/posts/10153230056469988

School admin respond to complaints from students or parents far more readily than they respond to a complaint by a teacher.

I haven't recommended teaching as a career for the last two decades.

Students and parents know their "rights" but don't always acknowledge the "right" of a teacher to simply do the job of teaching.

The workload has increased beyond belief.

 And admin responds to complaints from students or parents far more readily than a complaint by a teacher.

Merryl Yet Foy 

 

https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/posts/10153230056469988

Retired teacher : I would never recommend teaching as a career to anyone.

I am a retired teacher.

These days a teacher can be sued for even raising their voice to a child.

Since discipline is impossible, respect is completely absent.

I would never recommend teaching as a career to anyone.

 

Aileen May 

https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/posts/10153230056469988

Ex-teacher : it is not just the abhorrent behaviour, it is the complete lack of support.

As a person who has spent a fair bit of time in public high schools, but will never teach in one again, my view is it's not just about the abhorrent behaviour but also the complete lack of support from above.

It's such a terrible shame to see the profession lose so many smart young graduates each year.

Guy Jill Wood

 

 https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/posts/10153230056469988

If you really want good teachers you need to fix teachers' awful working conditions.

We can have the debate about "teacher quality" -

* when teachers are given proper jobs, not contracts that bar many from applying for housing loans;

* when salaries come close to matching those of education department bureaucrats;

* when school cleanliness and fittings are as good as those of the nearest McDonalds;

* when seeking support is not regarded as weakness;

* when the awfulness of the job for many is admitted and understood;

* and when you can admit to being a teacher without seeing looks of contempt or pity.

 

Rob Barden, Letter to the Editor, p.6, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 2-3 August 2014.

 

Mature-aged entrant to teaching : the system is very sick indeed.

I spent three years teaching as a mature-age entrant and concluded that the system was very sick indeed.

With children outnumbering teachers about 30 to one in the classroom, there is nothing a teacher can do if a significant number of children decide to disrupt the lesson.

 

Claire Pain, Letter to the Editor, p.6, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 2-3 August 2014.

Ex-teacher - I packed up my desk and left.

Being on the receiving end of deeply insulting remarks from students and parents on a daily basis took a toll on my health.

On the brink of a nervous breakdown, I packed up my desk and left.

Playground bullying gets a lot of attention but the bullying of teachers is just as prevalent.

 

 

Jean Kenny, Letter to the Editor, p.6, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 2-3 August 2014.

I taught for more than thirty years. It was a shocker of a job.

It's simple really, you can't get talented people to do a horrible job.

 

First and foremost, relentless negativity in our community is directed at teachers.
 
I taught for 30 plus years in the public secondary system and would never let on I was a teacher to casual acquaintances.
 
Imagine what the negativity of many parents produces in the way of recalcitrant students; mindless opposition to anything seen as intellectual and if you were not on your game, classroom behaviour more akin to a tribe of savages.
 
Have you ever been to Bali?
 
Everywhere you see the products of this cullture, bogan Aussies in their uniform of Bali Bintang singlet, tatts and either a shaved head or a rats' tail haircut and that is both men and women.
 
Imagine what it is like to teach them!
 
 
Secondly, teachers are their own worst enemies in giving away many conditions in return for a piddling pay rise.
 
In the end we had more extra classes and our time wasted in useless meetings which were seen as a productivity trade-off.
 
Less time to do more work leads to incredible stress.
 
 
Lastly the subsidising if private schools led to a reduction in your solid B and C students.
 
I'm not criticising parents, they rightly sent their kids to schools with a better environment - the problem is the public schools are left with the dross.
 
 
Now at least I could retire at 55.
 
Consider anyone seriously looking at a career in the public education system.
 
We are basically saying it's a shocker of a job and you are going to have to do it everyday for the next forty years.
 
Graduates are rightly saying NO THANKS!
 
 

Kel, Reader's Comment, Teacher entry ranking tumbles, Benjamin Preiss and Craig Butt, 18 January 2013 Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/data-point/teacher-entry-ranking-tumbles-20130117-2cwb5.html#ixzz2j281DDZI

I studied teaching as a mature student. I worked for one year. I have not worked in teaching since.

I completed a graduate diploma after an arts degree as a mature aged student.
 
I am in my early 50s.
 
I secured my first and only teaching job back in early 2010 at a school that had a reputation of the kids being difficult because of the socio/economics.
 
Sure, there were problems from time to time, but I had a wonderful time and enjoyed working with my students immensely.
 
My first contract was for just one term and then I secured a second contract that took me to the end of the year.
 
I had done my work well, the staff I worked with got along and everything seemed pretty good, so I half expected that I would be top of the pile for the following year's offering.
 
Sadly, this was not the case.
 
In the following year I applied for heaps of jobs, including ones that came up at my "old" school.
 
I got two interviews in that time (none at the old school).
 
I have not worked in teaching since.
 
All the jobs have gone to young lads (under 35s).
 
So, I've gone back to 'civilian' work.
 
But I loved teaching.

 

Robyn, Reader's Comment, Teacher entry ranking tumbles, Benjamin Preiss and Craig Butt, 18 January 2013 Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/data-point/teacher-entry-ranking-tumbles-20130117-2cwb5.html#ixzz2j281DDZI

Teachers have their lives destroyed by children's 'silly pranks'.

This is an example of how easily a teacher's health and career can be destroyed by a child's 'silly prank'.

The child then walks away and hardly remembers the incident.

 

On March 4, 2009, Mooroopna Secondary College teacher Suzanne May Tyson, 54, was teaching in the library when then 16-year-old student Adam Tyler Dorsett held a replica gun to her head in close proximity.

Ms Tyson believed the $2 plastic gun pointed at her was real.

Adam Dorsett pulled the trigger.

After pulling the trigger, Mr Dorset fled from the library.

But then he returned and verbally threatened the terrified teacher.

 

Suzanne Tyson allegedly suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression as a result of the incident, and has been unable to return to work.

She claims that the incident rendered her incapable of any employment, perhaps indefinitely.

 

Ms Tyson had been employed as a full-time leading teacher at the central Victorian school since 1992.

She earned $72,000 a year.

Ms Tyson is claiming loss of earnings - either with the school or in alternative full-time employment - and superannuation.

 

She claims the school was negligent or breached the duty of care owed to her by failing to provide a safe workplace, adequate security or responding sufficiently to the incident.

 

Adam Dorsett, now 19, was unaware of the legal proceedings when approached by the Herald Sun on 17 February 2013.

The Shepparton labourer said it was a stupid prank involving a toy gun that went wrong.

"I'm really sorry for what I did - I was 16 and stupid," Mr Dorsett said.

"I thought it was a prank, just a funny joke."

He said he didn't want to talk about the incident in further detail because he did not want to get himself in trouble.

It is believed Mr Dorsett was expelled from the school following the incident.

 

The case will be heard by a judge in the Victorian Supreme Court.

 

Teacher sues Education Department, ex-pupil over toy gun prank, Emily Portelli, Katie Bice, The Herald Sun, 18 February 2013 :      http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/teacher-sues-education-department-ex-pupil-over-toy-gun-prank/story-fnat79vb-1226579818092

I left teaching and went back to my old job - where no-one tells me to F--- Off.

It takes more than great marks to be a great teacher.

I graduated in the top 10 per cent of the state in my HSC many years ago, and achieved HDs in all subjects in my Education Grad Dip, and this did not help me one iota in dealing with the reality of classroom teaching.

I taught for four years, mainly in disadvantaged areas as a casual teacher, taking on short "postings" where available.

As a casual, you aren't offered mentoring at all.

You have to stumble your way through it all yourself, which is extremely difficult in the face of student behaviours you wouldn't believe until you see them yourself.

The support I was offered was zero.

The expectation is that you just suck it up.

Well, after four years, I concluded it just wasn't worth the effort.

I returned to my former occupation on similar money for much less stress.

And no one ever tells me to F--- Off.

 

PG, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 12 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

I discovered that I was not emotionally committed to the teaching profession.

I taught in schools just long enough to realise that I'd be damned if I was going to take a crushing work load home everyday and suck on 0.6 FTE for G-d knows how many years whilst, as a male, having my every move double-plus scrutinized for what, at the end of the day, was a job that involved a large amount of 'crowd control'.

......Clearly I'm not 'emotionally committed' to the 'profession' (what a joke) - anyone who is could arguably be eligible to be 'committed' to another kind of 'institution'

 

Mad Mike, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 12 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

 

My wife has to deal with students who physically and verbally abuse their teachers.

High school teaching in many schools requires teachers to manage aggressive and vicious opposition from substantial proportions of students in each class.

In the final school at which my wife worked, at the end of a long and extremely successful high school teaching career, she regularly encountered verbal and physical harassment, including assault, from male and female students.

The school's senior staff totally failed to provide any form of support to my wife or take action against the abusive students.

High school teaching is often a nightmare.

Attracting high quality young people to enter this confronting environment is difficult.

Keeping them there is even harder.

Unless we grasp the nettle of attacking the physical and verbal abuse by students of their teachers, we will continue to find it hard to staff our schools with the best young minds.

 

Raskul, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 12 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

We are also under a lot of pressure in the private system. After 14 years, I'm tired.

Please spare a thought for us secondary teachers in the private system.

The pressure is ever present, not only from fee paying parents but from management also.

After 14 years I am tired .

The expectations of what a teacher encompasses are becoming far too great.

 

Tired, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 12 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

 

I know why smart women do not want to be teachers.

Playground duty at my school, to be done by teachers in their break times, is around 90 minutes a week for a full time teacher.

Every teacher.

Classroom temperatures in summer exceed 40C.

Metal walls hot to the touch as I try my best to teach 30 students.

I am told aircon will never be provided or allowed as our schools must be environmentally friendly.

Enormous after school hours workload, weekends rarely free even for a few hours, holidays always used to plan and prepare lessons, make equipment (which I usually pay for) and clean my classroom.

If teachers had time to teach well, in tolerable conditions and adequate support, Australia would spend less in the future on welfare and prisons.

I fully understand why bright graduates would choose other careers - with tolerable conditions, pay and status.

Smart girls, especially.

 

Mezze, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

Teachers are 'looked into' when they make 'too many' behaviour reports.

I work in a school where there is too much emphasis placed on negotiating with students by administration rather than actually enforcing consequences for poor behaviour.

It is all too difficult and statistically it looks bad for admin to have too many suspensions.

In fact teachers are being looked into when they make too many behaviour reports.

Where is the accountability for the students?

All this attitude is doing is hiding an increasing cohort of students who believe it is their right to do and act as they please.

This is exactly the reason I am planning my career away from the classroom and into curriculum development.

 

Kate, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

 

We refer to new teachers in the big secondary schools as "cannon fodder".

I am a state school secondary teacher working in a programme for 15 to 18 year olds who have dropped out from, or been excluded from, mainstream schools.

As you can imagine, they are a varied and interesting mob.

We refer to new teachers in the big secondary schools as 'cannon fodder'as they are thrown over the trenches in the worst of the big state schools.

Their enthusiasm and talent are wasted in the face of ridiculous and unsupported teaching placements into appalling schools.

It would be far better to place experienced teachers into these difficult schools, then REWARD and RESOURCE them appropriately.

All of society would benefit and we could stop wasting the talent of new graduates.

 

Jill, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

 

Secondary teachers need more release time when they have students who are still at the primary level in their classes.

Smaller class sizes are needed in more challenging schools and there is a need for more release time for new teachers.

I would also argue that more release time is needed if you are teaching a high school class with students who are still at the primary level in it, as you are essentially teaching 2-3 classes in the same room.

When you have multiple classes like that, having a "full load" is detrimental to student and teacher well-being.

It is worth noting that being academically bright is not always conductive to teaching these kids.

I achieved high marks at university and sometimes think I have to work harder to meet these kids on their level than teachers who come from a less academic background.

It is strange after four years in the academic work to find yourself having to learn how to speak in shorter sentences using a more limited vocabulary.

 

Teacher, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

There should be a freeze on training new teachers till all existing education graduates have been employed.

I am a very well qualified beginning teacher (in the top 15% of graduates) in the Humanities (English/History SOSE) but I have only been offered short-term replacement contracts.

A lot of new teachers are disillusioned because we were duped by the Labor Govt into believing that there is a "teacher shortage" (To Quote Ms Gillard).

Only in Science/Maths/Trades!

Because of the GFC many older teachers in the Humanities have not retired, as the Govt projected, resulting in a large pool of un(under)employed teachers - especially in humanities.

There should be a freeze on training new teachers until all exiting graduates/new teachers have been employed.

But the teacher unions wouldn't like that because it reduces their power base.

Also, the AEU isn't supporting teachers by standing up for them and saying that it isn't the teachers who are a problem, its the quality of student that is the problem.

Teachers cannot solve all the social problems evident in today's society like drug addiction, dysfunctional families, technology addiction, recalcitrance and the 'blame everyone else' mentality.

No amount of money in schools or teacher 'testing' will solve this.

Anyway, what do a teacher's social activities/interests have to do with their teaching standard?

A sceptic would say that is just a way to ensure that future teachers are 'leftist' minded (only those who help the so-called 'disadvantaged', donate money overseas etc will be accepted into teaching).

Here's a novel idea: How about testing the aptitude of potential school students before entering primary school and high school to check that THEY have a real commitment to learning?

Maybe we could also test parents to confirm that they are supportive of their child's learning?

Nooooo that would lead to an educated society which is not what a socialist government wants.

Easier to blame the teacher and cull them till the Labor government gets the educators it wants.

 

The Teachers are Alright, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

My brothers are teachers. They get barely enough time to eat during their breaks.

I have brothers who teach.

They get barely enough time to eat as their breaks are always interrupted or they are required to work through them.

They do unpaid after hours coaching, preparing lessons, detentions, marking, research and setting homework.

My own children have suffered the anxiety of having various teachers throughout the year, making consistency in lessons/homework a rare thing.

Teachers need to be given more permanent work and allowed to build up experience.

They need far more support staff as they deal with a greater cross section of society and far more sources of information than any of us ever imagined.

One area they need relief is in the disciplinary side.

It is far more complex than the Fear Factor we grew up with.

Schools should have security/social officers trained in juvenile law.

The disruptive children would be sent to them and the teachers can get on with the work they were trained to do.

 

stj911 : Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

Teacher's Aide : The three teachers at my small regional school have to prepare for more than one grade level across all disciplines.

I work as an aide in a small regional school of under eighty students.

The teachers at my school are very capable and experienced and include university medalists.

At the beginning of the year enrolments were low, so only three classes comprising multiple grades, were formed.

This required all teachers to prepare for more than one grade level, across all the disciplines the students are taught - such as math, literacy, HSIE art, etc.

In essence, they have to deliver two teachers, work, simultaneously.

Of the children attending the school, there are four students with autism, two others with other 'spectrum' disorders, several children with marked speech problems, at least two with Oppositional Defiance Disorder, plus a raft of children with emotional, behavioural and learning issues, most of whom don't qualify for any special assistance.

To add to the stresses our teachers face, the school has been broken into on at least five occasions with property damage.

 

Teacher's Aide, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

We need private schools. They offer better value-for-taxpayers-money than public education.

I am a young teacher with an ATAR of above 98 and first class honours.

I struggled immensely in my first year, at times due to the behaviour of my disadvantaged students, but at other times due to bullying from other staff.

I have learnt how to deal with both issues now.

Time after time I see disengaged students disrupting the learning of other students.

I am all for segregating these students, as unpopular as that idea may be, as I believe that their issues need a different approach than what is often possible to take in mainstream classrooms.


Also, private education is essential.

If all the students currently attending private schools were to enrol in public schools it would be a complete disaster.

Government funding would not even begin to cover it.

Private education is far better value-for-money (in terms of money the Government spends) education than the current public education system.

 

Emma, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

Teaching can break your heart.

The drone of insults being thrown at the teaching profession is wearing down the morale of those willing to do this job.

You would think that teaching is some sort of highly prized profession, given the way the government wants to make it harder and harder to get into.

Lets face it, those who choose teaching know that it can break your heart.

Regardless of your literacy and numeracy levels, or how much passion you have - teaching in this day and age, can simply wear you down and burn you out.

I'm a high achiever, I achieved an ATAR equivalent to 95.

I worked in a management roles in my 20's and early thirties, but decided to train as a teacher in my mid thirties to fit in with my family commitments.

 

On one level, I can say I have loved teaching, on the other, I have had to find my own inner strength and commitment to keep going with it.

Schools, teachers and education have become the 'whipping boy' for society's failings.

Remember how you couldn't wait to get home from school, and go home at the end of the day?

Well now, school often represents the most stable element of a child's day.

Many kids actually prefer to be at school because their parents have basically not created a home for them.

Wo, that's a big statement isn't it?

Simply ask teachers what is expected of them now, that was NEVER expected 20 or 30 years ago.

We don't just teach, we raise many people's kids.

Who taught you how to tie your shoes; have basic manners; wipe your nose; learn to play fair; tidy up after yourself .... your parents?

These days teachers are asked to do many, many things that parents used to do.

Every class I have taught has contained at least 2 or 3 children (usually boys) with significant behaviour/emotional/psychological problems that disrupt the classroom on a daily basis.

Busy parents aren't coping with their kids.

Aside from the stress of actually teaching, the teaching profession also has to deal with daily stress and pressure from parents; from school admin; from curriculum experimentation and changes; from the general community.

It can become a 'pea soup' of pressure, and stress ... creating low morale.

Teachers want to go home at the end of the day and have something left over for their families.

Many don't.

 

Miss Frizzle, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

Teachers do not have the resources to meet their responsibilities.


Consider this ...

You go to university for three or four years, because that's what it takes, and because you know that teaching is an honourable and necessary task, and because you want to help develop children into responsible and contributing adults.

But when you get into the classroom, you find children who -

 * don't know what they should, for their age, because their learning difficulty has never been diagnosed,

 * don't want to be at school, because nobody's ever shown them that it could be fun,

 * who are disruptive and even violent, because their parents haven't disciplined them properly,

- and so on.



Your work requires you to address these problems (which are not of your causing), but denies you both the time and the authority to do so.

You also have to spend two-to-three unpaid hours most days outside the "normal" school day in class preparation or marking of homework.

And you have a salary that consistently fails to increase in line with inflation.

Then you are expected to get your pupils to pass a standardised test that completely fails to account for the different capabilities of your students, and when, as is inevitable, you can't get your class result to some largely arbitrary point, your job is imperilled.

Teachers today are routinely denied the resources that they need to meet their largely unmeetable responsibilities.

How can stress, disillusionment and, ultimately, their departure from such a critical work sector be any surprise?

 

Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

Teacher's husband : I would never be a teacher for quids.

Having just married someone who works as a first year teacher, I was shocked at the amount of work was involved.

As well as the usual expectations of extra-curricular activities, parent-teacher interviews, mentoring etc, the amount of preparation is simply extraordinary.

Not only do teachers have to essentially write their own curriculum, trying to adapt existing materials into the national curriculum, they do extra tertiary study to qualify to teach RE, they have to generate all of their own resources from a miserly class budget, often dipping into their own money to pay for some items.

Essentially, most Saturdays this year my wife has spent preparing for the following week or marking.

On top of that, teachers then have to do professional develpoment in their own time of at 10 hours - so that is several Sundays gone as well.

I can't wait for report time.

So I would never be a teacher for quids.

I'd rather remain a lawyer.

Although I work long hours, at least I can go to the toilet when I want to.

One other thing I would not miss - as a man, I don't get those suspicious looks.

 

Mawson, Reader's comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4565396.html

"I got hit, kicked, spat on, head-butted, had hot water thrown at me and was verbally abused on a daily basis."

Mary Claire is one of many Australian school teachers who has left the profession after being emotionally scarred by her students.

She was left with back and neck injuries after a child threw tables and chairs across her classroom.

"I was stressed constantly. I was constantly waiting for the next thing to happen, waiting for someone to be hurt or for someone to be killed," she said.

"I was threatened that my house would be burnt down. I got hit, kicked, spat, head-butted, had hot water thrown at me and being verbally abused on a daily basis."

 

Violence in schools, Leisa Goddard, Today Tonight, 27 May 2013 http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/lifestyle/article/-/17342811/violence-in-schools/

Inala Flexible Learning Centre, South Brisbane : two female teachers have to deal with students fighting with a knife in their classroom.

At about 11.30am on Wednesday 4 September 2013, two female teachers and about six students were in a classroom at the Inala Flexible Learning Centre on Poinsettia Street in Brisbane's southwest.

 

A 16-year-old allegedly stormed into the classroom and began arguing with the 14-year-old.

The 14-year-old allegedly pulled a knife and threatened the older teen.

A violent scuffle followed.

The 14-year-old was allegedly stabbed with his own knife.

The 16-year-old was left with cuts to his hands.

 

 

Boy, 14, stabbed at Brisbane school, Marissa Calligeros, Brisbane Times, 4 September 2013.

40-year-old casual teacher : I have no hope of owning a house and will be renting damp, ugly dumps forever.

My version of 5th-year burnout was to leave the country in search of a better teaching job than I could find here.

I failed in that search and returned penniless.

This was partly because of the GFC and changes that the Australian government made to the tax status of expatriate workers shortly afterwards.

But it was a brutal lesson in what the world generally thinks of teachers.

Finland is a bit of an island in that ocean, and my Finnish is not the best.

I also hear it's bl--dy cold there.

So I guess I'm staying.

This means I have no hope of owning a house and will be renting damp, ugly dumps forever.

This means increasingly permanent status as a casual employee.

This means I will continue to work in cramped staffrooms on an A3-sized patch of desktop, at the bottom of a canyon of yellowing paper and long-abandoned textbooks that seem to have sat around since the 1960s.

It means my rusting, demountable classroom has no working aircon and isn't likely to get it.

So my students and I will work in 38-degree heat this summer.

To be honest, I don't see a future career in engineering or shock-jock broadcasting ahead of me.

