Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple Bully school principals and departmental officers can bully Australian teachers into ill health - and out of work!

'There has been an exponential increase in the level of bullying and harassment of NSW classroom teachers' : Gosford Teachers Association.

The professional autonomy of teachers is being eroded in our schools.

Teachers who are experienced classroom practitioners with legitimate concerns regarding executive abuse of power have no genuine consideration of their concerns.

The Department of Education complaints process is tokenistic; there is no evidence of genuine investigation and consideration of issues raised; escalation of the complaint results in a rubber-stamping of Directors’ decisions.

EPAC (Employee Performance and Conduct) has become increasingly more powerful as the principals and directors advisory tool whilst also in the role of determining the validity of identified performance issues and complaints.

The capacity of EPAC is not independent; through the Department of Education complaints procedures, principals and executive are seldom referred on to EPAC for serious repeated breaches of the code of conduct and processes.

This imbalance of power has created an exponential increase in the level of bullying and harassment of teachers in our schools.

Teachers find they are increasingly being threatened with Teacher Improvement Programs and EPAC ‘allegations’ as punitive and control measures.

Teachers demand the professional right to a collegial and mutually respectful workplace.

Teachers demand that the Federation take action to address this increasing abuse of power in our school and the restoration of our rights to having a professional voice without retribution.


Action Annual Conference demands that the Federation protect the professional rights of teachers and investigate the abuse and imbalance of power in schools by:

• gathering statistical information about the number of complaints against principals and executive regarding abuse of power that are upheld and disciplinary action has been taken;

• gather statistical information regarding the number of workers compensation claims approved through injuries sustained from bullying and harassment in our schools; and who engages in the bullying behaviours;

• negotiating with Department of Education a process whereby repeated abuses of power, bullying and harassment are automatically flagged by the Department of Education and disciplinary processes are put in place to stop these behaviours;

• negotiating with Department of Education a mechanism through which teachers will have access to a genuine process to have their concerns investigated in a fair and comprehensive manner, with clear disciplinary measures in place if upheld;

• investigating and pursuing measures to stop the power imbalance created by the symbiotic relationship between Directors/principals and EPAC.


This motion will be discussed during the 2018 NSW Teachers Federation Annual Conference. 

The Editor Comments - it is so good to see a teachers' union actually discussing this very important issue for classroom teachers. 


'Disaffected students are a major cause of stress for NSW teachers' : Wingham Teachers Association.

The rising number of disaffected NSW Primary and Secondary students has become a major cause of stress and concern for NSW teachers and other students.

These disengaged students, who are not necessarily violent (though some are), have little regard for school rules or societal values and are often intent on sabotaging lessons and vebally abusing and humiliating teachers.

They are not deterred by consequences such as suspension.

These students are relatively small in number but they are inflicting disproportionate damage on their schools.

Many of them come from deprived and even violent backgrounds and so it is little wonder that they see no importance in school, their teachers and school work.

These students need a different school environment.



Action needed : 

Federation Representatives , in conjunction with their principal, will address P&C meetings, urging the P&C to write to the Premier, Minister, et al concerning this issue.


This is (a shorter version of) the motion that Wingham Teachers Association will move for discussion at the NSW Teachers Union 2018 Annual Conference.

 Evidence from Public schools - Primary and Secondary – indicates that the number of students who are disaffected with mainstream education is rising and this has become a major cause of stress and concern for teachers and other students. 
 These disengaged students, who are not necessarily violent (though some are), have little regard for school rules or societal values and are often intent on sabotaging lessons and verbally abusing and humiliating teachers. They are not deterred by consequences such as suspension. They are relatively small in number but they are inflicting disproportionate damage on their schools and the image of public schools in general.  
 It is clear that the current academic, HSC-driven curriculum is not appropriate for these students. Many of them come from deprived and even violent backgrounds and so it is little wonder that they see no importance for school, their teachers and school work in their lives. 
 This syndrome has to be fixed. These disengaged, disaffected and defiant students require a different school environment. Funding has to be provided so that they be placed in alternative education settings, within the school and/or off-site, so they can undertake and engage with more meaningful, relevant and practical curricula. Specialist and skilled teachers with appropriate support and resources must be employed to teach these students. Further, it is not acceptable that schools should have to provide such funding from their existing budgets, which are stretched to the limit. 
 By providing an alternative curriculum, there will be obvious flow-on benefits for teachers of the mainstream classes, the students in those classes and their parents, as well as the schools themselves. 
 1. To emphasise the importance of this issue to the wellbeing of teachers and students, Federation will convene a summit in Term 4 to discuss and develop a statement that provides a way forward. The special needs of rural schools must be included. This statement will aim at exacting a commitment from the major political parties to provide the additional funding for the alternative programs and resources. Federation will publicise the responses of the political parties and use them in campaigning for the 2019 state election. 2. Associations will undertake deputations to their local MPs to garner their support for the issue. 3. Fed Reps, in conjunction with their principal, will address P&C meetings, urging them to write to the Premier, Minister, et al and join the deputation to their local MP

NSW Liberal government offer teachers amazing deal.