The early 40s are not a prime time for another debilitating round of intense study, the concurrent working of two or three menial part-time jobs, and thousands more dollars in HECS debt.

And I enjoy my present work in theory, it's just the practice of it that has left me chronically depressed and exhausted.

When I was a student at one of Sydney University's colleges, I spoke to a recent graduate who returned to tell us all about teaching.

What was it like?

'It will make you question the meaning and value of life', he said.

I thought this so melodramatic at the time, I actually laughed out loud.

I'm not laughing now.

 

mjl, Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

Ex-teacher : I saw a lot of teachers who were looking for a way out.

After five years I was out of the game, not least because of ill health related to stress from teaching.

After a stroke at 34 (despite life long hypotension) I called it quits in teaching even though my CVA was minor and full recovery has almost happened, now six years on.

I tried to go back....two days in the trenches and I was sick again.

Now, that is me, but I did see a lot of other teachers, many only in their mid-20's, who were looking for a way out : they loved the teaching, but it was the sheer out-of-hours load, extra-curriculars and the salary and low social standing that irked them.

We all went into it with eyes open, but the true cost of the job can take a few years to truly manifest.

Teaching is not the only job like this, but it is possibly one of the largest industries where employees are hampered by their work being thought of as purely a vocation: and that in choosing pedagogy one must cop such flak.

 

Shebs, Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

School principal : I work very long hours.

I have been teaching for nigh on 20 years.

Before that, I worked in industry and achieved a trade in the same industry.

In the 10 years I worked in industry, I was never home later than 5pm, and never on site before 7.30am.


Whereas teaching, I am always at school before 6am (often around 5am), and leave school soon after 5pm.

Lunch happens usually around 4pm, when the 'excitement' slows down, and even then it is usually a sandwich on the run.


And I do this 6 days a week, 44 weeks a year.



When the school gets vandalised, or set on fire (as has happened twice recently), I am the one called to deal with it; regardless of what time of the day or night this happens.


Everything at my school may look calm and graceful on the surface, but there is a lot of very busy work happening under the surface to keep the façade operating.

I look at my staff, and there is no one under 40 years old.

Where are the younger teachers?

Who will teach my students, your leaders of tomorrow, when dedicated people like my staff and I have gone?


I weep for this state, and this country.


 

Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

Retired teacher : at 28 my son earns twice what I earned in my last year of teaching. And he has better working conditions.

After teaching for 39 years and loving the teaching - I am glad I have now left.

My son, who would have made an excellent teacher, when asked if he wanted to be one - laughed, and said he could use his Masters degree to make far more money for far less effort - and he has.

At 28 he earns double what I received in my last year of teaching, works shorter hours, in modern air conditioned surroundings, with people who want to be there and no abuse, litter, or "after work" work - well done and good luck to him!

At the beginning I was proud to tell people I was a teacher - at the close of my career, I used to tell people I was a "Public Servant" - less adverse reaction.

A sad reflection on the decline of a great profession.

 

Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

A message from a teacher in West Australia.

I want to contact other Australian teachers to -
 
 
a) express my concern at the way the WA Department of Education's Standards and Integrity Directorate (SID) manages complaints and allegations of misconduct against teachers,
 
and b)  to seek their support in calling for a review of the policies that underpin this process. 
 
 

At present the WA department of Education investigation process is unjust, arbitrary and draconian.
 
It effectively denies teachers who are the subject of complaints, due process and procedural fairness.
 
Teachers can be prevented from earning a livelihood prior to a full investigation of incidents - investigations which, in my experience, can take years to complete.
 
 
This is an absolute disgrace. 
 


 
The department levelled a number of unfounded, yet serious charges against me for misconduct back in 2006.
 
These charges were eventually dismissed and I was exonerated.
 
 
But I feel that I was treated unjustly and I feel the Department should be held to account for their actions. 

 
In my view, the Wa department of education disciplinary process is little more than institutionalised workplace bullying. 
 
Queries I've made to the DoE regarding inconsistencies, anomalies and irregularities in the way the Code of Conduct provisions are investigated and managed by SID have gone unanswered.
 
Serious complaints about senior staff in certain schools have been ignored, by both the schools and by the department.

I have been subjected to bullying, threats, intimidation, false and malicious allegations,  etc.,  
 
I have found it difficult to do my job properly whilst defending myself against these unfounded accusations, complaints and allegations. 

This experience has had a considerable impact on my physical and mental health, welfare, and financial well-being.

And now -
 
I have been suspended indefinitely without pay pending the outcome of an enquiry into allegations of "misconduct" in my role as a relief teacher with the Education Department.
 
The suspension order was effective immediately.
 
Why?

About two weeks ago, whilst undertaking a three-week contract at one of our most 'difficult' schools, I became involved in an incident with one of the students in my class.
 
I had confiscated his iPad for inappropriate use in class, and in retaliation he stole my own personal laptop and ran away with it.
 
I had to chase the student and to engage in physical contact with the student in order to safely retrieve my laptop.
 
The student was not hurt in the ensuing scuffle. 

The principal and the Faculty head both agreed that given the circumstances my actions were appropriate.
 
The student in question - who apparently had a long history of disruptive and unruly behaviour - had done the "wrong thing" and "would be suspended".
 
For the record: the DoE's own Code of Conduct allows for such physical contact under certain conditions.
 
As far as I was concerned I had not breached these conditions.
 
I believed I was entitled to take reasonable steps to secure my personal property against possible vandalism and irreparable damage, and at the same time restore order to the classroom.

The very next day, I was advised by the principal that my contract would be terminated.
 
The reason?
 
Apparently one of the students in the class had videoed the incident in question on his mobile phone, passed it onto the student directly involved in the incident, who then passed it I believe onto SID via his mother.
 
SID overrode the principal's decision to retain my services, I was virtually marched off the premises, and SID have now prevented me from seeking and obtaining any work at all anywhere.
 
I'm unemployed. 

 
Both the school in question - and the SID - refuse to provide me with for example a copy of their respective policies regarding the use of mobiles devices and social media by students, both of which have obvious relevance on two counts to any future defence.
 
 
Where is the procedural fairness?

As I'm a contract teacher, if I can't work, I don't get paid.
 
I've asked the department to lift the ban so I can work, but they refuse.
 
I have provided them with a submission and a statement In my own defence.
 
But the department won't commit to a time in which to complete their investigation.
 
The last time I was investigated, it took the department almost 2½ years to complete the process.
 
I was subsequently exonerated of all of the charges - but I was not compensated.
 
 
We need to fight for change in -

 
1) the way WA public schools manage behavioural issues at the school level; 

2) workplace bullying - often in relation to concerns and issues about / related to student behaviour management;
 
and 

3) the way the department of education manage the complaints and investigations process.

 
 
I'm a very reluctant 'crusader'.
 
But this latest episode is beyond the pale.
 

I need your support.
 
20 June 2013

Mary Claire, ex-teacher : I was verbally abused on a daily basis.

Mary Claire is one of many school teachers who has left the profession after being emotionally scarred by her students.

She was left with back and neck injuries after a child threw tables and chairs across her classroom.

"I was stressed constantly. I was constantly waiting for the next thing to happen, waiting for someone to be hurt or for someone to be killed," she said.

"I was threatened that my house would be burnt down. I got hit, kicked, spat, head-butted, had hot water thrown at me and being verbally abused on a daily basis."

 

Violence in schools, Leisa Goddard, Today Tonight, 27 May 2013, Schools across the country have become dangerous places with teachers painting a terrifying picture of classroom violence. http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/lifestyle/article/-/17342811/violence-in-schools/

Karen Tyrrell, ex-teacher : every day was a psychological battle with the students.

School teacher and author Karen Tyrrell was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being attacked with rulers, kicked, punched and beaten with chairs by her students.

She says every day became a psychological battle with her pupils.

"Every night I would wake up screaming with night terrors," she said.

 

Violence in schools, Leisa Goddard, Today Tonight, 27 May 2013, Schools across the country have become dangerous places with teachers painting a terrifying picture of classroom violence. http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/lifestyle/article/-/17342811/violence-in-schools/

St Patrick's College, Townsville : teachers struggle to control violence.

Teachers struggled to control a violent classroom brawl between students at St Patrick's College in Townsville.

St Patrick's College is an all-girls school.

The mother of one student, who declined to be named, said four students were involved.

Furniture was thrown.

Teachers struggled to control the teenage girls.

The principal of St Patrick's confirmed a "physical altercation" had occured between two students.

 

Classroom brawl gets out of hand, Townsville Bulletin, p.11, The Courier-Mail, 6 March 2013.

NSW school principal speaks out about pollies who are only interested in helping themselves.

Back in December, a federal Labor MP representing a western Sydney seat attended an end-of-year function at a local school.
 
When the headmaster listed some of the events that had affected the school and the community during the previous 12 months, one line in particular resonated with the assembled students and parents.
 
"We learned about how people we elect to office who should be doing things for us are more interested in doing things for themselves," the principal said.
 
"You could feel the reaction wash through the room," the MP told a colleague later.
 
 
PM deflects heat in pressure cooker seats, Laurie Oakes, p. 43, The Courier-Mail 2-3 March 2013

Casual work reduces teachers to day laborers to be picked up by the side of the road.

I am a former high school teacher.

The casualization of the teaching workforce is a disgrace and does nothing to contribute to positive educational outcomes.

It simply demeans and discourages adult men and women of considerable training who are asked to consider themselves as day laborers picked up by the side of the road.

It results in abusive economic hardship.

Related to this is the call for more powers for principals to "weed out the incompetent teachers."

Anyone who has worked in a school knows how pernicious is this paradigm.

Yes, there are incompetent teachers but they are fewer than popularly imagined.

I've seen good teachers who stand up for values get shown the door by principals determined not to offend unreasonable parents, seeking to maintain the glossy images of their school brochures by sacrificing the whistle blower.

By all means test teachers, but use a variety of means to do so and bring in independent teacher assessors, specialists not connected to the school and having skills similar to those previously practised by schools inspectors.

In other words, senior people operating independently of school councils and school principals.

It's too easy today to trash good teachers for short term gains.

One of the worst abuses we can inflict on our educational programs is to casualize our teaching work force.

 

kenj , Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

My friends and relatives plead with me to leave teaching. I would if I could, but I am trapped.

Every single friend or relative of mine, outside of teaching, pleads with me to leave.

I would if I could, but I need more training to do anything else and I am single so I have no other income for support.

Unfortunately, the hours and energy needed as a teacher do not leave much time or energy for further study.

So I am trapped.

The atrocious lack of respect for anybody, let alone a teaching professional in schools is hard to take.

Many parents speak to the administration staff in a disgusting manner, swearing and being abusive.

If most people really knew what went on in schools with what teachers and staff members have to put up with, they would be horrified.


 

20 Year Veteran, Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

I work in the corporate world now. I get paid well and I don't work nearly as hard as I had to as a teacher.

After leaving school I started studying law but left that to became a teacher.

I was a targeted graduate and was sent to the Western Suburbs.

I lasted two and a half years before moving to part-time job at a private school, while I retrained.

Teaching was a great job but who wants to work that hard for that amount of pay?

Who wants to be treated the way teachers are treated?

And who wants to deal with the sort of societal ills teachers deal with, with no real support or appreciation?.

 

I work in the corporate world now.

I've got my life back.

I get paid well, and I don't work nearly as hard as I had to as a teacher.

No one wants to know just how hard teachers work ....and no one wants to pay them adequately.

 

Michele, Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

Teachers are not respected in Australia. Indonesian teachers are treated with much more respect.

Australian teachers are not respected by large number of parents and students.

Deon, Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

After eight years of casual teaching at the same school, I was refused the opportunity to re-train for Special Ed - and to gain permanent status.

I finished a diploma in education in 1998.

I was really fired up to research and teach.

I wasn't drawn into the system because my method was Visual Arts, which means there are plenty of them.

So I was told that I would have to teach casually or go to the country.

I was a mature age teacher at 50, just starting teaching.

After 8 years casual teaching at the same school, a retraining scheme came up with the department to teach Special Ed as they had a shortage- this would have been an opportunity to gain permanent teaching and fill the shortage.

I was refused because I only had casual status.

I had been at this school for 8 years and was refused the initiative because of policy.

I have now left teaching in disgust at the treatment of casual staff.

 

Alan Spackman, Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

Some teachers may seem to have a light workload - but not new graduates working in difficult schools.

 I am an escaped teacher.

Teaching pays fresh graduates reasonably, but pays extremely poorly in comparison to other career options if the teacher is numerate.

This may not be that obvious to a 21 year old graduate, but is extremely obvious a few years later when numerate friends from uni have lifestyles, suburbs, cars and spouses that teachers could never afford.

Some teaching jobs are far easier than other teaching jobs.

If a teacher works as a full time relief teacher with the ability to handball/hospital pass (depending on state) all problems to somebody else, with no need to write reports and no need to plan lessons, then full time teaching is less than 30 hours per week.

Other teachers have taught very similar content for the past several years in the same schools.

If these teachers have organised assessments to be very easy to mark and if they find reports very easy to write when copying and pasting comments from similar students in prior years, they may also work under 40 hours per week.

These situations are totally different from those facing fresh graduates in difficult schools.

As really learning how to teach takes 5 to 10 years on the job, which is similar to most trades, it may be very sensible if all teachers only had a 0.8 load for their first few years of full time teaching.

 

Polony, Reader's Comment, A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

I have seen fellow teachers driven to depression.

I love teaching.

I hate being a teacher.

I hate that I was forced to pick up a second job so I could support myself over unpaid school holidays because I could not get a permanent job.

I hate that another casual teacher revealed to me she'd being doing casual at the same school for five years, and couldn't even get an interview for a job opening.

After all, some had been doing it for ten years.

I hate that parents send their children to school with the attitude that, "My dad said I should tell you to f**k off, because teachers don't know s**t".

Yes, an eleven year old really said that, with pride.

I hate that I chose to pursue something that I felt was worthwhile, something that could make a difference, only to be beaten down so quickly and brutally.

I'm sure people will be quick to tell me to suck it up, that it is no worse than many other professions, and I do not claim it is the most difficult job in the world.

But it is so, so hard.

I have seen fellow teachers driven to depression, been medicated.

I even knew one that started self harming.

She would bite her fingers, in the classroom, till they bled.

I know teachers on their first year out who live on around three hours sleep a night.

I knew a deputy principal who survived on four: the other staff were impressed he got so much.

I still teach.

But every day I love it less, and keep looking for a way out.

 

A Reader's Comment : A little respect: attracting top teachers is not rocket science, Jane Caro, The Drum, Opinion, ABC, 4 October 2012 :   http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4293550.html

Graeme Sleeman, former principal, Holy Family School, Doveton : "the Catholic Church destroyed his name and his integrity after he reported child abuse concerns".

Pell told 'priest posed danger' to kids, Daniel Fogarty, AAP, 23 January 2013 :     http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/church-leader-evasive-on-abuse-inquiry/story-e6freono-1226560005243

52 year-old teacher at independent "Christian" school : submission 218 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Submission 218 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace bullying is by a 52 year-old (male, I am guessing) teacher was teaching at an independent "Christian" school : S.T (PDF 917KB)
 
The teacher has a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Education degrees.
 
He was employed as Head of Faculty.
 
He was bullied at work for two years.
 
His doctor advised him to take extended leave for the sake of his health.
 
The teacher did not immediately seek Workers Compensation.
 
He took sick leave and trusted naively that his complaint would be independently investigated.
 
When it became clear that this was not going to happen, he sought WorkCover in order to secure an independent investigation.
 
The independent investigator employed by the schools insurer, and the psychiatrist appointed by the insurer both supported the teacher's claims.
 
 
But there seems to be no internal or external incentive for an organisation to examine or change its culture to prevent further instances of bullying.
 
"The only opportunity a victim in my situation has of gaining recognition and appropriate compensation is to be declared totally unfit for employment with a whole person incapacity exceeding 15%."
 
 
As a mature worker living in a regional area, he is left with very few opportunities.
 
He has been told that he is now blacklisted at other independent schools because he has made the workplace bullying complaint.
 
The culture at Independent schools is that the staff member who alleges bullying is more likely to be the problem than the bullies.

A High School teacher : submission 189 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Submission 189 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying is written by a female High School teacher who began working for an un-named Australian state government in 1975 : K.B (PDF 590KB)
 
In 1993 she was transferred.
 
When she was first appointed to her new school, she felt valued.
 
But then the principal's behaviour towards her changed.
 
He became verbally abusive.
 
Departmental officers seem to have been aware of the principal's problem behaviour.
 
The teacher endured the abuse till the principal's retirement.
 
A new principal was appointed.
 
This new principal had no time for long-established staff.
 
In 2002 "things started to unravel".
 
Students were removed from her classes.
 
The teacher was told that there had been complaints, but she was never allowed to respond to the complaints.
 
She decided to relinquish her position as teacher in charge of drama because of these problems.
 
In 2003 the teacher was exhausted by having to continually 'watch her back'.
 
During 2004 the principal called her to the office.
 
The teacher had spent the previous Friday night and all of Saturday in the school, running a school performance for parents.
 
She was exhausted.
 
The principal told her "many of the staff believe you don't care about the students".
 
The teacher was deeply shocked.
 
"The earth gave way under me."
 
 
She went to the union.
 
They were not helpful.
 
 
She applied for a transfer.
 
She was sent into a tough environment and her "reputation" went with her.
 
Throughout 1995- 2005 there were many, many incidents.
 
Her health was affected.
 
"When I woke at night, I would go into the garden to weep so my daughter wouldn't hear me."
 
In October 2005 she collapsed - physically, psychologically, emotionally.
 
In February 2006, while she was on sick leave, she was diagnised with breast cancer.
 
She was reluctant to agree to retire on the grounds that she was mentally ill.
 
She filed a Worker's Compensation claim.
 
Very critical reports were written about her.
 
"The night I read them I thought I would stop breathing."
 
 
When the Workers Compensation claim went to a Tribunal hearing, the lawyer appointed by the union attended but no-one from the Australian Education Union attended.
 
The Australian Education union never contacted her again.
 
She wrote to tell the AEU she was shocked by their lack of support.
 
The AEU did not reply.
 
 
"I was so alone and wherever I turned for help made things worse, much worse."
 
"My life was destroyed."
 
"I struggle financially and this has had a further detrimental effect on my overall welfare."
 
"I live in a small town. It has been humiliating for me. My relationships with friends and family suffered."
 
"I cannot give my daughter the financial support she needs."
 
"I didn't just lose a job. I lost a whole part of myself. I miss it deeply."
 
"This feeling of loss will be with me always."
 
 
"The Department of Education is an unsafe workplace."

Special Education Teacher : submission 94 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Special Education Teacher A made submission number 94 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : H.M (PDF 946KB)

Teacher A was bullied by a senior staff member at her Special Education Unit during Term 1 2011.

Teacher A discovered documentary evidence that somebody had lied during the investigation into her complaint. 

This lie had rendered the investigation unbalanced and unjust.

The CEO cut off all channels of communication with Teacher A.

The Regional Director then "followed the CEO's directive" and also refused to communicate with teacher A.

The problem continued.

 

In Term 1 2012 Teacher B went on stress leave because of workplace bullying (seems to be by the same person).

 

 

 

Teachers from across the nation have made submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

 
 
99.6% of educators have endured some form of workplace bullying according to the Australian Education Union.
 
 

Many teachers' submissions point to principals as the prime perpetrator.

 

Teachers' submissions have revealed a culture of character assassination, threats and spying within our schools.

Stories reveal teachers pursued by their superiors until they break down and transfer or quit the profession all together.

One teacher asked the committee: "How can we stop bullying of students when even the teachers are bullied?"

Heartfelt submissions to a federal parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying document screaming matches, character assassination, threats and spying.

 

Some teachers contemplate suicide.

 

Teachers who stand up for colleagues risk being bullied themselves and overlooked for promotion, according to the submissions.

 

Victims say government departments and non-government school superiors do everything they can to protect the bullies.

The bullies are often in positions of power.

 

One South Australian special education teacher said a campaign against her began when she mandatorily reported her principal for emotionally abusing students.

 

A New South Wales public school teacher said she developed an anxiety disorder and her 24-year career was in tatters after a group of women, led by a head teacher, bullied her.

 

A rural Victorian college teacher said her principal was verbally abusive back-stabbing, made unfounded accusations and physically threatened his staff, despite 10 formal complaints against him.

 

A former high school teacher said she contemplated suicide after "three years of hell" at the hands of her principal.

"When I woke at night, I would go into the garden to weep so my daughter wouldn't hear me."

 

The AEU said bullying was clearly not the "infrequent behaviour of a few bad apples" -

- complaints procedures are biased towards management and preserving the status quo.

 

Editor's Note : It is really good to see that the Australian Education Union is prepared to tell the truth about this problem.

Will the Queensland Teachers Union tell the truth about the workplace bullying in Queensland schools?

 

Workplace bullying an everyday occurrence in schools, say teachers, Jessica Marszalek, The Herald-Sun, 23 September 2012 : http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/workplace-bullying-an-everyday-occurrence-in-schools-say-teachers/story-fndo1sx1-1226479817321

Ex-teacher : I know of MANY great teachers who were bullied out of the profession.

I used to be a teacher.
 
I know of MANY great teachers bullied out of the profession.
 
Others denied promotions.
 
Bullied by pathetic principals and other teachers who are supported by Departmental garbage.
 
I know teachers who take days off to attend Professional Development because principals refuse them the right.
 
Others who do so after hours.
 
I know of many many schools where teachers are given classes for which they are not qualified and who are refused opportunities to qualify / learn.
 
I have seen great people abused and lazy good for nothings promoted, basically on the friendship of some who should never have been made principals.
 
But most people have no idea of how hard teachers work, the stress, the illnesses... badgered for taking lawful paternity leave.
 
Abused for offering after hours home work classes.
 
Ordered to pass kids who never submitted work and barely attended classes.
 
Their cars vandalised and them told by principals not to contact police.
 
Buying lap tops and books and other resources due to little support at school.
 
Discriminated against re carer's leave, transfers to other schools, denied promotions... I openly challenge the government to put all of this through an open public but protected inquiry so teachers can speak up with safety.

 
Ange Kenos, Reader's Comment, Baillieu plan to get rid of bad teachers, Jewel Topsfield, The Age, 21 June 2012 : http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/baillieu-plan-to-get-rid-of-bad-teachers-20120620-20oky.html

One year in a rough and under-resourced school nearly broke a decent teacher.

I have a friend with tertiary qualifications and private sector experience in science and maths.
 
He did a DipEd, with the ideal of developing a career as a teacher.
 
His first year in a rough under-resourced school nearly broke this decent bloke and he had to move on.
 
 
barfiller, Reader's Comment, 21 June 2012, Baillieu plan to get rid of bad teachers, Jewel Topsfield, The Age, 21 June 2012 : http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/baillieu-plan-to-get-rid-of-bad-teachers-20120620-20oky.html


 

Sydney teacher : most schools select their teachers on the basis of their ability to 'control the classes'. The teachers who survive in this environment do not tend to be the smartest teachers.

Its silly to expect young people with higher marks to opt for a teaching career when the vast majority of graduate teachers can only hope for decades of uncertain life on the treadmill of casual teaching jobs.
 
More, most schools select their teachers not so much on their ability to teach or their high marks from university but on their right demeanor to "control the classes" where unruly teenagers have all but destroyed public education for all.
 
Sadly, many teachers that tend to survive this harsh class room environment are not the smartest ones, but those that have the qualities to become good prison guards or a night club bouncers.
 
Lack of discipline & job uncertainty are the twin toxins that are killing public education.
 
 
Yab of Sydney, Reader's Comment,  'Toxic teacher' warning as debate rages on lifting uni entry marks, Catherine Armitage, Rachel Browne, 3 October 2012 : http://www.smh.com.au/national/tertiary-education/toxic-teacher-warning-as-debate-rages-on-lifting-uni-entry-marks-20121002-26xi5.html

High school teacher : teaching is a thankless job.

I had a TER of 96 and my sister had a TER of 98, and we both became teachers.
 
I'm a high school teacher and she's a primary school teacher.
 
Unfortunately she was placed in a very disadvantaged school with little resources and could not deal with the workload and chose to go back to corporate work.
 
I, on the other hand, am working minimum 10 hour days everyday (planning, marking, learning new things about my subject), and working one full weekend day every weekend.
 
Teaching is a thankless job with the media and politicians constantly attacking teachers.
 
I don't blame the smart students for not going into teaching, but it's a sad situation.
 
 
Small s, Reader's Comment,  'Toxic teacher' warning as debate rages on lifting uni entry marks, Catherine Armitage, Rachel Browne, 3 October 2012 : http://www.smh.com.au/national/tertiary-education/toxic-teacher-warning-as-debate-rages-on-lifting-uni-entry-marks-20121002-26xi5.html

Catholic school teacher : I taught at six schools in seven years, ALWAYS on a contract!

I taught for seven years from 2003 to 2009, mostly in the Catholic system and ALWAYS on a contract!
 
Six schools in seven years.
 
It's not just the state schools who do this.
 
I don't teach anymore - it got too stressful trying to do your job and trying to keep your job at the same time.
 
 
 
AyKay of Melbourne,  Reader's Comment, No job security for new teachers, Jewel Topsfield and Craig But, The Age, 4 January, 2012 : http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/no-job-security-for-new-teachers-20120103-1pjoy.html

Teachers work under constant pressure.

    I taught for one year - and never again.
     
    Constant pressure from all sides: colleagues, students, students' parents and your own family because you're always at work and not paying attention to them.
     
    The 'extended' holidays were unpaid, as the contract was for 10 months.
     
    It was an absolute joy to see students accurately demonstrate something you'd taught them - but this was not enough to keep me working as one.
     
     
    Asynca, Reader's Comment, No job security for new teachers, Jewel Topsfield and Craig But, The Age, 4 January, 2012 : http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/no-job-security-for-new-teachers-20120103-1pjoy.html

Over 15 years ago I was bullied out of my teaching career. The bully was promoted.

Over 15 years ago I was "bullied" out of my teaching career, and my health destroyed, by a principal and her "disciples".
 
I was "mobbed".
 
The Ed.Dept.accepted my claim.
 
My bully kept her job and was promoted.
 
My health was permanently damaged, my career was destroyed and I was given a pathetic "payout" as compensation ... all of which is typical.
 
As part of my re-habilitation, and in an attempt to come to terms with what had happened, I set up a "help-line" then a Website ... spoke at Conferences etc... and CONSTANTLY advised that if you don't address the bullying of teachers then you'll never be able to begin to reduce SCHOOL YARD bullying!!!
 
... but no-one was listening.
 

Catherine Crout-Habel, Comment 3 of 31, Workplace bullying an everyday occurrence in schools, say teachers, Jessica Marszalek, The Herald-Sun, 23 September 2012 :  http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/workplace-bullying-an-everyday-occurrence-in-schools-say-teachers/story-fndo1sx1-1226479817321

Good teachers are attacked in Australian schools. It is a media blindspot.

Jewel, this is excellent ( see link to Jewel Topsfield's article in The Age below ) but like all articles of its ilk, it has a great omission.

Of course great teachers change lives.

But have you any idea how badly they are treated?

What the public never see is the jealousy and tearing down of teachers when they're singled out by students and/or parents for special commendation.

Please do not write these articles as if teaching is a well-managed, meritocratic field of generous commendation to those who put in the most effort and create the best outcomes.

It is not.

To represent it thus rubs further salt into the wounds of teachers whose lives have been literally destroyed by bullying because they excelled.

Please look at the reality and what a battle it is to pass the road blocks put up by the tall poppy syndrome and the often toxic politics of education workplaces run as personal fiefdoms by entrenched cliques with the credo of, "we decide who will be successful here."

Generally, that means people in their own image who do not have better qualifications or superior work performance.

A lead ceiling is imposed by this and those who surpass it are not tolerated.

How can any education article be written without acknowledging the devastating swathe cut by bullying through this profession, where it is in epidemic proportions?

Teaching and training top all bullying statistics in Australia yet, like the abusive homes used to be blindspotted in our society, the same blindspot applies in media portrayals.

Nobody can work effectively in bullying environments!

 

Please read this research:

1) "Investigation of Staff Bulllying in Australian Schools," Duncan and Riley, University of New England.

2) Dr Donna-Louise McGrath's work on envy and bullying, including her submission to the parliamentary inquiry on bullying

3) Bad Apple Bullies website - education bullying

 

Teacher, Reader's Comment, Are our teachers making the grade?, Jewel Topsfield, Education Editor, The Age, 18 August 2012 : http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/are-our-teachers-making-the-grade-20120817-24dzs.html

Teachers become ill because parents send sick children to school.

The critical reasons for the low status of teachers are Stress and workload.
 
Teaching consistently rates in the top 5 most stressful jobs in occupational surveys, due to many factors, including conflict with students and parents, the challenges of teaching students with learning difficulties, from refugee backgrounds, or from broken homes, increasing accountability demands, administration and professional development requirements, and the hours of unpaid overtime that are inherently part of the job.
 
On top of this, teachers often get more frequent illnesses due to stress and the fact that parents often send their kids to school no matter how ill they are.
 
It is little wonder the attrition rate from the profession is so high around the 5-6 year mark.
 
 
Webman, Reader's Comment, Are our teachers making the grade?, Jewel Topsfield, Education Editor, The Age, 18 August 2012 : http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/are-our-teachers-making-the-grade-20120817-24dzs.html

Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Submission 79 : the Office of the Employee Ombudsman, South Australia.

Submission 79 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying is by the Office of the Employee Ombudsman, South Australia : Office of the Employee Ombudsman (PDF 2,319KB)

 

The Office of the Employee Ombudsman make the point that the need is not so much for the existing polices to be re-written, it is for improved management :

"In our view, workplace bullying arises due to poor management, more so than a failure on the part of current legislation."

 

And there is a need to enforce the official policies.

One teacher made repeated complaints about workplace bullying by a team leader at a South Australian school.

(It is not clear if the teacher was working at a state school or a private school.)

"Despite formal complaints, accepted claims for workers' compensation, and significant human and financial costs, no enforcement action has been taken by the regulator against the employer, or the perpetrator."

 

In fact :

"We assert that it is not uncommon for bullying behaviours to be rewarded and promoted in organisations."

So bullying cultures and behaviours are transferred from one workplace to another.

 

Editor's Note : I would suggest that this failure to enforce the Education Department and Public Service official policies, and an informal policy of rewarding and promoting bully principals, is also a significant problem in Queensland. 

 

Parliamentary Inquiry Into Workplace Bullying : Submission 36 : A Head Mathematics teacher in a Catholic school in the ACT.

Submission 36 to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying :  J.C (PDF 511KB)

JC was a Head Mathematics teacher at a Catholic School in the ACT for 29 years.

JC ran PD, Maths Enrichment programs etc. for all ACT schools.

Then a new Principal arrived at the school and began to bully the more experienced staff.

JC states that many staff, ex-staff and parents will support his (or her) claims.

"... The tactic of an ambush was very common. An ambush is when the victim expects a different agenda."

"... One ex-staff member who was forced out was in a fragile position; when a number of us arranged to have an afternoon tea for her, the Principal gave orders that we were not to socialise with this person, even outside of school."

 

"... Nepotism and cronyism is rife throughout the Catholic Education system in the ACT. Everyone knows about it. ..."

 

Teach For Australia : "I feel like crying".

In May 2012 Caroline Overington wrote an article in The Weekend Australian about "best of the best' young professionals or university graduates, who might have been detined for top careers in law, medicine or banking, being fast-tracked into teaching, a career many would not normally have considered.

The Teach for Australia 'teachers' interviewed by Caroline Overington reported very positive experiences, but Overington comments -

A note of caution : these interviews were organised at The Weekend Australian Magazine's request by Teach For Australia, which understandably wants to show off its outstanding success stories - but not everyone who has signed up has thrived, and some can't wait to leave.

One example is "Quentin", who last year started a blog called "A Class of One's Own - Life as a New Teacher" to chronicle the decision to quit a career as a commercial lawyer to join Teach For Australia.

Here's a post from March 2012 :

Exhaustion.

Fatigue.

Overwhelmed.

Lack of support.

No wonder I don't feel like writing much these days.

School is chewing me up and going to spit me out.

Overly dramatic, yes, but that's how I feel.

There's only so much effort, hard work, patience, resilience and grit that one has before it becomes too much.

I'm finding it difficult to care.

 

And from the last week of last term :

Penultimate year 10 class of the year.

First 5 minutes and one of my students, X, raises his fist at me and has this look on his face like, "I am going to smash your face."

The hatred in his eyes scares me sh-tless and I immediately tell him to go outside.

Thand God he does.

The other time I asked another student to move, she said "B-llsh-t, c--t".

So this kid leaves the classroom and I'm shaking.

There's still 85 minutes of the lesson to go.

I stand outside wondering what I am going to do.

I put on a four minute You Tube video.

I can't think straight.

Breathe.

Focus.

I feel like crying.

 

Like all alumni, Quentin signed up for Teach For Australia because "I strongly believe in educational equality for all students".

On the other hand,"I can't believe I have to work in a job where I am continually verbally abused and put up with insane amounts of stress".

 

Trainees at the chalkface, Caroline Overington, The Weekend Australian, pp14-18, 5 May 2012

 

The average person has no idea what gets covered up in schools on a regular basis, especially if the parents are 'High Profile'.

I work in the education system in a very 'GOOD' school.
 
The average person out there has no idea what gets covered up in schools on a regular basis; including threats / assaults/ bullying of staff.
 
If the parents are 'High Profile', ethnic, religious, cultural minorities then all kinds of excuses are made when their child does something really bad.
 
 
Vic Toria (working interstate), Comment 52 of 62, Five teachers a day assaulted by students, Callie Watson, Adelaide Now, 16 July 2012

All I have to show for a life of hard work are horrific memories.

I have been reading your website for six years ...
 
for months I was afraid to go out to the letter-box and collect my mail ...
 
all I have to show for a life of hard work are horrific memories ...
 
your website is excellent ...
 
(Email to the Bad Apple Bullies website Editor)

Peter Wilson writes in The Australian : 'student-centred learning' has led to underachievement by hundreds of gifted Australian students.

Peter Wilson, an agronomist who left the CSIRO 12 years ago, has since taught in state, independent , non-denominational and Catholic schools.

He taught short contracts in 13 schools in four states.

He says that some schools were superb.

But most schools were failing.

Peter Wilson writes in The Australian -

Australian Government school teachers are reluctant to speak up for fear of censuring by their employers; and independent school teachers fear feeding the tall poppy syndrome.

He argues that schooling in Australia comes down to student behaviour.

Period.

Teachers have surrendered power gradually as part of the collateral damage inflicted by the postmodern social revolution.

He noticed a significant loss of this power in the 1990s, the decade between him leaving the class as a student and returning 13 years later as a teacher.

This era coincided with the expansion of student-centred learning, a concept in which the student takes control of their education; a kind of existentialism whereby teachers must fit into and become a subculture of the student's world.

 It works exceptionally well in psychology and with gifted, focused kids in well-resourced schools but is completely destructive otherwise.

Children need outright directing in their early years.

To think a child's interest in, say, atomic structure is driven enough that they will research off their own bat until they discover the neutron for themselves is folly; but that is what the model wants us to implement.

Children, by nature, are going to take the path of least resistance.

Self-discipline is rarely self-taught.

We compete in sport, in business and in life, yet when it comes to schooling we shy away from competition between individuals and institutions because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

All that outcome-based education achieved was a generous amount of paperwork for teachers and underachievement by hundreds of gifted students.

In this utopian ideal, equal opportunity equates to equal outcome.

What nonsense.

Another issue is that Australian society does not hold education in high esteem, compared with countries that outpace us.

Unti we confront this fallout of such a cultural attitude we can never, ever expect to excel academically on the world stage.

Ever.

The energy that teachers in Australia exhaust on grasping at credibility could be much better spent.

Finland is worth mentioning as a comparison, as it continually tops the world on all recognised international education standards.

Not only is a Finnish child's education highly esteemed from a very young age by society at large but the profession of teacher is highly competitive (one in 100 applicants enter university) and the country has an early intervention program such that no child is left behind.

Not one, in a nation of five million.

And good on them.

They use technology in the classroom to astoundingly good effect.

In Australia we need to stop sugar-coating our education systems.

Call the failures for what they are, recognise the decades of trends we have endured and turn our focus instead on what happens at home.

Those schools in Australia whose outcomes buck the national trend are those that have resisted education fads of the past.

They have retained uniforms; their students recognise the value in manners, respect for all, punctuality and responsibility for their actions.

When a young child has these building blocks in place, then developing any sort of curriculum is possible and the outcomes exceed the national standard. I have shared in this success at two of our nation's finest schools.

What is stopping the government from turning to such institutions and asking the hard questions: "How can we improve? What do we need to bring back? How do our schools get re-empowered?"

But to suggest such a thing is so un-Australian; and instead the debate between government and independent schools is all about funding and an apparent elitism.

In my experience there is no elitism.

There is simply brilliance in education being executed by a very few; and an inheritance by others, often only in the next suburb, of a social experiment that, in some cases, has gone horribly wrong.

It is the education revolution itself that has spawned a classist society because it has stalled our nation's learning to a standstill.

 

This is a really good article, well worth reading in full -

What's wrong with our schooling, Peter Wilson, The Australian, 30 June 2012 : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/whats-wrong-with-our-schooling/story-fn59niix-1226412580251

I won't go back to teaching. I walked. I lost money. But gee, I feel good.

I am male and taught High School last year.

I got called "Rascist", "P--fter", "Loser", "S-xual Abuser" and "W-nker" just to name a few titles.

In general the students did not want to learn.

I can wear that, but when these children are hardly disciplined and let off lightly its hard to go back.

Private schools kick out the problem students.

State schools tolerate them which means lower standards and learning outcomes.

I won't go back and am looking for a new job.

I walked, have now lost money, but gee I feel good !!!!

 

Worker, Reader's Comment, The reality of teaching 'in the trenches', Lachie Gaylard, The Drum, ABC,  25 January 2012 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3790748.html

Graduate teachers are treated like cr-p while they 'earn their stripes' in tenuous employment situations.

I abandoned state school teaching because -

1) Graduates are treated like cr-p and are expected to suffer with low hours (0.5 FTE), poor pay and massive work loads whilst they 'earn their stripes' in tenuous employment situations.
.
2) Managing problem classrooms is akin to being thrown to the wolves - support from management is, at best, tokenistic. There are no real consequences for unacceptable behaviour / results.

3) There is (can you believe it ) no such thing as an unnacceptable result. I clearly remember being directed to 'mark up' shoddy work 'for the good of the school' in terms of numbers / rankings.

4) As a male, I quickly became sick of being scrutinized, fished and baited on a range of issues revolving around female students (from dress codes to content matter and ... on and on).

Now I teach crims to walk and talk like members of society and maybe impart a few skills along the way.

In many ways there are eerie parallels with the state school system, but ( and from a purely selfish point of view ) I'm not expected to take it home with me.

As a teaching professional, I can think of no other area to be involved in that is as unprofessional as the state school system.

 

Mad Mike, Reader's Comment , The reality of teaching 'in the trenches', Lachie Gaylard, The Drum, ABC, 25 January 2012 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3790748.html

I left teaching after only four years. Having a mortgage to pay with such an erratic income was extremely stressful.

I worked as a primary school teacher.

I started work at 8am and had one 20 minute break - could be for lunch or recess.

It was a small school and therefore there was a greater frequency of being rostered for yard duty - there were not enough teachers to go around.

And yard duty wasn't just a stroll around outside - you are dealing with all sorts of issues (bullying, adjudicating disputes, first aid) in the playground.

The class finished at 3, but then I needed to speak with parents, go to meetings and clean up and then set up classroom for next day's work. 

I left the school at 4.30 or 5.

At home I spent one or more hours preparing for next day.

With my reckoning I was working about 9 hours a day, without adding on what I did on weekends.

In my class there were children from very disadvantaged families and I would even need to speak with their parents on the phone in the evening too.

I also spent time at the weekend on school work preparation.

And then when the term holidays came around I would spend half of the holiday recovering or sick and the rest was my break.

Plus add to that: absolutely no security of tenure!

A contract for a term here and there, then no income over the long summer / Xmas holiday break.

The only way to get work was just how much you could suck up to the principals who decided who they wanted to employ as you competed with loads of other teachers looking for work too.

And as to any shortage of teachers ... of the 300 other teachers who graduated with me only 30, yes 30 got a permanent position - and do you know why? Because they had mothers, aunts or other relatives who were already teachers or principals etc and could "put a good word in".

Plus add to it all having a mortgage to pay with such an erratic income was extremely stressful.

And the income was NOT a big income, I wasn't paid for the term breaks at all, only the term worked.

So ... I sensibly left teaching after only 4 years because of the above described conditions even though I actually enjoyed the teaching part of it and the children.

 

Tas, Reader's Comment, The reality of teaching 'in the trenches', Lachie Gaylard, The Drum, ABC,  25 January 2012 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3790748.html

I abandoned teaching after twelve years - following one assault too many.

I abandoned teaching after twelve years following one assault too many.

Teaching is extremely difficult in public high schools when a small number of out of control children remain in the class room.

The teacher is left as a baby sitter not an educator.

A 12 year old student pointed out to me once that half of every lesson she sat in was disrupted by the same out of control student.

She declared she should have stayed home until July because she was only getting half an education.

In the past we used corporal punishment to quickly, but violently, control unruly students.

Having decided that corporal punishment is no longer acceptable, we have failed to implement satisfactory alternatives.

The alternative is to spend significant amounts of money providing support and alternate programs for those students who can't control themselves in mainstream classrooms.

The small number of places available in special behaviour units/programs etc. is woefully inadequate.

We don't provide enough of those resources, so we leave most of the troubled kids in regular classrooms wreaking havoc - and preventing the majority from getting on with their education.

 

Richard Neville, Reader's Comment, The reality of teaching 'in the trenches', Lachie Gaylard, The Drum, ABC,   25 January 2012 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3790748.html

Teachers are valued and respected in China.

I taught English for four years in China, and have since returned to Australia.

I would love to continue teaching here but for one thing - discipline.

In China, students were used to doing what the teacher said.

If a student swore at me or consistently misbehaved, I could have the teacher's assistant call the parents.

The parents would listen, back me up, and I would receive a letter of apology.

I did get some troubled kids who required more attention than others, but in general I was in a profession that parents and students valued and respected.

I still keep in email contact with some of my parents and students.

I also remember being at high school in Australia.

Teachers had no tools with which to enforce rules, and little respect.

Excellent teachers managed to keep classes under control anyway, but they were in a minority.

Society needs to start treating education as a privilege again.

If a minority of kids constantly disrupt the class and refuse to learn, they should shape up or go get a job packing shelves - at least that way they would be doing something useful.

Parents also need to realise that teaching well is difficult, and teachers deserve their support.

 

Bruce the Goose, Reader's Comment , The reality of teaching 'in the trenches', Lachie Gaylard, The Drum, ABC,  25 January 2012 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3790748.html

Sacred Heart Parish School, Sandringham : Catholic Education Melbourne finds repeated incidents that appeared to create a risk to teachers' health and safety.

Sacred Heart Parish School, Sandringham, Victoria, is facing the loss of about half its full-time teachers.

A school parent said the departures included some of the school's most respected teachers.

Sacred Heart deputy principal Anne Reed, who left the school in 2010, has launched a worker's compensation claim against the school.

John Salanitri, a principal of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers  http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/our-people/professional/john-salanitri.aspx , said Ms Reed's claim was listed for a Magistrates Court hearing in April 2012.

''It's a stress-related WorkCover claim related to alleged bullying, intimidation and harassment our client experienced at the hands of the principal at that school,'' said Mr Salanitri.

More allegations, this time levelled by at least six staff against the principal, Erin Macdonald, surfaced in 2011.

Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) conducted an inquiry, which was overseen by WorkSafe.

The CEM inquiry found there were repeated incidents that appeared to create a risk to health and safety for the staff.

But it concluded that Ms Macdonald's behaviour was not unreasonable and therefore stopped short of bullying.

Several staff members said they were dissatisfied with CEM's role in the inquiry.

One described the school as a ''toxic'' work environment, with ''a constant air of intimidation'', saying: ''The teachers that are leaving are of the highest quality. I'd be happy to have any of them teach my children.''

 

In a letter to parents last month, Ms Macdonald said she and the school had been subjected to an orchestrated, vexatious campaign by a minority of staff to undermine her and to frustrate the progress of educational programs designed to improve school life.

This included allegations to WorkSafe.

''Following a series of independent investigations, these allegations were found to have had no substance or basis for a claim,'' Ms Macdonald wrote.

 

School plagued by bullying claims faces the loss of half its teachers, Ian Munro, 23 December 2011 :  http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/school-plagued-by-bullying-claims-faces-the-loss-of-half-its-teachers-20111222-1p79m.html

Angry teachers - apply for your documents. Find out what is really going on.

My advice for the many angry teachers and ex-teachers in Australia : start filing Freedom Of Information ( FOI - now called Right to Information or RTI ) requests.
 
Ask for copies of all your personal information is FREE.
 
Send them to DET in general but also to individual people in DET ( and TRB ).
 
You are legally entitled to access EVERY Government worker's email records in which they name you or discuss you.
 
I'm sure there are many people writing things about you that they don't want you to see.
 
Do it now.
 
Tell your friends.
 
Fight back!
 
 
Editor's Comment : This is really good advice.
 
My own experience suggests to me that the Queensland Labor government's Department of Education (for example) had a practice of 'blaming the dead man'.
 
If you got a transfer or retired, falsified documents could be put on your official records.
 
Any problem could be attributed to you.
 
It seemed to be a quick and easy way for departmental administrators to deal with problems.
 
Any problem with a casual teacher, a scripture teacher, any complaint by a parent, an allegation totally fabricated by a malicious principal or a principal with a mental health problem - all could be secretly placed on your file to create the impression that the documents concerned you.
 
And, after you have resigned or retired, you can't make any response to the allegations contained in these falsified documents.  
 
That's the official policy.
 
And the falsified documents can never be removed from your file. 
 
That's the official policy.
 
Because the official policies are written by the abusers. 
 
 
But will the Freedom of Information  / Right to Information documents be free?
 
I am not sure.
 
In my own experience, if there is a huge mass of falsified documentation on your official records, the department will release your FOI / RTI documents very slowly and very reluctantly, presumably because they are trying to figure out which documents are falsified and which are real.
 
And then the FOI / RTI documents will be free because of the long delay.
 
 
Frank of India of legally rumaging around in others' email accounts, Reader's comment 78 of 81,  Spear threat to NT teacher, Nigel Adlam, NT News, 24 January 2012 :   http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2012/01/24/285031_ntnews.html

Aggressive parents make Australian schools dangerous places for principals and even more dangerous workplaces for classroom teachers.

Dr Philip Riley, of Monash University's education faculty, conducted the Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey.

Dr Riley was shocked by the level of violence reported by principals.

One in three of Australia's state school principals was physically attacked or witnessed physical violence in their workplace during 2011, the survey found.

And most of the violence involved aggressive parents rather than students or teachers, principals told The Age.

Overall, the nation's school leaders experienced an incidence of physical assault six times higher than the general workforce.

 

''They told me the incidence of violence is probably worse for teachers because they're on the front line. By the time a parent has threatened a principal, they would have threatened two or three teachers,'' Dr Riley said.

 

Violence threat to school heads, Caroline Milburn, The Age, 5 March 2012 : http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/violence-threat-to-school-heads-20120304-1ub4g.html



Teaching has become a horrible profession.

I am a Beginning Teacher in an extremely difficult school, and I have to say that after only 2 years out of uni, I am already planning alternative career paths.

Teaching has become a horrible profession.

Adolescents are completely aware of their rights and the most we can do to discipline them is a joke to them.

Parents don’t discipline their children and don’t support teachers in trying to implement school-based penalties like after-school detentions or such.

I see bullying occurring and am completely powerless to do anything about it.

And the victims know it as well.

All I can do is tell them to fill out incident slips but they don’t bother with them because they know nothing will get done about it.

It’s just an endless cycle.

 

DB, Reader's Comment , Teachers are powerless to stop schoolyard violence, NSW High School Teacher, 01 September 2009 :  http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/teachers-are-powerless-to-stop-schoolyard-violence/

I am never going to teach in Australia again.

I am an experienced Australian teacher.
 
I made my way to Asia nine years ago and now I teach well behaved students.
 
Parental support is present, as is respect for education in general.
 
My pay and conditions are great and job satisfaction is positive.
 
ATTENTION all Australian state governments - look at how many graduate teachers drop out of the education system within their first four years of teaching.
 
Fix this problem.
 
I'm never teaching in Australia again!
 
 
Paul of Asia, Reader's Comment 112 of 122, Vicious little thugs in class of chaos as principals and teachers are abused, threatened or bashed in NSW, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2011 : http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/vicious-little-thugs-in-class-of-chaos-as-principals-and-teachers-are-abused-threatened-or-bashed-in-nsw/story-e6freuy9-1226187069204

Brisbane Girls' Grammar : male teacher suffers false allegations.

Between February 11 and June 13 2010, a male teacher at Brisbane Girls' Grammar was stalked by a female music teacher.

The female teacher circulated flyers which made baseless claims that the male teacher was a p-doph-le and warning students' parents to keep their girls away from him.

 

For the full story : Brisbane Girl's Grammar teacher stalked colleague, falsely accused him of being a p-doph-le, Tony Keim, 8 November 2011 :   http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/brisbane-girls-grammar-teacher-stalked-colleague-falsely-accused-him-of-being-a-pedophile/story-e6freoof-1226189164259

I know of almost no high school teacher who has not been assaulted or had their car vandalised.

I spent 14 years in Australian high schools.
 
I noted that people with trendy ideas usually wrote about them and rarely stayed around to see if they worked.
 
The idea of "open-plan" learning centres for example, was one such concept.
 
In reality the spaces were appallingly noisy, and rarely allowed a student to spend time doing quiet work without being distracted.
 
I was promoted several times on the basis of being a good teacher.
 
However, in the end you get worn down by constant fiddling with the curriculum; endless administrivia, and protectionism at work allowing incompetent teachers to be shielded.
 
Plus of course the gradual disappearance of discipline.
 
I know of almost no high school teacher who has not been assaulted or had their car vandalised.
 
 
 
Ex-teacher of Darwin, Reader's Comment 25 of 42, Trendy teachers cheat the poor and lay the groundwork for riots, Katharine Birbalsingh, The Australian, 23 September 2011 : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/trendy-teachers-cheat-the-poor-and-lay-the-groundwork-for-riots/story-e6frg6zo-1226143966471

Some private school principals have biased motives - they should not be allowed to make life-changing decisions concerning staff. We need a Royal Commission.

I'm aware of a Victorian private girls school where several excellent teachers and administration staff have been forced out by a principal's tactics that wouldn't stand up in a Court Of Law.
 
Many private school principals operate with impunity, outside of Due Process etc.
 
They are serial bullies with no leadership qualities, only their secret agenda.
 
Frankly a Royal Commission is warranted - and procedures to handle complaints implemented.
 
Principals must comply with Due Process and not be involved in manipulating the outcomes of investigations.
 
Principals with biased motives are not qualified to make life changing decisions concerning staff.
 
Where and how can this matter be seriously addressed ?
 
 
Disgusted by Principal's Bullying, Reader's Comment 16 of 79, Staff room turns into war zone as Indooroopilly State High School calls in mediators, Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail, 26 November 2010 :  http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/staff-room-turns-into-war-zone-as-indooroopilly-state-high-school-calls-in-mediators/story-e6freoof-1225961168304

Experienced private school teacher says he will never return to teaching in Townsville because of the 'toxic atmosphere'.

A 29-year-old male teacher, who was contracted with a local private school, said his temporary employment was not renewed for next term because he spoke out against his alleged workplace bullies.

He said it wasn't his first bullying experience in the Townsville school system after another contract was allegedly revoked due to similar issues.

The jilted employee claimed he was reprimanded in front of students, treated harshly and spoken to terribly, told he was unfit to teach and given extra work as punishment.

He refused to be named for fear of not receiving a payout from the private school.

He said his bullying complaints were not addressed and that filtered through to the classroom.

 

The experienced educator, who travels the country doing contract work at schools, said he will never come back to Townsville due to the "toxic atmosphere".

"If it were not for my extensive teaching experience in various locations I would have questioned my teaching abilities and left the profession," he said.

 

Claims school staff bullied, Townsville Bulletin, Roanne Johnson, 21 September 2010 : http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2010/09/21/171721_news.html

Melbourne University education graduate : no amount of money would attract me back to teaching. Unions and governments have failed teachers.

I was the top teaching graduate from Melbourne University in my year, and just quit the profession after only 3 years.

No amount of money could bring me back.

The research shows the main reasons high achieving graduates are leaving the education sector are more to do with -

  • schools not being properly resourced,
  • inadequate support staff,
  • stress,
  • and the need to do hours of unpaid overtime every week just to get by in the job.

Unions and state governments have failed the workforce on these issues, and the quality of education suffers.

Good young teachers are being wasted after four years at University.

I used to be a school teacher and it would not surprise me if some people thought that I wasn't a very good one.
 
Whilst I knew my subjects better than most, I was not able to control the behaviour of the individuals that do their utmost to ensure that as little as possible is learned and, in general, lessons are Hell on Earth.
 
I worked constantly after work trying to prepare lessons that I hoped would work.
 
Eventually I burned out and quit utterly depressed.
 
Since this time, I have worked in the public service full time, got a Masters degree and am now working on a PhD - all without working nearly as hard as when I was teaching.
 
My work in the public service is highly regarded and I'm happy and better paid.
 
The biggest problem is that teachers today have nothing at their disposal to ensure that classes are sufficiently orderly for learning to occur.
 
Some teachers manage better than others, but the system is broken.
 
Good young people are being wasted after four years of University.
 
If you sack them, who will replace them?
 
Not me.
 
The problem is - dealing effectively with badly behaved students.
 
It's obvious, but it's politically inconvenient.
 
It needs to be fixed.
 
  • Stanley Bruce, Comment 56 of 107, Make poor teaching a sackable offence, Christopher Bantick, The Australian, 26 April 2011

Teachers are being treated like whipping-boys.

Teachers are seen by everyone else as the whipping boys and girls.

They are expected to check emails as well as do the marking and the preparation for classes.

The children behave in ways that were never tolerated in the past.

The union is very often the lone voice speaking out on behalf of the teachers.

Instead of castigating the job that the union is doing, why not look at the infection of managerialism which requires teachers to do more with less supports and no more money, less respect plus feral children and parents.

Very often the union is the only thing that protects teachers from those who know all about teaching because they once went to school.

  • Educationist,  Reader's Comment, Full marks for teachers who make a difference, Dr Tanveer Ahmed, a psychiatrist, The Age, 5 April  2011  

Teachers have to work with what they are given. They can't reject substandard materials.

We teachers have to work with what we've been given.
 
We have virtually no control over the "inputs' (to use the corporate/industrial worldview).
 
If anyone in any other industry was sent some of the raw materials we have to work with, they'd send them back and sue the supplier.
 
A butcher can sue a slaughterhouse for sending spoiled meat.
 
A carpenter can gain satisfaction against a supplier of warped timber.
 
None of us would expect these trained professionals to produce world class work with substandard materials.
 
Teachers must do this every day, with no access to the recourse that other professionals enjoy.
 
Arbitrary key performance indicators that fit in with the dominant corporate/industrial worldview have very little relationship to the actual practice of education.
 
  • Sofaman, Reader's Comment, 18 March 2011 : Pay-rises and productivity: getting the best out of teachers, Winston Smith, Unleashed, ABC, 18 March 2011 

Dedicated teachers can't get permanent work.

My sister is an early childhood teacher.

She has no security of employment.

She is really devoted to teaching - her house is full of resources for school (years 1-3) but she has contract or relief work mainly.

The elusive permanent job may happen just before she retires as she came to teaching at about age 30.

When she has a contract she is completely focussed on school and spends many unpaid hours - but I don't think anyone really notices how much work she does - otherwise they would give her a decent secure position!

Dedication goes unrewarded except by the rewards of doing your job well.

But there is a limit.

Teachers should demand better.

I don't know any teacher who's been teaching less than five years who has a permanent position.

As a contract teacher, I do not get 11 weeks paid holidays each year.
 
While students get 11 weeks holidays, teachers work at least two of those on student free days (student free days mean just that - student free, not teacher free), leaving nine weeks holidays.

As a contract teacher I'm paid 3-4 weeks holiday a year, not including the two weeks I'm expected to work, unpaid, for student free days.

And I don't know any teacher who's been teaching less than five years that is on a permanent postion.
 
Adjust my salary for being unpaid for eight weeks a year and see how it measures up to other professions.

My average day is nine hours with (if I'm lucky) a 30 minute break, not including any time I do at home.
 
Calculate my actual hourly wage based on the hours I do, and my students get paid more stacking shelves at Woolies.
 

Experienced teacher : I believe that experienced teachers are treated poorly in the salary stakes.

We both worked very hard as teachers. 
 
Some classrooms were either too cold or very hot and had poor facilities.
 
Nothing has changed in most schools.
 
I know I worked hard to put my hand out each fortnight for my wage.
 
I recall cleaning school toilets and the bush classrooms.
 
But I loved my job.
 
Today's teaching conditions are still hard work - getting kids to learn and respect authority.
 
We would not like to "babysit" some of the terrors that parents fail to train at home.
 
My starting salary was certainly less than some of my in-laws who were truckies, carpenters and brickies.
 
But that was in the 60's.
 
I believe that good, experienced teachers are treated poorly in the salary stakes.
 
 
 
  • Petros, Reader's Comment, 22 March 2011 :  Pay-rises and productivity: getting the best out of teachers, Winston Smith, Unleashed, ABC, 18 March 2011 

Teachers have to deal with unprecedented amounts of unwarranted verbal and sometimes physical abuse from both students and parents.

My first profession was that of a teacher
 
With declining respect from the community and an increase in behavioural problems among students, teachers have to deal with unprecedented amounts of unwarranted verbal and sometimes physical abuse from both students and parents - who too often use teachers as emotional punching bags.

It's no accident that the levels of stress and depression in teaching are second only to those of police officers.
 
  • Malice in Wonderland, Reader's Comment, 19 March 2011 : Pay-rises and productivity: getting the best out of teachers, Winston Smith, Unleashed, ABC, 18 March 2011 

My mother - a primary teacher - has worked really hard for 40 years.

After watching my Mother teach primary for over 40 years, out on stations and also in cities, here's my observations :

She is at school well before you drop the kids off.
 
She works while you have your coffee break.
 
She is working while you're 'taking five' to check the news headlines on the net.

She works while you take your lunch break.

She works back after you pick up your kids.

She has to deal with everything from behavioural disorders, s_xual molestation cases, drug problems, divorce affected children, and maybe why your kids aren't fed properly.

At night, while you kick back with a coldie in front of the idiot box, she spends at least another two hours marking your kids work and preparing lessons for the next day.

Oh yeah those extended holidays she gets - days and days spent programming for your kids new curriculum.
 
  • Aaron, Reader's Comment, 19 March 2011 : Pay-rises and productivity: getting the best out of teachers, Winston Smith, Unleashed, ABC, 18 March 2011 

I have an insane duty of care in a practical class.

My 'teaching' day ususally starts at 6am for prep and finishes at 6pm with marking.
 
I also have only 1 day in my weekend where, after negotiations with my husband, I don't do any teaching stuff at all (unless he isn't looking).

I am a first year teacher and, yes, I make more in wages that I thought I would.
 
But I work in an underfunded school where I am buying and creating resources.
 
I also have a over loaded class (too many students - not enough equipment).

It's physically and emotionally exhausting - dealing with parents who either don't care or are ringing up because their son/daughter didn't pay attention to the due date (that was written on the task/assignment sheet, the board and verbally told every day) and that it was my fault and generally insulting and threatening me.

I have some brilliant kids im my class, but I also have some that are functionally illiterate because the parents have 'issues' and the kid has been moved around a lot.
 
These are often in the same classroom.

I am constantly told to keep the kids 'engaged' and find new things to do with them.
 
I also have an insane duty of care in a practical class.
 
On top of that I am involved in the school production and competitions.

There aren't that many of us that are here because of the pay.
 
  • Jim A, Reader's Comment, 19 March 2011 : Pay-rises and productivity: getting the best out of teachers, Winston Smith, Unleashed, ABC, 18 March 2011 

Lyneham, Canberra : school staff assaulted.

At about 11.20am on 7 April 2011, two girls were unlawfully on the premises of a high school in Lyneham, in Canberra's north.

The two girls were allegedly assaulting staff in an attempt to assault another girl.

Police were called.

The girls have been charged with aggravated robbery and a number of other offences.

  • Teens charged with Canberra school assault at Lyneham, AAP, The Courier-Mail : 7 April 2011

Maths teachers can get jobs in big cities, earning far more than teachers earn.

I'm an escaped maths teacher.

If you are numerate, teaching pays extremely poorly in comparison with some alternatives.

This is a problem of teachers' own making, as numerate Australians can get jobs in big cities.

Graduate teachers may start teaching with good intentions.

But it takes less than 7 years for a competent numerate graduate in other fields to get to a salary over $100,000 pa.
 
If they are willing to travel, double this.
 
By the time that they are 40, numerate, competent, qualified, experienced English speakers in various fields are on over $200,000 per year.

The (relative) vow of teacher-poverty breaks when the young maths/ physics/ geology teacher realises that they will never be able to afford the same suburb, same holiday, same spouse or same childrens' education as their more mercenary mates.
 
  • Polony, Reader's Comment, 19 March 2011 : Pay-rises and productivity: getting the best out of teachers, Winston Smith, Unleashed, ABC, 18 March 2011 

Classroom teacher resigns : fed up with the "car park mafia".

I resigned from teaching despite years of success, loving it and really valuing my students.
 
We won lots of awards and my students just loved being in my lessons.
 
I got fed up with the ever increasing number of neurotic parents, otherwise known as "car park mafia" who can make a teacher's life a misery - mostly women who don't work and have too much time on their hands.
 
I had one nut job parent who complained that I hadn't spent enough time helping her passive aggressive ten year old daughter choose the right colour texta. I gave up after 3 attempts!
 
Principals, desperate to be promoted out of pergatory (school) and away from daily idiotic complaints, are busy sucking up to the parents. This is known as 'community liaison'.
 
In the mean time, teachers are powerless pawns in a system that's gone wrong.
 
The way has been cleared for bullying parents who get together in groups to feel powerful and complain over "idiotic nonsense" that they would have had their butt kicked over 10 years ago.
 
Finally, the Department has no intention of supporting teachers as they are playing a political game of damage control, with teachers, the expendable commodity , just as the term "human resources" suggests :)
  • Reader's Comment, Fed up teachers form Educators at Risk support group, Yasmine Phillips, education reporter, The Sunday Times, 19 February 2011

Some students are so difficult to deal with that school administrators go into denial and adopt avoidance tactics.

Teachers need more support from administration when students are not behaving appropriately at a classroom level.
 
Some students' behaviour is so difficult to deal with that School Administration goes into denial and uses avoidance tactics.
 
The teacher is stopped from teaching the rest of the class who want to learn because of constant behavioural interruptions.
 
Whole school and parent accountability is required for success with this problem instead of the teachers being made an easy scapegoat for a huge societal problem.
 
Students with behaviour problems become adults who still have not become accountable for their behaviour.
  • Teacher Ms E .W., Reader's Comment 14 of 37,  Fed up teachers form Educators at Risk support group, Yasmine Phillips, education reporter, The Sunday Times, 19 February 2011

Parents : stop undermining your child's teacher.

I am a mother, an ex-high school teacher, and a medical professional working in paediatrics, so I have had a lot to do with children and have seen the same problems from all of these viewpoints.
 
The common denominator is that parents these days don't know how to be parents, they don't form a co-operative bond with the teacher, nor do they take an active role in the education of their child.
 
Parents - do your children a favour, support their teachers instead of undermining them and expecting them to do your job of parenting.
  • Fed-up Working Mother of Forrestfield, Reader's Comment 27 of 37, Fed up teachers form Educators at Risk support group, Yasmine Phillips, education reporter, The Sunday Times, 19 February 2011

 

South Australian teacher : Classroom teaching is one of the hardest jobs around.

I have gone from being a classroom teacher to working in a 9-5 salaried job.
 
I now work significantly less hours each year, for slightly more pay, and enjoy the 4 weeks holiday I get.
 
Classroom teaching is one of the hardest jobs around, it takes 6 ten hour days per week just to keep up with the marking, preparation and administration.
 
This leaves very little time for creativity or innovation in teaching.
 
In my experience it is much easier working in the "real world".
 
  • Paul of Adelaide, Reader's Comment 31 of 60, Why our teachers want to leave, Martina Simos, The Advertiser, 5 April 2011
 
 

Why I am quitting teaching.

I'm quitting teaching and it is not the kids.
 
It is the -
  • laclustre administrations trying to bring in meaningless changes just so they can secure their next tenure;
  • huge timewasting reporting duties;
  • failure to ensure a basic eductaion;
  • endless criticism of teachers by outsiders who don't understand that the teachers are voiceless victims of Departmental mismanagment and political interference,
  • abandonment of the needs of boys

- and so the list goes on.

  • Timl of Glenelg, Readers' Comment 20 of 60, Why our teachers want to leave, Martina Simos, The Advertiser, 5 April 2011
 

I am a retired teacher - I enjoyed teaching but I certainly don't miss the workload and the violent behaviour of some students.

I am a retired teacher now living overseas.

I found the last years of my career very stressful. The demands on teachers were incredible!

I taught in both government and private schools.

As an English teacher, I worked most weekends marking and writing programmes.

Although I enjoyed teaching, I certainly do not miss the workload and the violent behaviour of some students.

  • Julie of Subic Bay, Reader's Comment 1 of 60, Why our teachers want to leave, Martina Simos, The Advertiser, 5 April 2011

I will never work in a school again.

I completed my teacher training last September and for Term 4 worked as a relief teacher in local schools.

It gave me insight to places I will never go again.

I asked a teacher I respect immensely if I should become a teacher.

While she loves her job her answer was an emphatic NO!

Her job had become child care, not teaching as she was expected to teach all the social norms as parents no longer took that responsibility.

I am 44 and I am not prepared to tolerate abuse from parents and students.

I am also not prepared to tolerate administrators so far removed from classrooms that they have forgotten or will not acknowledge the hell that many of the WA schools are.

I feel for younger teachers who have to put up with workplace abuse.

These young teachers aren't stupid, many of them are passionate about teaching and they need support.

They need parents that will give a damn.

They need HOD's that will support them when there are problems.

And they need a professional body - YES teaching is a profession - that will be their advocate, that will pressure Governments to fix this very flawed system, not just take their registration fees every year and give them nothing in return.

 

Teachers work in hot, crowded rooms with no air conditioning.

I'm now in my 12th year of teaching high school kids.

The issues I have are mainly the result of cr_p government policy.

For example, the decision made to make school compulsory all the way to Year 12 has resulted in kids who do nothing but disrupt classes, coming to school to socialise only, being given the right to stay at school by law.

Five years ago these kids would have been given the boot within two weeks of school starting and the responsibility for their own kids would be handed back TO THEIR PARENTS.

That way the kids who want to learn did, and teachers could get on with their jobs.

My current school is pretty new and has -

  • no air con,
  • no working air con in demoutable classrooms,
  • no window keys for these same demountables (imagine working in 39 degree heat like last week with no open windows and no air con in a room with 25+ teenegers?),
  • some rooms with no fans or air con, 
  • one photocopier between over 17 staff which has only worked for about 8 of the 15 days so far this school year,
  • oversized classes in practical subjects

- and the response from the principal being "get over it"!!!

Then people wonder why experienced teachers are leaving and graduates quit early.

 

Last year I was wondering why the h_ll I was subjecting myself to an environment where I had no respect and no support.

I am a secondary teacher and I have been teaching for 3 years.

Last year I was thinking why the h_ll do I subject myself to this environment - no respect and no support for teachers.

I experienced a situation of harassment which went unpunished to protect the school's reputation.

Thank God I am at a better school now - I don't think I would be staying in this profession if I had to subject myself to such a negative environment day after day.

I need a permanent teaching job somewhere near my home.

Wake up, DET and offer me a permanent teaching job in a school somewhere remotely near my home so that I can bond with the students in my care and actually teach them - rather than spending 3 months every year applying frantically for the next teaching job when my contract ends.

Several of my friends and I are secondary school teachers in the state school system and are currently unemployed and "waiting for placement."

I LOVE teaching and WANT to teach in state high schools for people who cannot afford private education.

But I CANNOT tolerate not having a permanent job at a school somewhere remotely in the vicinity of my home and having a sad one year contract and job insecurity.

 EMPLOY ME long term please or, in desperation, I will be forced to look for work overseas.

Uneducated and gutless parents abuse teachers.

In a middle class demographic, in front of 31 students, a mother came into my class and communicated in an angry and loud voice how unhappy she was about an incident her son (who was in another class and year level) had informed her about.

No amount of calmly asking her to see a member of Admin to sort the situation out was responded to.

Even when she realised that her son had not recalled the incident truthfully (and therefore she had lost face) she continued to swear, degrade and rant.

All while 31 sets of eyes looked on stunned.

I was 35 weeks pregnant at the time.

Teachers are not sport.

Often people think that because they have been to school as a student that they know how to teach.

Being a teacher and being a student are two different things.

It is an uneducated and gutless act for parents to abuse teachers, police and medical staff.

Parents need to parent and let the teachers teach.

They are two different jobs.

  • Work together to educate, Reader's Comment 61 of 97, Special Report: Teachers reveal why they walked, Yasmine Phillips, Education reporter, Perth Now, 19 February 2011

Australian principals are gutless and don't back up their teachers.

I taught overseas for many years, but I will never teach in an Australian school.

There is a total lack of discipline!

Headmasters who are gutless and won't back up the teachers are half the problem.

Useless parents are the other half.

  • R Gray, Reader's Comment 24 of 97 Special Report: Teachers reveal why they walked, Yasmine Phillips, Education reporter, Perth Now, 19 February 2011

I am leaving the teaching profession.

I am a secondary teacher. I am currently in the process of leaving the profession.

Its a cr_p job. I don't even know where to begin to explain why.

Firstly, there is no respect for teachers and many of the kids don't want to learn.

There is constant classroom disruption and the students have attention spans of about one minute.

Often you need to demonstrate something that takes 10-15 mins but you either rush through it or you spend the whole time putting out spotfires.

The students argue and moan about everything - they have no discipline.

The school I work at is practically falling down, everything is broken, and the resources provided are terrible, so you have to do everything yourself and pay for your own resources.

Students are constantly disorganised without equipment, litter the school so it looks like a tip, and rarely hand in completed assignments despite being given ample class time.

Teaching is not a pleasure - far from it, it wears you down, wears you out and destroys your soul.

  • TC of Perth, WA, Reader's Comment 18 of 97, Special Report: Teachers reveal why they walked, Yasmine Phillips, Education reporter, Perth Now, 19 February 2011

Students who have no academic ability would be better off in the workforce.

One of the biggest social disasters of recent times is forcing young men and women to stay at school until they are 17.

Those who do not have any academic interest and who would be better off in the workforce are causing major disruptions to the classroom and are forcing teachers out of the public school system.

  • A Teacher of Perth, Comment 10 of 97, Special Report: Teachers reveal why they walked, Yasmine Phillips, Education reporter, Perth Now, 19 February 2011

What are the various teachers' unions and the Australian Education Union doing about the abuse of Australian classroom teachers?

Workplace abuse in schools is a nationwide problem - and the more people - teachers, students, parents - are informed, the more hope there is that something will be done about the situation.

Most of my career has been spent in New South Wales but I now live in Queensland and work as a supply casual teacher.

Teacher abuse is alive and well in NSW.

At one school where I worked no fewer than 12 teachers were either put on improvement programs or threatened with them over a period of five years.

This was a school with only about 200 children.

 

But the abuse of teachers at work is not confined to NSW and QLD.

It's Australia-wide.

And it is not the 'dud' teachers who are copping the abuse.

In my experience it's the efficient and caring teachers that get it in the neck.

I worked with a teacher in her 70's.

The principal had actually recruited this lady from Victoria.

She was to provide support for students with learning difficulties.

She brought with her a program that the principal didn't know anything about.

Once the principal got a set on this lady she sunk her teeth in like a bulldog.

She was such a nice lady that she didn't believe she was being bullied.

She thought she was doing something wrong.

In the end she just left and went back to Victoria.

She was broken, never to teach again.

 

The main cause of the problem as I see it is that a certain kind of person is promoted - people whose 'achievements' are made by treading on other people on the way up.

Promotion rewards this kind of behaviour and so it flourishes.

Helping the behaviour to flourish are policies and procedures that embed bullying as a management tool in the fabric of the department.

 

How many workplace bullies hide behind departmental 'policies and procedures' when accused of misconduct?

How many workplace bullies trot out the infamous 'Nuremburg defence' - "I had to follow orders"?

 

My question is :  What are the various teachers' unions or the AEU doing about the abuse of Australian classroom teachers?

As far as I can see - very little.

In fact my experiences have led me to suspect that union officials may be somehow complicit in 'keeping the lid on' the situation.

I believe the issue of teacher bullying is a sleeping giant and when it wakes up everything is going to hit the fan.

  • Comment made by email to the webmaster : 18 January 2011.

Teachers are bullied at work - and administrators are party to this inappropriate behaviour.

Speaking as a teacher of thirty years experience, bullying is alive and well in school workplaces.
 
The rhetoric is that workplace bullying is not acceptable, but I can testify it is tolerated within school hierarchies.
 
 
My colleagues tolerate and accept workplace bullying by fellow staff (teachers) because they have mortgages and bills to pay.
 
Creating waves means the possibility of further inquisition and intimidation.
 
Often the victim comes under extreme scrutiny and questioning causing lack of confidence and a feeling of being backed into a corner.
 
 
Schools will not move forward when the administrators are party to such inappropriate behaviour.
 
Schools can "talk the talk" re bullying - but unless school principals "walk the walk" it's meaningless. 
 

We had so many hopes and dreams in the 60's! And so many opportunities.

1 January 2011

Jo Chandler's exceptionally well-written story in The Age today concerns Sandy Stirling, a baby-boomer teacher. 

Jo captures so well the hopes and dreams of the baby-boomer generation.

And the range of opportunities that were open to baby-boomers.

How times have changed!

Sandy Stirling was born in Coburg in 1946.

As a newly minted teacher she headed bush, to Shepparton.

It was the 1960s and her head was full of the ideas of the age - that she would have an adventurous life.

Ms Stirling applied to Australian Volunteers International and found herself, age 45, teaching in Tonga.

 

She came home and quickly wearied of an education system that she felt was screwing her for every ounce of time and energy.

''In the end I just quit.

They could stick it.''

 

She taught in Darwin, in the Tiwi Islands.

She worked in Vanuatu.

Then in Africa.

Sandy started living on the pension last year.

She feels no desire to keep working - for money or identity.

She loves the freedom to indulge travelling, her art, and time in the garden.

 

This article is well worth reading in full -

Nagle Catholic College, Geralton, West Australia : teacher tackles aggressive 16-year-old boy to the ground.

Geralton's Nagle Catholic College is in Western Australia's midwest.

A Nagle College teacher was patrolling the school oval during lunchtime on 9 November 2010.

The teacher noticed a 16-year-old boy acting aggressively.

He tackled the 16-year-old Geraldton boy to the ground.

The teacher then realised that the boy had a flick knife clenched in his fist.

 

The boy had been walking past the College when one of the students allegedly shouted insults at him.

"He's taken offence to that and gone onto the school ground and approached the kid to belt him in the face," Acting Sergeant Colin Main said today.

 

Teacher tackles boy, 16, armed with knife, AAP, Perth Now, 9 November 2010 :   http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/teacher-tackles-boy-16-armed-with-knife/story-e6frg13u-1225951207605

Why I am getting out of teaching.

The following information was recently sent by email :
 
I am a teacher, who since graduating in 2006 has gone onto teach full-time at a private school for the one year, then by choice onto casual/relief work in predominantly the state system (80% time) and private system (20% time). I find it most illuminating to gain an insight in the perspective of my fellow teachers. It reinforces my reasons for wanting to leave teaching.
I am a 34 year old male. I teach in the S.E. Queensland region. I have four degrees aside from teaching. Two others include a degree in psychology and a masters in Philosophy, and am currently working on a PhD in a non-teaching field.
 
To state the obvious:
To be blunt I am shocked at the conditions teachers are forced to endure in the state system. The private system and the state system are, with a couple of exceptions, hard to compare. I understand why parents (those who are interested/can afford it) try to send their children to private school; especially for the secondary phase of their education. The governments in this country have colluded to slowly but surely establish a two-tier education system. Private schools have advantages state schools cannot offer. The principals can pre-screen undesirable students as well as expel them much more easily. Parents tend to me more involved, raise higher expectations for their children which most of the students absorb. Of course, more money means better facilities. The private schools I've worked at by far tend to have superior classroom equipment, teacher-student ratios and more support staff.
 
My situation:
To tell you the truth, I am running out of state schools I am willing to teach at (within 35-45 minutes driving time of a morning). Most of them offer quite a traumatic experience. I know I am not a bad teacher. I must admit I received an S2 rating by a principal who never saw me teach-not once! Likewise, I grant you my GPA is not perfect (6.72), and I could have had more experience with young people-only four years working in vacation care, three years as a private music teacher and two years working with special needs children as part of the QLD community visitor department (CCCYCG).
One full-time teacher for whom I often substitute for when she is sick once did say to me" Z... , you are a teaching tragedy!" When I asked what she meant, she said "in my last twenty years as a teacher in the state system I've never seen a more born-to-be teacher in such a hurry to leave the profession, but I completely understand why you want out!" I have to admit I was a little taken aback. And she is right, I am leaving teaching the moment my exit plan is finalised. What amazes me is that the QLD education system has any teachers left at all! For anyone who thinks good teaching is easy, I challenge them to do a bit of volunteer work (you'll need a blue card) for a half-a-day here or there at a couple of state classrooms/schools in their area.
 
What I know I won't miss as a teacher when I've left:
 
1.The atrocious behaviour.
I have very good behavioural management skills - I've been told this by more than a few number of teachers - usually the teacher at the other end of the classroom. Last Friday I was told 'Mr.Mitchell, they're were the quietest they've been all week, thank you for that'. Still the noise is horrendous. Thirty-one students crammed into one half a room with a cardboard thin partition and an open corridor in between.
 
Students are me-focused. In a grade seven class I taught yesterday, for every student with a decent work ethic there were three without. I follow all the behavioural management processes, charts, etc. It's still bad. The scary part is how often the teacher at the other end of the bloc tells me "you did great-they worked well". If that's working well, I'd hate to see them play up!
 
2.The poor teacher support
I send a student who has just told me to go 'F*** Yourself' down to the office. Half the time they're back within ten minutes as no one wants to mind them down there. In one case, the deputy informed me "he was too busy" and hung up! I'm dead serious. Most parents don't seem to care. For them, contributing to their child's education ends when they drop their little one off at the school gate or bus stop. Where is the teacher-parent communication?
 
3. The pay.
I can earn almost twice as much in the career I'm moving into now. Enough said.
 
4. The Respect.
Yeah it matters. I saw a film called 'two million minutes" that compared different education systems in different countries. Face it, Australia in breeds anti-intellectualism. Beyond any anecdotal evidence, one should go and research how much other countries such as Singapore, Norway and (yes it's true) the US invest in education as part of GDP. The message is clear. Teaching is not valued.  
 
Best wishes,
Z... M...
Soon-to-be non-teacher

St Margaret's Anglican Girl's School : 29 July 2010 update : Principal resigns.

Cynthia May, former deputy principal of St Margaret's Anglican Girl's School, forwarded an email to her partner, who works at Brisbane Boy's College.

The email was from the former events co-ordinator at St Margaret's.

The email highlighted issues at St Margaret's, primarily the dismissal of four other staff in the past two years.

 

"I have worked in numerous careers in different coutries and I have never before come across so many sackings, resignations and general unhappiness amongst staff," the email said.

 

Ms May was sacked for "serious misconduct" for forwarding the email to her partner.

In April 2010 Ms May was seeking $186,450 for lost wages, vehicle allowance, superannuation and damage to her reputation.

 

Another, anonymous email, is understood to have alleged a bullying culture within the school.

 

In May 2010 Ms May's claim was settled out of court.

In June 2010 the principal of St Margaret's resigned.

Asked about the allegations of a bullying culture at the school, school council chairman Joe Gibson said that the school council had recently "consulted widely with the staff, parents and other community members' on the matter.

"(The Council) had heard ... things they were concerned about," Mr Gibson said.

 

St Andrew's Christian School : July 2010 update : Hazel Bell, science teacher, claims she was made redundant two weeks after reporting concerns about behaviour of Frank Bailey, the school principal. Frank Bailey now found guilty of second offence.

Frank Bailey, now 46,  became principal of St Andrew's Christian School at Clarenza, near Grafton, in 2005.

Hazel Bell, a science teacher at the school, became concerned about Frank Bailey's interaction with students in late 2005, when he openly flouted the 'no touching' rule at the school.

Her husband, Jefferson Bell, contacted the Presbyterian Church of Australia, NSW, with their concerns.

In an email sent to the church in March 2006, Ms Bell and her husband raised a series of concerns, including the relationship between Bailey and the victim.

Ms Bell said the red flag really started waving for her when an item appeared in the school newsletter saying students had free will to love whoever they liked, and girls from broken homes were in particular need of a father figure as that was how their s--uality was determined.

But it was when Mr Bell saw a 15-year-old female student sit on Bailey's lap while out bowling with the church's youth group that the couple decided to act.

Fearing nothing was being done, he emailed a church staff member to inform them that Bailey was breaking the 'no contact' rule and inviting students to come to his house in the hours between school and youth group.

By November 2006, Hazel Bell was becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of action regarding Bailey's behaviour with students.

She made what she considered to be a formal complaint to deputy principal David Johnston and the board with her concerns about Frank Bailey's inappropriate behaviour with female students.

Mr Johnston told Frank Bailey about Hazel Bell's concerns.

Frank Bailey became enraged.

Hazel Bell received two disciplinary letters over the next few days.

Two weeks later her position at the school was made redundant.

And little or nothing appeared to have been done to address Bailey's behaviour.

 

In 2007 two Year 12 students also voiced their concerns about Frank Bailey's behaviour to other students and to the deputy principal.

Their reports were not checked.

Frank Bailey expelled both of these students.

 

Hazel Bell laid a complaint about Bailey with the NSW Ombudsman's office, DOCS and Presbyterian Social Services.

Ms Bell said she wasn't notified of the outcome of the Ombudsman's investigation.

But four months later, in October 2007, Bailey resigned from the school, effective from the end of the year.

A month after tending his resignation, Bailey repeatedly assaulted a 16-year-old female student in his home over the course of a week.

 

In October 2009 Frank Bailey pleaded guilty to five counts of s-xual intercourse with a 16-year-old under his care over four days in 2007.

The girl's mother only found out about the assaults three months after they happened.

Her daughter wanted to tell her, but couldn't.

Instead, the daughter asked her boyfriend to tell her mother.

The mother said her reaction was instant and instinctive: “I told him to hang up the phone so I could call the police.”

Bailey was charged two months later.

During his cross-examination in the NSW District Court in Sydney yesterday, Bailey cried and shook uncontrollably as he expressed his remorse.

At the time of the offences, he thought he was in love with the victim and that she loved him, Bailey said.

Ms Shead noted that when Bailey saw a psychiatrist he had denied having feelings of romantic love for the teenager.

His barrister, Bob Webb, submitted Bailey was a candidate for parole.

He said Bailey had shown "the deepest contrition and remorse".

 

In July 2010 Frank Bailey was found guilty of of having non-consensual s-x with another 14-year-old female student in August 2006.

Bailey had convinced the girl's parents to let her stay in his family's home in 2006 'to sort out her behavioural problems'.

The girl did not initially report the assault because she was afraid no one would believe her.

 

Hazel Bell said she was sickened to have her suspicions about Frank Bailey confirmed.

And she feels angry because she did what she was legally required to do as a teacher but other people did nothing.

Hazel Bell and the two Year 12 students are taking legal action against the Presbyterian Church for the damage caused to their reputations, their potential career paths and their earning capacity by the failure to respond appropriately to their concerns.

Hazel Bell seems to have been driven out of work for trying to report a problem with the behaviour of her school principal.

In 2004 I also reported my concerns about the mental health of a Queensland school principal to Ken Smith, the Director-General of Education.

I discovered several years later, after a Freedom of Information search, that all copies of my letters to Ken Smith had simply been 'lost'.

There is a need to develop a safe and effective process by which a Queensland teacher - and a NSW Catholic school teacher - can report a problem with the behaviour of a school principal.

Teachers and their families discuss their working conditions.

I was a high school History and English teacher for 20 years.

I left in 2002 as I had lost my sense of humour and will to get up in the morning.

I now run a public library which presents different challenges.

I loved teaching, but found the endless paperwork and continuing increase of 'duties' to be overly onerous.

The current Junior History syllabus had been distorted to the point political correctness gone mad.

I found myself apologising to the children for the continued repetition and irrelevance and resorting to a meaningless magazine collage in a vague attempt to make the topic engaging in some small way.

I have nothing but praise for those who have stuck with teaching, but make sure you take care of your personal health.

Lynda Smith : 29 Apr 2010 10:40:41am, Reader's Comment : The Drum Unleashed A day in the life of a teacher, Winston Smith, , ABC, 29 April 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2884844.htm

Gen Y with their short term attention spans (g8 lol roflmao brb, paw) are sick of having everything from a feminist, aboriginal, asian, gay/lesbian refugee perspective.

The top kids in Year 12 tell me all subjects have an Aboriginal perspective and it is rammed down their throats.

Even though white and black kids are all friends the kids can see the PC bullsh-t they have to learn.

As well our own Union is to the left of John Pilger and Mao so what chance have we got.

2) Discipline, what's that??

The other day I was called a F- - - ing C - - T because I dared to tell a student to not do a knock and run.

She then called three other teachers the same and got four days off school.

Gee that hurts doesn't it?

Defiance and verbal abuse are increasing problems.

Kids won't show for detention (and tell you to your face they won't) their parents won't let them do afternoon detention and the end result is suspension which is what they want.

If they hurt themselves as a result of the defiance you have to prove they said "No" or the Dept gets sued and you get in trouble for non duty of care.

Still we do it because most days we do make a difference to those who want to learn.

But it's getting harder and harder.

Dave C : 29 Apr 2010 10:20:54am, Reader's Comment : The Drum Unleashed A day in the life of a teacher, Winston Smith, , ABC, 29 April 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2884844.htm

 

I am the husband of a teacher.

We (as a couple) quite often have "discussions" about the amout of time spent in the study at home, the weekend work (and I get roped in here as well - MY weekend), and the personal dollars spent on resources.

Ben : 29 Apr 2010 10:15:18am, Reader's Comment : The Drum Unleashed A day in the life of a teacher, Winston Smith, , ABC, 29 April 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2884844.htm

 

I have just started working as a high school teacher and the psychological stress of teaching is far above that of other jobs, regardless of the actual hours and holidays involved.

I used to regularly work 70 hour weeks as a scientist and found it easier.

Shortly after beginning I am already eyeing the exit, and completely understand why few teaching graduates actually teach, and those that do teach tend to leave the profession rather quickly.

Give teachers back their autonomy and authority in the classroom and you will give back some work satisfaction. ...

Shazz :29 Apr 2010 12:59:45pm, Reader's Comment : The Drum Unleashed A day in the life of a teacher, Winston Smith, , ABC, 29 April 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2884844.htm 

 

 

My wife is a senior English teacher and has always worked extremely hard - there till well after 4 most days, weeknights for about 2+ hours at least, weekends for about a day all up, and through the last christmas holidays she worked basically everyday to get together and across new courses and texts.

And we have 2 little kids (5 & 4).

It's not sustainable and she'll have to cut back her load but the thing with being a teacher is that going "part-time" doesn't mean you get a day off, it means you have a few more gaps in your day - gaps which are quickly filled by filling in for absent teachers, or marking, or consulting with students/parents/colleagues.

So, in a way, she may as well stay fulltime as there's no diminution in the amount of time she spends there.

She doesn't complain - although she looks like death some days.

Teaching Widower : 30 Apr 2010 2:13:05pm, Reader's Comment : The Drum Unleashed A day in the life of a teacher, Winston Smith, , ABC, 29 April 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2884844.htm

 

 

This is a funny, well-written article and a very interesting discussion :

 The Drum Unleashed - A day in the life of a teacher, Winston Smith, ABC, 29 April 2010 : http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2884844.htm

Glen Huntly Primary School : assistant principal assaulted. Magistrate says this is the "ugly face" of parenting.

Mr John Maclean poked and pushed Glen Huntly Primary School assistant principal Bill Manuel in the chest and accused him of bullying his daughter, who was in grade 5 at the school.

Prosecutor Mark Stephens said Mr Maclean assaulted Mr Manuel and yelled he was a “f . . .ing bully” as children and parents watched.

“There were numerous teachers, parents and students still in the school,” Sgt Stephens said.

Mr Maclean, 54, of Caulfield South, pleaded guilty to unlawful assault, behaving in an offensive manner in a public place, using indecent language in a public place and failing to answer bail.

Moorabbin Magistrate Rod Crisp said John Maclean represented the “ugly face” of parenting.

19 January 2005 - this is a bit old, but it is interesting.

David Nicholls, a teacher at Dubbo North Public School, claims he was bullied at work.

Mr Nicholls said he and his wife Donna "lived for" their jobs at  Dubbo North Public School.

But he says both he and his wife were subjected to a prolonged campaign against them by staff that ultimately led to both teachers being forced to leave the school in March 2003.

Mr Nicholls said he worked harmoniously at the school for 10 years before the trouble started.

Mr Nicholls had taken over the Aboriginal Fund at the school.

Mr Nicholls said he found money was being misspent on activities not involving Aboriginal students.

On September 17 2002, 20 members of staff signed a letter addressed to Mr and Mrs Nicholls.

The letter said that as "united members of Dubbo North Public School staff" they were "disappointed and upset about the disloyalty you have shown", which was "unprofessional" and "demoralising to staff unity".

How strange.

Could this be mobbing?

A determination by the Workers Compensation Commission, settling pay entitlements for the teacher, stated that the bulk of "expert opinion" found Mr Nicholls "suffered a psychological injury" and that his job at the school was a major cause.

"It is my view that in her capacity as principal,  ... was remiss in failing to intervene as conflict between the applicant and other staff members escalated," arbitrator Craig Tanner found.

30 March 2010

At about 10.40am on 30 March 2010, in the grounds of at the Gold Creek School's senior campus in Canberra's north, two juveniles used a golf club and a stick to hit two teachers and one student

Windows were also broken in the attack.

Several people were treated for minor injuries.

The school was put into temporary lockdown.

21 March 2010
 
A NSW principal at an unnamed Illawarra-region school was abused at work in December 2009.
 
Two Year 6 girls at the unnamed school separately claimed they had been indecently assaulted throughout the school year by a group of male classmates.

"Five male students were interviewed by the principal and statements were obtained.

All were immediately suspended and their parents notified," a NSW Education Department's School Safety and Response Unit report discloses.

"Three families accepted the suspension, however two disputed the facts that led to the suspension."

The report states that family members later abused the school principal and one of the victims, forcing her to be taken to hospital by ambulance and leading to an investigation by police.

11 March 2010
 
The staff of a primary school in the Redlands area - in Brisbane's southeast - have moved a motion of no confidence in their school prinicpal.
 
And Education Queensland has confirmed that a principal is under investigation for bullying.
 
This same principal had to be removed from two other Queensland schools following similar complaints.

He was disciplined after an incident in a previous school where he allegedly raised his hand to strike a female staff member.

Following his removal, The Courier-Mail understands the principal was placed in head office at Education Queensland.

So poorly-performing school principals are "disciplined" by being sent to work in the Head Office of Education Queensland?

Doesn't that seem a bit odd?

Then he was sent to the Redlands school, where he's remained for at least six years.

The Education Queensland "principal discipline process" seems to be totally ineffective.

Education Queensland has a duty of care to employees - they have a responsibility to protect classroom teachers from bully principals.

Education Queensland need to take that responsibility a LOT more seriously.

And parents need to understand that their children are bullied at school because their teachers are bullied at school.

Swallowcliffe Primary School, Adelaide : 12-year-old students hit teacher on head with brick.

At  Swallowcliffe Primary School in Adelaide, a teacher was on playground duty.

Two twelve-year-old students threw a brick at her, hitting the teacher in the back of the head.

As the teacher lay on the ground semi-conscious, the two students stole her office keys.

Then the students stole more than $400 from the teacher's purse.

 

More information : Adelaide Now

Indooroopilly State high School : teacher Rob Wiltshire has raised asbestos concerns "dozens of times".

 

Rob Wiltshire is an Indooroopilly State High teacher.

Yesterday Rob Wiltshire said that Education Queensland had failed to act on repeated warnings that asbestos and debris had fallen from damaged ceilings in corridors and classrooms on to furniture in the Indooroopilly State High science block.

Rob said debris also had fallen out of the damaged staff room ceiling on to a staff member late last year.

He said that another teacher from learning support was also considering legal action, claiming that the asbestos made them sick.

"I have raised it dozens of times with the principal over the past two years," he said.

"The principal has tried her best but she has not been listened to by the department, as the maintenance budget is not there."

The principal wrote a letter to parents last June over asbestos concerns after one leak.

 

Queensland Education Minister Geoff Wilson agreed that water had repeatedly leaked through damaged ceiling tiles last year.

The asbestos register shows damaged ceiling sheets are "presumed" to contain asbestos.

"The ceiling is due to be replaced in time for the start of school next week," Geoff Wilson said.

"All asbestos in the ... science block is in a safe condition."

 

But Rob Wiltshire said workers only went into the school this week to fix the issue after Courier-Mail inquiries.

 

 

Teacher claims government covered up high school asbestos problem, Patrick Lion, The Courier-Mail, 23 January 2010

 

St Laurence's Catholic College, South Brisbane : brave teacher steps between gang member with meat cleaver and two injured students.

Two students at St Laurence's Catholic College, in South Brisbane, were slashed with a meat cleaver on 28 July 2008.

Judge John Newton said it appeared it was only through the bravery of teachers who came to the boys' rescue that no other students were injured.

Crown prosecutor Glen Cash said one male teacher put himself in ''harm's way'' by stepping between the boy wielding the meat clever and the two injured students.

Other teachers then came rushing to his aid.

''It is made clear ... (the teacher) and other teachers at the school ... acted with bravery ... and must be commended,'' Mr Cash said.

A hooded and bandana-wearing vigilante gang had entered the school grounds during a lunch break.

One of the Catholic College students was left with a seven centimetre-long gash to his left cheek which required 60 stitches.

Another student required nine stitches after he was slashed across his back as he tried to run away.

All eight gang members fled when confronted by teachers.

The attack was sparked by an allegation a number of Year 10 boys at the college had raped the sister of one of the vigilante gang members.

But the two victims were not those the girl had accused.

They were "wholly innocent victims in the matter", Glen Cash told the court today.

 

 

Jail after horrific cleaver attack at school, Tony Keim, The Courier-Mail, 27 November 2009

Gasps as school meat cleaver attacker faces court, Amelia Bentley, The Brisbane Times, 27 November 2009

 

 

13 October, 2009

Margaretta Slingsby, 58, was an Italian teacher at Lismore Heights Public School in northern NSW.

In about March 2005 a nine-year-old student "B" threatened her: ''I'm going to get you, Slingsby slut.''

Ms Slingsby took time off from work to recover from the shock of the student's abuse.

Two months later, she saw "B" chasing a girl into the library, screaming, ''You f---ing slut, I'm going to get you.''

Ms Slingsby and the librarian restrained him, but the boy kicked them both and punched the librarian.

"B" was taken away by the principal but returned and again attacked Ms Slingsby.

''He came up behind me and tried to push me down the stairs,'' she said.

''He grabbed me by the hair and was dragging me.

I could feel my hair being ripped out of my scalp.''

The boy punched a female staff member who tried to intervene and threw rocks and dirt in Ms Slingsby's face.

Later, she said, she was sitting in the staffroom when B ''came tearing in'' with the principal in pursuit.

The boy ''grabbed me by the hair and he threw me down on the ground''.

"B" was involved in several other violent incidents at the school.

Ms Slingsby was depressed after the student's second attack.

She couldn't sleep.

She is now unable to teach and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

She is suing the NSW Education Department for negligence.

Andrew Lidden, SC, is Margaretta Slingsby's barrister.

Andrew Lidden said that Lismore Heights Public School had more than its share of unruly children.

And that while the pupil involved - known for legal reasons as B - had a history of ''at times quite violent misbehaviour'', the school had no plans in place to manage his extreme behavioural problems.

Margaretta claims that the NSW Education Department was negligent in  -

  • failing to ascertain the student's history of violence and abuse,
  • failing to suspend him after the March incident,
  • and enrolling him in the school when it is not safe for his teachers or for the other students.
  • Nine-year-old dragged teacher by hair, court said, Kim Arlington, The Independent Weekly, 13 Oct 2009

  • Teacher 'depressed' after student attack, AAP

Teaching has become a horrible profession.

I am a Beginning Teacher in an extremely difficult school, and I have to say that after only 2 years out of uni, I am already planning alternative career paths.

Teaching has become a horrible profession.

Adolescents are completely aware of their rights and the most we can do to discipline them is a joke to them.

Parents don’t discipline their children and don’t support teachers in trying to implement school-based penalties like after-school detentions or such.

I see bullying occurring and am completely powerless to do anything about it.

And the victims know it as well.

All I can do is tell them to fill out incident slips but they don’t bother with them because they know nothing will get done about it.

It’s just an endless cycle.

 

DB, Reader's Comment , Teachers are powerless to stop schoolyard violence, NSW High School Teacher, 01 September 2009

Jane Watts, a 30-year veteran teacher, has had her career and her life destroyed.

Jane Watts, a 30-year veteran teacher from Chorley in Lancashire, England, has established a website to support teachers who are falsely accused of child assault -

http://teacherallegation.blogspot.com/

"Over the coming weeks, months and maybe years, I will provide a diarized account of my story that ultimately led not only to my dismissal but the utter destruction of my career and my life.

No one should have to endure my experience and I will continue to fight for a review of existing legislation."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGbmTRxBMi4&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fteacherallegation%2Eblogspot%2Ecom%2F&feature=player_embedded#t=124

 

Don't you just love the way that Pommie teachers refuse to "accept the things you cannot change"?

Pommie women grew up singing "Fight the good fight with all your might!"

And that is what they do.

 

Their fathers did not fight, suffer and die in World War Two "for freedom" so that their daughters could be driven out of work by the gossip of silly dim twits, incompetents and psychopaths.

English women do not "accept the things you cannot change".

It's a cultural thing.

Dr Robert Bartholomew warns other teachers about teaching conditions in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Friday 7 August, 2009

Last year Dr Robert Bartholomew publicly aired his concerns about the asbestos risks and the third-world conditions at Alekarenge School, which sits on the edge of the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Robert Bartholomew claims that he and his wife were black-listed after blowing the whistle.

The Northern Territory Department of Education insisted that the "asbestos status" of the school was safe.

Then Dr Bartholomew and his wife say that the Department used a secret file to paint them as incompetent.

Now Robert Bartholomew is teaching on a short-term contract in New Zealand.

He has started a website http://teacherswithintegrity.com/ , warning other teachers not to go to the Northern Territory of Australia.

"By launching this website I may not have my contract renewed but it's worth the risk," Dr Bartholomew said.

 

Northern Territory Education Department spokeswoman Zoe Malone yesterday denied the department "blacklisted" teachers.

Zoe Malone said Dr Bartholomew's complaints had been investigated - but he continued to "agitate" the same issues!

 

Australian Education Union NT head Adam Lampe said departmental procedure did not appear to be followed in Robert Bartholomew's case.

So what did the Australian Education Union do to support Robert Bartholomew, Mr Lampe?

  •  Stay away, says ex-NT teacher, Alyssa Betts, Northern Territory News.

Lesley Warren, Teacher and Assistant Principal at Byron Bay Public School, New South Wales, wins unfair dismissal case.

1 July , 2009

On 17 December 2007 NSW teacher Lesley Warren received a letter from the NSW Department of Education and Training to advise her that she had been appointed Assistant Principal at Byron Bay Public School.

Lesley Warren was 53 years old and had an outstanding employment history.

But shortly afterwards a Departmental officer telephoned Lesley and directed her not to return to work.

And Lesley received a letter of dismissal from the NSW Department of Education and Training.

In brief, the Department claimed that they could not reasonably accommodate Lesley's health concerns:

  • a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to a resin found in some adhesives, paints, cleaning products, etc.
  • balance problems that made it difficult for Lesley to engage in activities requiring quick movement.
  • a slight right side hearing loss.

Lesley was supported by the NSW Teachers' Federation in challenging the NSW Department of Education and Training's decision.

The Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales found that the dismissal was unfair because:

  • Lesley was not allowed to speak to the person who made the decision to dismiss her. This was a denial of Natural Justice.
  • problems with the process by which it was decided that Byron Bay State School could not accommodate Lesley's medical restrictions.
  • the Department's letter of dismissal contained at least one crucial factual error.
  • etc.

Congratulations to Lesley Warren and to the NSW Teachers' Federation for supporting Lesley Warren so effectively.

Ryan Catholic College : teacher dies after being abused by a belligerent parent.

Friday 22 May 2009

Ryan Catholic College principal Andrea O'Brien blames a belligerent parent's tirade of abuse for a teacher suffering a heart attack.

Ms O'Brien used her school newsletter address yesterday to "convey her concerns'' over the behaviour of parents and students.

Ms O'Brien said the teacher had been "verbally abused and intimidated'' while trying to enforce the use of the school's supervised crossing. 

The argument led to the female teacher suffering a heart attack a few hours later.

  • Abusive parent 'gave teacher heart attack', Conal Hanna, The Brisbane Times.

Alwynn Jones, teacher at Hunter River High School, is awarded compensation.

Alwynn Jones began teaching at Hunter River High School in New South Wales in 1998.

Mr Jones complained to the NSW Workers Compensation Commission that the New South Wales Department of Education had failed for ten years to provide him with a safe and stress free working environment.

He was awarded compensation.

Mr Jones was found to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of his exposure to a series of traumatic events at Hunter River High School.

In 2004 three WorkCover Improvement notices were issued to the school.

In 2005 staff meetings were discontined at Hunter River High School because "too many staff complained about things".

Mr Jones was harassed by two students for two years.

He took out a personal AVO against one of the students because he claimed that the school executive refused to deal with the student's behaviour.

 

8 May 2009 (Various other traumatic incidents at Hunter River High School are described on the NSW Workers Compensation Commission website.)

Ex-teacher : I have never had a second of regret about my decision to leave teaching.

I resigned after teaching for 6 years and have now been a police officer for 10 years.

As nice as it is to be all warm and fuzzy about what a rewarding job teaching is, the fact is that a lot of the time it is just plain thankless.

Poor pay, increasingly atrocious behaviour from both students and parents, soft discipline guidelines that favour problem children at the expense of the teacher and other students, countless unseen hours of unpaid work in your own time, a revolving door of curriculum & policy changes with every change of government, etc etc.

I have never had a second of regret about my decision to leave teaching & it would take more than just decent pay to ever coax me back.

Teachers are largely overworked, stressed, underpaid & underappreciated.

No thanks.

 

  • AJ, email to The Sunday Mail, 30 November 2008

The Kings School : teacher seriously harassed by three students.

A teacher at The Kings School, one of Australia's most exclusive private schools, has allegedly been seriously harassed by three students.

The Daily Telegraph revealed that the male teacher was targeted by aggressive behaviour that "went beyond verbal harassment" over a period of time earlier this year.

Headmaster Timothy Hawkes refused to comment on the condition of the teacher, saying it was an "internal matter".

 

Teacher bullies booted from elite school, Bruce McDougall and David Barrett, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian, 11 November 2008

Marylands High School NSW : teacher hit over head while trying to protect students from armed gang of teenage intruders.

A male teacher was hit over the head as he tried to stop five teenagers armed with baseball bats and a machete who were rampaging through Marylands High School

Police said five youths stormed an assembly in an outdoor quadrangle at 8.5AM on Monday 7 April 2008, brandishing baseball bats and a machete.

Teachers "locked down" the school.

Students were locked inside their classrooms for safety.

Teachers began to take a roll call to make sure their student groups were all there.

At this point the teenagers started to smash windows.

The students were told to get under tables while the teenagers were smashing the windows.

The male teacher was taken to hospital with bruising to the back of his head.

The male teacher had been injured when he tried to restrain one of the youths, the Ambulance Service of NSW said.

18 students were injured in the attack.

Most had cuts and abrasions from broken glass. 

One girl was taken to Westmead Children's Hospital with a swollen cheek after allegedly being assaulted by one of the teenagers.

Det-Insp Stewart said he was stunned by the brazenness of the incident.

"It beggars belief ...," he said.

The unnamed mother of a Year 12 student praised the actions of teachers who put their lives on the line to protect the Merrylands High School students during the attack.

"The teachers were actually (barricading) the door for these guys which is really way above the call of duty, which is really good," the parent said.

"They showed the parents that they put their life on the line for the kids".


School attack may have been revenge, Simon Kirby, Karen Davis and Danny Rose, AAP, The Courier-Mail, 7 April 2008

Retired teacher Lynda Beck : children nowadays are more disruptive and violent than they were a generation ago.

Teacher Lynda Beck of Rozelle retired one year ago.

Monday 17 March 2008

Former NSW Central Coast teacher Richard Neville is one of many who has left the profession out of fear for their safety.

He ended his 12-year career as a high school teacher after two students attacked him with scissors and a lump of wood.

Now a fireman, Mt Neville said he found the job "safer than teaching".

"The boy who came at me with the pair of scissors and the one who took the swing at me with a lump of wood were 13 year olds," Mr Neville said.

Department of Education and Training incident reports show teachers are regularly threatened with firearms or other weapons - from broken bottles to knives - by students, parents or intruders.

The issue tops the list of teachers' concerns in secondary schools (more than 65 per cent).

 

  • Teachers flee schools as attacks rise, AAP and the Daily Telegraph,  17 March 2008

 

Friday February 22, 2008

P. McGowan of Thornlie wrote a Letter to the Editor of The West Australian (The letter was also quoted on the PLATOWA website) -

"I am in my 50s and have been a teacher for more than half my life.

I have always had a sense of pride in my chosen profession and my ability to do a good job.

I feel that I have been a positive influence in the lives of the many children I have taught.

"I still enjoy the craft of teaching but now I find myself feeling that I would like to pull the pin on my career.

I am unable to do this because of my personal circumstances; in fact, I will need to continue working for a significant number of years.

I will continue to do my utmost to do the best job that I am capable of. The (job) is too important to do otherwise.

"I now find myself heading into the last phase of my career feeling undervalued, overworked, frustrated and depressed.

Sadly, I suspect that I may be voicing the feelings of many of my mature-age peers. ...

"The workload has more than doubled in the course of my career, actual teaching seeming to have become secondary to the continually increasing demands on teachers to produce data, evidence and assessment facts and figures.

These massive and growing demands for documentation, although having a place, rob teachers of time which could be better spent devising effective, interesting and even innovative ways by which they could be optimising the learning opportunities of the children in their classrooms.

"Those who know and live with teachers bemoan widely-held negative attitudes about our "short" working days, long holidays and "high" salaries; they are often our only advocates.

 

Tuesday, February 5 2008

NSW Kindergarten teacher (discussed in a series of emails) -

 
I was a Kindergarten Teacher in NSW and I had been offered a full year's contract.
But I was pregnant.
The principal told me that I could no longer remain on the class because I was pregnant.
She was worried that I would need time off for medical appointments and that I might become ill during the pregnancy.
So I lost the job.
 
I contacted the union.
They told me that it was discrimination and they promised me help.
But I heard nothing.
I called again and there was no record of my phone call.
This happened on a number of occasions.
 
The principal gave me a job for half a day, every day, sharing with the reading recovery teacher.
 
She asked me if I would return in Term 4, after my baby was born, to teach in the mornings only every day.
I could not guarantee this as it is difficult to get child care for half a day.
She told me that if I didn't come back in term 4 that I would not get a job the next year.
So I arranged care for half a day every day through family and friends.
 
But then the reading recovery teacher decided to have the class full time, so I lost that job as well.
 
I ran the bookclub for the school.
I sought some help on how to set it up from one of the admin ladies.
This admin lady suggested that the bookclub be run a certain way so that cash was not taken out of the school grounds.
I followed her suggestion.
Later the admin lady seems to have complained about how the bookclub was being run in the hearing of the principal.
 
I felt very disadvantaged on a part-time contract.
For example, I was not allowed to attend a professional development course because I was only contracted for half a day.
 
I was only a first year teacher, and I can honestly say that I don't think I could return to teaching.
 
I could not hand in a resume to another school and have then call the school I previously worked as for a reference, as I know that I would not get good comments.
 
I am unable to work casually as I can not afford to put my baby into childcare in the hope that I will get a phone call each day.
 
I have worked so hard to get where I am.
I had a baby at 16 but struggled my way through fulltime school and uni, all to become a teacher.
And this is where I am today.
Its very sad and such a waste of time and effort.
I just wish there was some help for teachers out there, especially temp teachers that get walked over.
 
The system is against us.

 

Monday, February 4 2008

John Daicopoulos, a four-year honours (physics) graduate with a second degree specialising in physics education, wrote an On Line Opinion Article:

Having happily taught physics for 17 years in two countries he has recently opted to leave the profession because -

 A physics graduate with hopes of becoming a teacher has no ability to adjust or amend the collective teacher working conditions that govern education.

This lack of negotiating power (or even permission) is perpetuated by union collective agreements (negotiated in good-faith by all stake-holders).

What is the motivation to gaining a full honours degree in physics then learning to teach, when you can simply enter a teacher training program learning some physics along the way?

And Western Australia is toying with the idea of allowing lower than normal TEE scores for acceptance into teacher training programs and the dilution of academic skills and qualifications continues.

What value should we place on a full honours degree qualification?

Great value.

Assuming one decides to give-it-a-go entering the profession fully qualified with a contract negotiated in good faith, what are the conditions that will affect the physics-teacher’s level of work satisfaction?

Outside of the same demands placed on all teachers, it will most likely be the physics (and science) curriculum.

Today’s physics curriculum (or syllabus if you prefer) has become entrenched with an emphasis overly based on teaching engineering, or on entertaining students with so-called hands-on activities.

With an incessant compulsion for making physics practical, hands-on or worse yet, fun, the educational establishment has watered down physics to the point that it is of little interest to the physicists who teach it.

Although physics can (and should) be applied, it is a fundamental science that must be taught promoting scientific ideals.

Building bridges of spaghetti is not enough.

If the very calibre of teacher we desire to teach difficult and technical subjects like physics and mathematics is choosing not to teach, then many features of education need to change before they choose otherwise. The compulsion to change ought to rest within the system.

 

This is an interesting article that raises quite a few new issues.

It is written by an intelligent teacher - a species that may soon become extinct.

John also writes about the endless paperwork necessary to gain teacher registration in Queensland.

What John may not realise is how easily his qualifications, his career and his health can be destroyed in Queensland with malicious gossip and a few scribbles on sticky-notes.

A full copy of the article can be found at -

 

Wednesday December 12, 2007

Zakarie Sloan of East Brunswick wrote a letter to the Editor of the Age.

His wife is a teacher.

He is angered and disgusted by the way that his wife has been treated.

She has worked hard for three years.

Her pay has been poor, but they put up with that.

But now she has been effectively sacked.

She will have no holiday pay and she will have no maternity leave (she is pregnant).

She was not sacked because she was performing poorly.

She has worked hard and performed beyond the expected level of commitment.

She was sacked because she was on a contract. 

How many people have to re-apply for their jobs every two or three years?

 

Wednesday December 5, 2007

Michael Griggs of Lidcombe, NSW wrote a letter to the editor of The Australian:

He has taught high school for more than 30 years.

During that time his salary has been eroded, his conditions of work undermined, and his time wasted by "one idiotic panacea after another" emanating from politicians, university academics, journalists, greasy-pole-climbing principals and well-meaning parents, all of whom knew "diddly-squat" about teaching and learning.

Syllabuses changed almost as often as he changed his shirt.

Nobody ever checked to see if any of these "idiotic panaceas" were actually doing any good.

  • PLATOWA

 

Monday December 3, 2007

Ex-teacher R.J. Burns emailed The Courier-Mail :

"I walked away from a 20-year teaching career that I loved due to undisciplined students who have no respect, are openly arrogant and receive no serious consequences for their behaviour.

I became tired of explaining to parents that their child behaves like a brat at school.

When you try to convince them that their son / daughter really is a little monster in the classroom, you then have to defend your own teaching style, classroom management and even your personality.

Parents - wake up and start teaching your children what respect really means.

And show some yourself when dealing with teachers.

I will never return to secondary teaching as I can only see this problem getting worse."

  • The Courier-Mail
 

 

Saturday 6 October, 2007

Judith Szalontai of Wendouree wrote a letter to the editor of The Melbourne Age.

Judith had decided to go to uni at the age of 40, to train to be a teacher.

She gained a Dip Ed with high distinctions.

She spent five years doing casual teaching and short teaching contracts.

She had no stability, no security, no holiday pay.

She was threatened with violence by students and teachers.

She was unemployed for five months and finally decided to take a non-teaching job.

What a waste of effort.

  • The Age

 

Friday 21 September, 2007

 
An Ex state-school teacher from Stanmore contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in The Daily Telegraph.
 
When an allegation is made against you, you are told not to discuss it with anybody.
 
You are isolated.
 
Your students wonder why you have suddenly left the school.
 
Try to imagine the stress of leaving your school in this strange way.
 
Even thinking about the situation is stressful.
 
Teachers are not being treated fairly.
  • False complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph
 
 
Thursday 20 September, 2007
 
An Ex state-school Teacher contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in The Daily Telegraph.

Her experience has led her to believe that the Federation do not "see" the size of the problem of false allegations against teachers.

They are distracted by their own agendas.

They are unresponsive to the needs of members who are the subject of false allegations.

The Employee Performance and Conduct Directorate process for dealing with allegations is frightening.

  • False complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph

Sunday 30 November, 2008

"AJ" emailed The Sunday Mail:

"I resigned after teaching for 6 years and have now been a police officer for 10 years.

As nice as it is to be all warm and fuzzy about what a rewarding job teaching is, the fact is that a lot of the time it is just plain thankless.

Poor pay, increasingly atrocious behaviour from both students and parents, soft discipline guidelines that favour problem children at the expense of the teacher and other students, countless unseen hours of unpaid work in your own time, a revolving door of curriculum & policy changes with every change of government, etc etc.

I have never had a second of regret about my decision to leave teaching & it would take more than just decent pay to ever coax me back.

Teachers are largely overworked, stressed, underpaid & underappreciated.

No thanks."

  • The Sunday Mail

 

Tuesday 11 November, 2008

A teacher at The Kings School, one of Australia's most exclusive private schools, has allegedly been seriously harassed by three students.

The Daily Telegraph revealed that the male teacher was targeted by aggressive behaviour that "went beyond verbal harassment" over a period of time earlier this year.

Headmaster Timothy Hawkes refused to comment on the condition of the teacher, saying it was an "internal matter".

 

Teacher bullies booted from elite schoolBruce McDougall and David Barrett, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian

 

 

Tuesday September 16, 2008

Maths teacher Natalie Dove was being hailed a hero today.

A gang of five youths, two of them carrying knives, invaded the grounds of Marymount College on the Gold Coast during the busy lunch hour.

Natalie Dove stepped in to protect the students after a male student had been punched to the ground.

A 25cm kitchen knife was held to her head.

Construction worker Justin Gibson, who was building a new basketball court on the oval, grabbed a star picket to chase the gang away while a colleague brandished a shovel.

They chased the gang away.

Mr Gibson said he could not believe the how brazen the gang members were.

"They kept coming," he said.

"When I grabbed the star picket, one of the kids with the knife said 'you can't do anything, you'll get fired'.

"I said to him, 'mate, I'm not a teacher, I'll hit you if you pull a knife'."

 

Teachers are expected to step in to stop fights.

They can be de-registered if they fail to step in.

In 2002 a male teacher was on yard duty at Langwarrin Secondary College when a group of girls aged around 16 started yelling at each other.

A brawl developed, the teacher sent for help but did not try to separate the brawling girls.

The Education Department sacked the teacher.

Their decision was backed by the Industrial Relations Commission.

And the Victorian Institute of Teaching cancelled his registration (see details of this case below).

But,

as this student with the knife clearly knew, teachers can also be sacked for dealing violently with children.

So this student knew he could safely attack a teacher, male or female, because teachers are vulnerable.

But, as soon as he realised that the construction worker was not a teacher, the student with the knife became afraid and ran away.

  • Teacher a hero as armed teens invade school, Greg Stolz, The Courier-Mail.

  • Armed youths invade school, Greg Stolz, The Courier-Mail.

Wednesday 23 July, 2008

Leah Upson topped her year at Edith Cowan University.

She was hailed by the department's then boss, Paul Albert, in 2005 after winning an industry award for her efforts at Tom Price Primary School.

She moved to Melville Primary School two years ago.

Leah Upson has been one of the faces of a WA campaign to lure teachers back into the profession.

As late as yesterday Leah featured on an internet page in which WA Education Minister Mark McGowan proclaims plans to attract and retain teachers.

But Leah Upson quit teaching this year.

She said that she had enjoyed the classroom but found her nights and weekends were filled with reporting and preparation requirements.

She had also been refused leave without pay.

Leah Upson is now an office administrator with a minerals exploration company.

She is working a lot fewer hours for more money.

  • Department fails to keep brighter faces of teaching , Inside Cover (page 2), The West Australian

 

Friday 11 July, 2008

Jessica Jackman of Bayswater had taught in schools all over Western Australia for ten years.

In the past three years she had worked her way up to a permanent, level three position in a Perth school.

In 12 months she would have been due for her long service.

But she has just handed in her resignation.

It was one of the hardest decisions that she had ever had to make, but she felt that it was her only option.

"I have no energy left to fight a battle that is unwinnable."

Her peers have spent their twenties making extraordinary amounts of money, buying property and travelling the world.

She has spent her twenties being abused by parents, assaulted by students, treated with contempt by the Government and DET and forced to endure working conditions that no private employee would even consider.

There is a staffing crisis in WA schools.

Five other teachers from her school have resigned this term.

  • Why I had to abandon my teaching career, Jessica Jackman, Letter to the Editor, page 22, The West Australian, The PLATOWA website news.

 

Sunday July 6, 2008

A Canadian teacher who recently started work at Mandurah High School, WA, posted comments on a Yahoo7 message board .

He said he thought it was important for the public to know what is going on at the school.

"I have only been at Mandurah High School for a short time but already I have experienced a number of very violent incidents," he said.

"It simply cannot continue and there are certain policies that must be changed to protect teachers and students."

"I cannot believe how bad it is here," the teacher said.

"I've been hit and punched, sworn at 20 times a day for trying to do my job - it's shocking."

"Nothing can really be done. It's hard to expel a student and after a few days away, they're allowed to come back to the school to do it all over again."

The teacher also claimed that the level of illiteracy and maths ability was appalling.

The Mandurah High School Principal refused to make any comment in relation to the issue.

"I am more interested in raising the public profile of the school in a positive manner," the Principal said.

 

The Bad Apple Bullies webmaster comments:

The similarities between this Canadian teacher's story and the April 19 2008 story about Robert Bartholomew, the American sociology professor working in the Northern Territory, suggest that this is may be a cultural clash. 

The Canadian teacher and the American sociology professor tried to deal with problems at their schools.

They did not realise that in Aussie culture dealing with problems is not valued.

Not talking about problems is valued.

I suspect this is related to the convict roots of Aussie culture.

Every early Aussie convict had to work in silent obedience for seven years in order to gain his or her 'ticket of leave'.

And Aussie teachers are treated like convicts - sent out to remote areas, far away from their families, to work fearfully till they have earned their 'ticket of leave' - the right to return home.

The Aussie culture still values silent obedience.

And teaching problems are allowed to fester for years, because teachers who try to deal with problems are attacked and denigrated as 'arrogant troublemakers' in Australia.

  • details of a related article Little Monsters Rule , Phil Hickey, The Mandurah Coastal Times,  can be found on the PLATOWA website news page.

 

Tuesday July 1, 2008

Retired teacher Lynda Beck of Rozelle wrote a Letter to the Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.

She retired one year ago.

The Sydney Morning Herald had reported that parents did not generally perceive that their children had serious conduct problems.

But teachers do.

In  Lynda Beck's experience, children are now more disruptive and violent than they were a generation ago.

But modern parents do not acknowledge this, due to the cult of preciousness and encouragement of egocentricity that has evolved.

If a child was disobedient or violent in the 1970's and 80's, generally a discussion with the parents would result in a workable solution.

Now the parents frequently inform the teacher that the child's misbehaviour is someone else's fault.

Or that the teacher is picking on them.

 

The Bad Apple Bullies webmaster comments:

I taught in Sydney primary schools during the 70's and 80's.

Children simply were not disruptive and violent in those days.

 

I began teaching in Queensland at about the time that the cane was banned in schools.

And the children's behaviour rapidly deteriorated.

Every year there seemed to be more and more children in each class with significant behavioural problems.

 

I observed that Queensland school principals were often reluctant to contact parents and tell them the truth about their children.

The principals seemed to be afraid that the parents would complain about them.

  • Letters to the Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

 

Thursday June 19, 2008

Russel Riley, Thornlie, describes some of the major incidents during the past few years at his Perth primary school.

His school was one of the first in Western Australia to experience a police lock-down and search of the grounds by armed TRG with dogs.

The lock-down lasted from 9am to 12.30pm.

During that three and a half hours, teachers, staff and students were all locked in the classrooms together with no access to toilets.

 

Two armed parents began fighting over a carpark space at the end of a school day, while students were trying to get home safely.

 

Three staff were held hostage in the principal's office by a recently released prisoner who was armed.

 

A parent was not happy because their child had been stopped from fighting with another student.

So the parent went to a staff member's house at the weekend and began making threats and throwing stones and gum nuts. 

 

  • Try a stint at my school, Russel Riley, Letters to the Editor, p.22, The West Australian, quoted on the PLATOWA website 

 

Monday April 28, 2008

Toni Sharkey , principal of Newcomb Secondary College in Geelong, had worked as a teacher for 38 years.

For most of that time she had worked at "difficult" schools.

A parent at the school was known to have a short fuse and to indulge in angry rants.

Ms Sharkey had managed to calm her down before.

But in 2006 the mother was out of control.

Ms Sharkey had suspended her son because he had arrived at school one day with baseball bats,

Two other boys were with him, neither of whom were pupils at the school.

They were planning to settle a score with another student.

"After screaming and carrying on at me, she (the mother) grabbed me by the top of the arm and around my neck with the other hand and threw me on the ground," Ms Sharkey recalls. "I didn't know what was happening,"

Fortunately the assistant principal, who was working in his nearby office, heard the escalation of the swearing and abuse.

He was able to intervene.

The physical injuries that Ms Sharkey suffered during the assault, and the mental and emotional effects of the assault, have affected Ms Sharkey's health.

She suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and she is unlikely to return to work.

She is shocked by the situation in which she now finds herself.

She had never thought about retiring or resigning from her work.

 

Ms Sharkey says that schools are too exposed.

She wants to see security procedures developed to protect staff and students.

"Schools are very much open slather to anybody who wants to create a fuss," she says.

" ... I am so tired of hearing about teachers being under the scrutiny of bullying in schools. For goodness sake, let's put the other side of the story out there."

 

Brian Burgess, president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, described an incident at Eumemmerring College which prompted an emergency lockdown at the school.

A male parent was rampaging through the school yard, trying to find a teacher.

The parent thought the teacher had abused his son.

The teacher concerned was pregnant.

The student concerned was a difficult year 9 student who had told his father a pack of lies.

The father had over-reacted.

 

Mary Bluett, president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union, described a recent incident.

A father walked into a classroom and abused a teacher in front of 27 grade 2 students.

He then turned to the students and told them that their teacher was a cr*p teacher and that they should tell their parents.

Then he stormed out.

  • The parent trap, Elisabeth Tarica, The Age.

 

Saturday 19 April 2008

Robert Bartholomew , an American sociology professor, has lived in Australia for 13 years.

He has spent several years working as a teacher in remote schools.

He was working as a teacher in Ali Curong (also called Alekarenge), 170km south of Tennant Creek and on the edge of the Tanami desert in the Northern Territory.

He "blew the whistle" on the Northern Territory's crumbling education system.

He said that walking into the Alekarenge School was like entering the third world.

Conditions at the Alekarenge school are so bad that only one of the six teachers who statrted work at the school in January 2008 have made it through to Term 2.

A spokesman for the Northern Territory Education Department said four teachers, not five, had left the school: two had taken up promotional positions, one was on maternity leave and one was following her partner to his new job in a different community.

In 2005 a report had identified an asbestos risk to children and staff both inside the school and in the playground.

The report alarmed the community.

Dr Bartholomew claims that the Education Department ignored the asbestos report.

The Education Department claim that this is untrue, and that all of the recommendations of the report had been implemented.

Dr Bartholomew said that he raised his concern about education and safety standards within the school for weeks.

"I was told my standards were too high," he said.

Then the department told him he was going be transferred to a different school.

But, despite having successful interviews at other schools, he has not been able to get another job as a teacher.

Dr Bartholomew believes that he has been "blackballed" by the department.

He is now technically an illegal immigrant.

Former colleagues of Dr Bartholomew, including school principals, spoke of him as a model teacher.

The Australian Education Union's Northern Territory branch secretary, Adam Lampe, said that Dr Bartholomew had been treated with contempt.

This week, Northern Territory Education Minister Marion Scrymgour admitted that remote schools were in crisis.

  •  Whistleblower loses job, Natasha Robinson,  The Australian
  • Community rallies for teacher, Natasha Robinson, P.10, The Nation, The Weekend Australian.

 

Monday April 7, 2008

A male teacher was hit over the head as he tried to stop five teenagers armed with baseball bats and a machete rampaging through Merrylands High School at 8.50am (AEST) today, police said.

The teacher was taken to hospital with bruising to the back of his head while trying to restrain one of the youths, the Ambulance Service of NSW said.

18 students were injured in the attack, most with cuts and abrasions from broken glass, although one girl was taken to hospital with a swollen cheek after allegedly being assaulted by one of the teenagers.

One student was taken to Westmead Children's Hospital with a facial injury.

Police said five youths stormed an assembly in an outdoor quadrangle, brandishing baseball bats and a machete, prompting teachers to "lock down" the school.

Students were locked inside their classrooms for safety.

Det-Insp Stewart said he was stunned by the brazenness of the incident.

"It beggars belief ... ," he said.

 

The unnamed mother of a Year 12 student praised the actions of teachers who put their lives on the line to protect students at Merrylands High School during the attack.

"The children were told to go into "lockdown procedure" and so they went to whatever lockdown classroom they're meant to be in and they go through the roll call to make sure their groups are there at which point these people started to smash windows."

The students were told to get under tables while the youths were smashing windows.

"The teachers were actually (barricading) the door for these guys which is really way above the call of duty, which is really good," the parent said.

"They showed the parents that they put their life on the line for the kids."

  • School attack may have been revenge, Simon Kirby, Karen Davis and Danny Rose, AAP, The Courier-Mail.

  • Teachers 'put lives on the line', AAP, The Courier-Mail.

 

Friday April 4, 2008

Maree Anne McCormack, aged 54, was employed as a textiles, health and art teacher at Patterson River Secondary College, at Carrum in Melbourne, from February 1994.

Ms McCormack became anxious and stressed after a number of confrontations with students.

Ms McCormack was abused "in a particularly nasty fashion" in mid-2005 by a male student.

Ms McCormack told her doctor about the difficulties she faced in her job and about a lack of support from her employer.

In March 2006 she was working in a portable classroom with no way of contacting the office.

A female student accused Ms McCormack of kicking her.

Then the student withdrew the allegation.

But the principal made a remark that seemed to indicate a lack of support for MsMcCormack.

The situation affected Ms McCormack's health.

Workcover rejected her claim for compensation.

But Melbourne County Court Judge Bowman ruled that there was overwhelming evidence that Ms McCormack had suffered an injury at work and that she should receive compensation.

  • Harassed teacher wins compo, Michelle Draper, AAP: The Courier-Mail.

 

Tuesday 18 March 2008

Dance teacher Despina Rosales claims she was "punched, kicked, spat at and hit repeatedly" by up to seven female students while trying to drive out of the carpark of Randwick Girls High School in Sydney's east.

One of the students accused Ms Rosales, 35, of driving over her foot.

But it was Ms Rosales who required medical treatment at Prince of Wales Hospital for a "serious blow to the right side of her head".

 

One lunchtime at a western Sydney high school a male Year 7 student was playing tackle football in the playground with his friends.

The female teacher on duty asked the boys to stop tackling because it was against school rules.

They ignored her so she confiscated their football.

After negotiations the students agreed to stop tackling and the teacher handed the ball back to them.

But the Year 7 boy confronted the teacher and held a replica automatic pistol to her head for "about one minute".

 

At a regional high school in southwest NSW a Year 9 male student left his seat and creept up on the teacher.

He placed a toy gun against her head and pulled the trigger.

Then he ran into other classes, hurling abuse and waving the gun around.

A teacher's aide also had the weapon placed against her head and the trigger pulled.

 

The father of a disturbed Year 7 boy became aggressive during a meeting at a secondary school on the NSW Central Coast.

He pulled out a "mini replica pistol" and pointed it at the school counsellor's face.

 

At a special school on the North Coast of NSW a 14-year-old student threw 15 punches at the teacher trying to restrain him.

Three or four punches connected with the teacher's face and head.

 

"Special needs" teachers seem to be particularly vulnerable to being attacked at work, injured and driven into an impoverished early retirement.

You need to consider this possibilty very, very carefully if you feel 'called' to work with 'special needs' children.

 

In southwest Sydney a Year 9 boy sprayed a can of deodorant into a teacher's mouth with such force that it caused his nose to bleed.

 

A man reports that his teacher partner was hit with a lump of concrete that was thrown at her while she was writing on the blackboard.

 

A NSW primary school teacher was threatened with assault by an intoxicated mother.

Her husband, a police officer,  forced the reluctant principal to ban the parent.

"At least I can protect myself when dealing with violent persons, however these teachers cannot," he says.

"It is disgraceful situation and is getting out of hand and the Education Department should hang its head in shame.

"The slap on the wrist approach has not worked in the past 15 years and it is about time some changes were made to make children and their parents accountable for their crimes."

  • Teachers forced to bite bullet, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph.

 

Monday 17 March 2008

Former NSW Central Coast teacher Richard Neville is one of many who has left the profession out of fear for their safety.

He ended his 12-year career as a high school teacher after two students attacked him with scissors and a lump of wood.

Now a fireman, Mt Neville said he found the job "safer than teaching".

"The boy who came at me with the pair of scissors and the one who took the swing at me with a lump of wood were 13 year olds," Mr Neville said.

Department of Education and Training incident reports show teachers are regularly threatened with firearms or other weapons - from broken bottles to knives - by students, parents or intruders.

The issue tops the list of teachers' concerns in secondary schools (more than 65 per cent).

 

Friday February 22, 2008

P. McGowan of Thornlie wrote a Letter to the Editor of The West Australian (The letter was also quoted on the PLATOWA website) -

"I am in my 50s and have been a teacher for more than half my life.

I have always had a sense of pride in my chosen profession and my ability to do a good job.

I feel that I have been a positive influence in the lives of the many children I have taught.

"I still enjoy the craft of teaching but now I find myself feeling that I would like to pull the pin on my career.

I am unable to do this because of my personal circumstances; in fact, I will need to continue working for a significant number of years.

I will continue to do my utmost to do the best job that I am capable of. The (job) is too important to do otherwise.

"I now find myself heading into the last phase of my career feeling undervalued, overworked, frustrated and depressed.

Sadly, I suspect that I may be voicing the feelings of many of my mature-age peers. ...

"The workload has more than doubled in the course of my career, actual teaching seeming to have become secondary to the continually increasing demands on teachers to produce data, evidence and assessment facts and figures.

These massive and growing demands for documentation, although having a place, rob teachers of time which could be better spent devising effective, interesting and even innovative ways by which they could be optimising the learning opportunities of the children in their classrooms.

"Those who know and live with teachers bemoan widely-held negative attitudes about our "short" working days, long holidays and "high" salaries; they are often our only advocates.

 

Tuesday, February 5 2008

NSW Kindergarten teacher (discussed in a series of emails) -

 
I was a Kindergarten Teacher in NSW and I had been offered a full year's contract.
But I was pregnant.
The principal told me that I could no longer remain on the class because I was pregnant.
She was worried that I would need time off for medical appointments and that I might become ill during the pregnancy.
So I lost the job.
 
I contacted the union.
They told me that it was discrimination and they promised me help.
But I heard nothing.
I called again and there was no record of my phone call.
This happened on a number of occasions.
 
The principal gave me a job for half a day, every day, sharing with the reading recovery teacher.
 
She asked me if I would return in Term 4, after my baby was born, to teach in the mornings only every day.
I could not guarantee this as it is difficult to get child care for half a day.
She told me that if I didn't come back in term 4 that I would not get a job the next year.
So I arranged care for half a day every day through family and friends.
 
But then the reading recovery teacher decided to have the class full time, so I lost that job as well.
 
I ran the bookclub for the school.
I sought some help on how to set it up from one of the admin ladies.
This admin lady suggested that the bookclub be run a certain way so that cash was not taken out of the school grounds.
I followed her suggestion.
Later the admin lady seems to have complained about how the bookclub was being run in the hearing of the principal.
 
I felt very disadvantaged on a part-time contract.
For example, I was not allowed to attend a professional development course because I was only contracted for half a day.
 
I was only a first year teacher, and I can honestly say that I don't think I could return to teaching.
 
I could not hand in a resume to another school and have then call the school I previously worked as for a reference, as I know that I would not get good comments.
 
I am unable to work casually as I can not afford to put my baby into childcare in the hope that I will get a phone call each day.
 
I have worked so hard to get where I am.
I had a baby at 16 but struggled my way through fulltime school and uni, all to become a teacher.
And this is where I am today.
Its very sad and such a waste of time and effort.
I just wish there was some help for teachers out there, especially temp teachers that get walked over.
 
The system is against us.

 

Monday, February 4 2008

John Daicopoulos, a four-year honours (physics) graduate with a second degree specialising in physics education, wrote an On Line Opinion Article:

Having happily taught physics for 17 years in two countries he has recently opted to leave the profession because -

 A physics graduate with hopes of becoming a teacher has no ability to adjust or amend the collective teacher working conditions that govern education.

This lack of negotiating power (or even permission) is perpetuated by union collective agreements (negotiated in good-faith by all stake-holders).

What is the motivation to gaining a full honours degree in physics then learning to teach, when you can simply enter a teacher training program learning some physics along the way?

And Western Australia is toying with the idea of allowing lower than normal TEE scores for acceptance into teacher training programs and the dilution of academic skills and qualifications continues.

What value should we place on a full honours degree qualification?

Great value.

Assuming one decides to give-it-a-go entering the profession fully qualified with a contract negotiated in good faith, what are the conditions that will affect the physics-teacher’s level of work satisfaction?

Outside of the same demands placed on all teachers, it will most likely be the physics (and science) curriculum.

Today’s physics curriculum (or syllabus if you prefer) has become entrenched with an emphasis overly based on teaching engineering, or on entertaining students with so-called hands-on activities.

With an incessant compulsion for making physics practical, hands-on or worse yet, fun, the educational establishment has watered down physics to the point that it is of little interest to the physicists who teach it.

Although physics can (and should) be applied, it is a fundamental science that must be taught promoting scientific ideals.

Building bridges of spaghetti is not enough.

If the very calibre of teacher we desire to teach difficult and technical subjects like physics and mathematics is choosing not to teach, then many features of education need to change before they choose otherwise. The compulsion to change ought to rest within the system.

 

This is an interesting article that raises quite a few new issues.

It is written by an intelligent teacher - a species that may soon become extinct.

John also writes about the endless paperwork necessary to gain teacher registration in Queensland.

What John may not realise is how easily his qualifications, his career and his health can be destroyed in Queensland with malicious gossip and a few scribbles on sticky-notes.

A full copy of the article can be found at -

 

Tuesday, January 15 2008

Louise Boyle of Toowoomba, Queensland, wrote a letter to the Editor of The Australian.

She recently retrained as a mature-age student in primary education.

But she has discovered that there are many obstacles to gaining permanent employment in the state system.

There is a strict requirement that new teachers do country service for a number of years.

Louise can't leave her family.

So she can only do supply and contract work.

It is soul-destroying to always be teaching someone else's class.

Louise has been advised by the local QTU representative that there are approximately 5000 teachers without a permanent position.

In the 90's, older teachers were persuaded to change to a new superannuation system.

So now these older teachers need to work for longer.

They worry that they have not got enough money for their retirement.

Louise has recently been advised that Education Queensland plans to base permanent teachers in primary schools.

Presumably these are teachers who have completed their country service and who have requested a transfer to a "better" area.

These permanent teachers will be given the supply and contract work.

So Louise has decided to seek employment elsewhere.

She has no job and a $15,000 HECS bill to pay.

She agrees with Kevin Donnelly that her teaching qualifications are inadequate, in particular for the teaching of literacy.

So she is an unsatisfied customer of the university system.

And a casualty of a dysfunctional state education system.

 

Friday 21 December, 2007

Ray Chambers, 52, teacher in western Queensland, claims that short-term teaching contracts are cynically designed to save money.

Ray claims that the contracts are designed to avoid paying teachers holiday entitlements.

Ray said that he recently returned to teaching after a 17-year break.

But he is now looking for other work because he has become disillusioned with the Queensland government's treatment of teachers.

Ray has taken a series of teaching contracts in western Queensland since 2005.

He hoped that his service in rural communities would eventully be recognised with a permanent position.

But he has noticed that all of the contracts that teachers are on end before the school year finishes.

Nobody gets a contract right up to the end of the year.

And that this saves the Queensland government from paying eight or ten weeks wages.

Ray says that this is not a fair system.

  • Teacher leaves industry over AWAs, Sunshine Coast Daily, thedaily.com.au

 

Wednesday December 12, 2007

Zakarie Sloan of East Brunswick wrote a letter to the Editor of the Age.

His wife is a teacher.

He is angered and disgusted by the way that his wife has been treated.

She has worked hard for three years.

Her pay has been poor, but they put up with that.

But now she has been effectively sacked.

She will have no holiday pay and she will have no maternity leave (she is pregnant).

She was not sacked because she was performing poorly.

She has worked hard and performed beyond the expected level of commitment.

She was sacked because she was on a contract. 

How many people have to re-apply for their jobs every two or three years?

 

Wednesday December 5, 2007

Michael Griggs of Lidcombe, NSW wrote a letter to the editor of The Australian:

He has taught high school for more than 30 years.

During that time his salary has been eroded, his conditions of work undermined, and his time wasted by "one idiotic panacea after another" emanating from politicians, university academics, journalists, greasy-pole-climbing principals and well-meaning parents, all of whom knew "diddly-squat" about teaching and learning.

Syllabuses changed almost as often as he changed his shirt.

Nobody ever checked to see if any of these "idiotic panaceas" were actually doing any good.

  • PLATOWA

 

Monday December 3, 2007

Ex-teacher R.J. Burns emailed The Courier-Mail :

"I walked away from a 20-year teaching career that I loved due to undisciplined students who have no respect, are openly arrogant and receive no serious consequences for their behaviour.

I became tired of explaining to parents that their child behaves like a brat at school.

When you try to convince them that their son / daughter really is a little monster in the classroom, you then have to defend your own teaching style, classroom management and even your personality.

Parents - wake up and start teaching your children what respect really means.

And show some yourself when dealing with teachers.

I will never return to secondary teaching as I can only see this problem getting worse."

  • The Courier-Mail

 

Friday November 30, 2007

"NSW Ex-teacher" emailed The ABC:

He got out of the NSW system the day he turned 55.

He doesn't get much in the way of superannuation but he is a lot healthier and a lot happier.

At his last school, the principal would quite openly come to work and tell her Deputy that she was there to "kick arse" amongst the staff.

Which she would do.

This particular school was considered to be the most difficult in the region, if not the state.

The result was a toxic environment where there were high levels of staff sick leave and stress leave.

How did this person get to be a principal?

Why was nothing done about this person?

The problem is the spineless bureaucrats in the Education Department.

But teachers are not only being bullied by other employees.

When teachers' cars are vandalised, their houses damaged, their personal safety threatened by violent teengaers and parents on a daily basis in NSW, then there is something very, very wrong.

The sad thing is that teachers are now so used to the bullying from all quarters, the threats, the intimidation and the high stress levels that it all seems "normal".

Baby boomer teachers like him are leaving in droves.

"We could have stayed on, but why bother? It's not worth your health or your sanity. Most of us came into the job with the best of intentions, but most of us leave with a bitter taste in our mouths."

Every day is a good day now that he doesn't have to go to school.

  • ABC News

 

Saturday 6 October, 2007

Judith Szalontai of Wendouree wrote a letter to the editor of The Melbourne Age.

Judith had decided to go to uni at the age of 40, to train to be a teacher.

She gained a Dip Ed with high distinctions.

She spent five years doing casual teaching and short teaching contracts.

She had no stability, no security, no holiday pay.

She was threatened with violence by students and teachers.

She was unemployed for five months and finally decided to take a non-teaching job.

What a waste of effort.

  • The Age

 

Friday 21 September, 2007

 
An Ex state-school teacher from Stanmore contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in The Daily Telegraph.
 
When an allegation is made against you, you are told not to discuss it with anybody.
 
You are isolated.
 
Your students wonder why you have suddenly left the school.
 
Try to imagine the stress of leaving your school in this strange way.
 
Even thinking about the situation is stressful.
 
Teachers are not being treated fairly.
  • False complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph
 
 
Thursday 20 September, 2007
 
An Ex state-school Teacher contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in The Daily Telegraph.

Her experience has led her to believe that the Federation do not "see" the size of the problem of false allegations against teachers.

They are distracted by their own agendas.

They are unresponsive to the needs of members who are the subject of false allegations.

The Employee Performance and Conduct Directorate process for dealing with allegations is frightening.

  • False complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph

 

Thursday 20 September, 2007

A male teacher working in Beresfield / Newcastle contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in The Daily Telegraph.

About twelve months ago he was directly affected by false allegations.

The situation is ongoing.

He can't get anybody to deal with the problem.

  • Teacher turmoil false complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph
 
 
Wednesday 19 September, 2007.
 
A female teacher from Mungindi contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in the Daily Telegraph.

She had reported that a teacher was assaulting and verbally abusing a child.

She was "paid back" - the same kind of allegations were made against her.

She was sent to HealthQuest for a psychiatric examination.

They found that she had a "personality disorder".

She was stood down and went on the dole.

She lost her home.

She went to court.

The newspapers published comments that made her appear to be mad and abusive.

Her life has never been the same.

The shame is unbearable.

She will take the experience to the grave.

  • Teacher turmoil false complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph

 

2002

... A male teacher was on yard duty at Langwarrin Secondary College when a group of girls aged around 16 started yelling at each other.

Students surrounded the girls, and a few looked at the teacher - who watched on from behind them - to see why he wasn't trying to calm things down.

One said he heard him say of the girls being attacked: "B's a smart chick, and she knows what she's going to get herself into."

He probably meant that he believed that she was too smart a girl to get involved in a fight.

Another said he was smiling as if enjoying the show, although the judge and the VCAT colleague decided he was probably just smiling because he was nervous.

Teachers are instructed / required to smile in all circumstances.

For three minutes - as measured by surveillance cameras - the teacher hung back, behind the circle of watching students.

He would have been observing what was going on.

He probably thought that it would inflame the situation if he got involved.

The shouting then suddenly turned into a brawl between eight girls, which lasted for 30 violent seconds.

Suddenly - you see - suddenly. It turned into a brawl suddenly.

And then the brawl lasted for thirty seconds.

It was "vicious", the judge said, even though no weapons were wielded, bones broken or blood drawn.

One girl had tufts of her hair pulled out and her head pushed into an iron railing and was later taken to hospital.

The judge and colleague said although the girl hadn't been badly hurt, the fight could have been "potentially very serious".

So, what did the teacher do during this?

He claims he waved his arms and yelled at the girls to stop. He claims he sent two year 8 boys to run for reinforcements from the staff.

But no witness heard him shout, saw him wave or send for help.

They weren't looking in his direction. They were looking towards the fight.

And as the cameras showed, he certainly didn't step forward and try to separate the fighting girls. Nor did he later check the injured girl or offer to help her. It was her friends who took her to the sick bay.

Who was watching the security cameras when the girls were brawling?

What was the point in having security cameras installed if there was nobody watching them, ready to call the alarm?

My understanding is that the security cameras were introduced because the school had a history of playground violence.

My understanding is that the security cameras were switched off because they "distracted people".

Is this correct?

Who decided to turn the cameras off?

If you have security cameras because the school has a history of playground violence, isn't it negligent to turn the cameras off?

None of the teacher's excuses - that he was waiting for help and that stepping in could have inflamed things - impressed those who should matter most here.

As the judgment noted: "(T)here was significant ill-feeling between the (teacher) and other members of staff as a result of this incident."

What was the evidence to support this statement?

Where were the other teachers who were supposed to be on duty?

School parents were furious, a community meeting had to be held and even students abused the teacher.

Of course they did.

Parents often blame the teacher when their child behaves badly.

And students always blame the teacher when they behave badly.

"He should have stopped me brawling, after all, I'm only 16!"

The principal, a man with 40 years in schools, was also appalled - his vast experience no doubt telling him a reasonably tall and experienced male teacher could and should have broken up a fight between eight girls, none of whom was known to have ever fought before.

If they had never been know to fight before, how was the teacher expected to know that they would actually start fighting on this occasion?

And would the principal have expected his women teachers to have involved themselves in the brawl?

Had the staff of the school been trained to break up vicious brawls between 16-year-old girls?

As he said: "Most teachers would . . . get in there or would start raising their voices, you know, pointing fingers and that sort of thing, where there was nothing like that."

The brawl lasted thirty seconds. There wasn't a lot of time to do very much.

That was the verdict of experience, and one shared by others who'd spent decades teaching children and running schools.

Does this principal do playground duty on a regular basis?

Or does he just sit in his office, well away from the children?

A lot of administrators keep well away from children nowadays and they do not (want to) "know" that behaviour problems are increasing.

That's why the Education Department sacked the teacher - a decision backed by the Industrial Relations Commission - and the Victorian Institute of Teaching cancelled his registration.

Only the judge and her VCAT colleague, of all the authorities asked to rule on the teacher's dereliction of duty, thought he was fit to teach, and should be free to.

But the judge and colleague were, arguably, also the least qualified of all those authorities to say how the teacher should have acted and whether he should be trusted with students.

No, they aren't. They are used to dealing with violent fights among teenagers and they have plain common sense.

How can you say that this teacher should not be trusted with students?

It was the students who were brawling, not the teacher.

These authorities want to punish this teacher to distract attention away from the behaviour problems of the students.

Again, I am not saying the judge made the wrong call at all. But in some ways the decision was exactly one a lawyer, more than a school principal or good teacher, would make.

How many classroom teachers did you ask before you came to that decision?

How many vicious brawls between 16-year-old girls have you tried to break up?

 

The judge said the sacked man hadn't been given guidelines on whether or how to break up such a fight, and wasn't at all incompetent for having failed to do so. After all, he shouldn't be "required to risk his physical safety" by stepping in every time.

To which there are two obvious answers.

The first is, if guidelines really are needed to get teachers to break up cat-fights, the judge had a chance to set some by insisting the teacher should have done what many senior colleagues agreed was his duty.

 

What about this male teacher's duty not to touch his female students?

What about a pregnant woman teacher? A frail old teacher? Are they all supposed to be responsible for breaking up vicious brawls among 16-year-old students?

These administrators are trying to distract attention from their own responsibility to provide a safe working environment for the teacher.

Had the school provided teachers on duty with the means to call for assistance - for example, had this teacher been provided with a mobile phone? A personal alarm?

Had the teacher been given any training in security duties?

Schools have a responsibility to employ trained security staff to protect children against these sorts of violent attacks during their lunchbreaks.

 

... The second problem is this: which book of guidelines could substitute for the judgment of experience? How could guidelines even tell a teacher when it was safe to step in and break up a fight and when it was better to hang back?

Put on the spot in the 30 seconds of a fight, a teacher consults his gut, not a handbook, and veteran teachers and principals say a male teacher who won't separate a few brawling girls hasn't the instincts to be trusted.

That's the call of people with years behind them of keeping order in schools.

 

No, it isn't and they haven't.

These administrators probably have years of hiding in air-conditioned offices, well away from children.

It is disgraceful that this teacher's career has been ruined by 30 seconds of poor student behaviour.

It is easier for administrators to blame classroom teachers than to deal with the student's behaviour problems, their parents, the media, etc.

Stand these administrators in the hot sun on playground duty for thirty minutes of their lunch break, listening to the endless arguments and complaints of the students.

Let them try breaking up a few vicious brawls between groups of 16-year-old girls.

Then send them back into the classroom to try to teach 30 hot, junk-food-filled and over-excited attention-seeking students.

No wonder recent research suggests that teachers work with a feeling of profound sadness.

 

The Herald Sun

Beresfield / Newcastle : male teacher struggles to deal with false allegations.

A male teacher working in Beresfield / Newcastle contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in The Daily Telegraph.

About twelve months ago he was directly affected by false allegations.

The situation is ongoing.

He can't get anybody to deal with the problem.

 

  • Teacher turmoil false complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2007

Mungindi : teacher reports child abuse - and is then paid back.

A female teacher from Mungindi contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in the Daily Telegraph.

She had reported that a teacher was assaulting and verbally abusing a child.

She was "paid back" - the same kind of allegations were made against her.

She was sent to HealthQuest for a psychiatric examination.

They found that she had a "personality disorder".

She was stood down and went on the dole.

She lost her home.

She went to court.

The newspapers published comments that made her appear to be mad and abusive.

Her life has never been the same.

The shame is unbearable.

She will take the experience to the grave.

 

  • Teacher turmoil false complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph, 19 September 2007

Robina Cosser says that Queensland teachers "are isolated, threatened and subject to impulsive and irrational punishment by school administrators".

A former Cairns school teacher claims teachers are bullied by school administrators and then threatened by when they complain about the bullying.

In breaking her silence about the system, Robina Cosser said teachers were led to despair by the bullying and threats.

Ms Cosser, a teacher for 30 years, said the Education Queensland complaint process was inadequate.

"Teachers are being punished for making complaints about workplace abuse. There's no hope of justice," she said.

"Bullied teachers are isolated, threatened and subject to impulsive and irrational punishment by school administrators."

"Teachers are being driven into ill health by the bullying."

Ms Cosser said that, although teachers trapped in the system were silenced, retired teachers should speak out.

Ms Cosser plans to establish an organisation that will try to protect Queensland teachers, especially teachers dealing with workplace bullying, harassment, mobbing, discrimination and victimisation or "payback".

 

 

Ex-teacher says bully tactics rife, Regina Titelius, Chief Reporter, p. 3, The Cairns Post, Monday 23 February 2004

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