The Liberal government in NSW seems to be offering teachers and wannabe teachers an amazing deal.

Sixty wannabe teachers will have their HECS debt covered by the NSW government if they take up postings at remote schools.

Their degrees will be fully funded.

They will receive a stipend of $7500 per year.

They will receive a $6000 'sign on' bonus to help with the cost of relocation when they start their new job. 

They will be offered work in both public and high schools in one of more than 150 locations across NSW. 

Applications will open in May 2018.


Other offers made to teachers by the NSW Liberal government  include - 

(Seems to be experienced) teachers who move to an eligible school (presumably one of the 150 remote schools) will earn up to $30,000 per annum on top of their base salary depending on the school and their level of seniority.

They will receive a $10,000 'sign-on' recruitment bonus and a $5,000 'retention benefit' paid annually up to $50,000. 


Free university degrees to attract teachers to remote NSW,  Ellen Ebsary, The Border Mail, 8 January 2018.

Why would anybody want to study to become a teacher given the difficulty in finding a full-time teaching job?

My wife was recently on a panel interviewing applicants for a single teaching position at a NSW Public School.

The position required some experience.

There were 96 applicants and from comments gleaned from my wife ... the vast majority would have been an asset to any school.

95 of those applicants are still looking for a suitable full-time teaching position in NSW.

Why would anyone want to study to be a teacher given the difficulty in finding suitable full-time employment? 

John, Reader's Comment, Better teacher recruitment will help lift standards, Editorial, The Australian, 11 September 2017. 

Mature -age teacher could not fulfil his accreditation requirements and so he will retire with a HECS debt.

Steve Elliot of North Curl Curl worked as an accountant and as a computer programmer.

Then he retrained to become a high school social sciences teacher. 

Mr Elliot had enough skills to gain lots of casual teaching work but he says that he never got the chance to prepare a lesson plan and therefore he could not fulfil his accreditation requirements. 

"If you did get work, schools had very little incentive to provide the help that you needed to get a certificate of accreditation, let alone suffer the expense of sending you on professional development courses," he said.

Mr Elliot is now aged 64 and he plans to retire - but he will retire with a HECS debt. 

His son Jake is also about to get out of the teaching profession.

"He thought he'd become an art teacher. It's only when he got out of university that he realised that the spiel they gave him is total trash and there's no jobs for art teachers. None," Mr Elliot said. 

"The casual work was so intermittent he couldn't live on it so he went out and got other work.

"He's got a very large HECS debt but that degree and post-grad degree are totally wasted."

"I'm really angry, especially with universities, because the universities are the ones pushing the line 'come and do a teaching degree and you'll get a job'. They must know that's false," he said.

Teaching job shortage leaves hundreds of graduates unable to complete qualifications, Alison Branley, abc news, 3 February 2016 

NSW teacher : We need a class action to deal with workplace bullying in NSW schools.

The principal at my New South Wales government school is a well-known bully.

We have lost one third of our staff to psychological injuries over the past 18 months.

Some have managed to escape, some have left teaching, others like myself have been on WorkCover.

The staff in her previous schools reported her bullying behaviour before she came to us as a DP.

The majority of our staff have made official complaints to our director or have tried to get transfers out.

She continues to terrorise staff despite this because the Department of Education has not dealt with her properly.


I agree that a class action may be the only way to address this endemic issue in NSW schools.

NSW teacher Tas Tas,

The New South Wales government must take responsibility for dealing with workplace bullies in NSW schools.

I am being bullied by a baby boomer supervisor in a New South Wales public school.

I have 20 years teaching experience.

The NSW  government needs to be held responsible for dealing with bullies in public schools.

Mental health issues are rife in our communities, public schools are no exception.

Bullies have mental health issues.

My supervisor definitely does.

Teacher NK

It seems incompetence is promoted in the New South Wales Department of Education.

I have experienced workplace bullying issues in the NSW public high school system.

I love my job!

Principal is a bully and targets the effective teachers.

I have been off work with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Many other teachers at my school are in the same situation.

My complaint was not taken seriously by the director.

Transfer application was rejected by senior director.

It seems incompetence is promoted in the NSW Department of Education.

It's a massive cover-up!

T. S. , NSW, Australia, 23 July 2017

The principals are supported in their bullying and no-one ... despite following the proper channels ... does a thing.

I am a teacher of over 20 years.

For the last two years I have been bullied in the NSW school system.

...And like everyone has said ... the principals are supported in their bullying and no-one, despite following the proper channels ... does a thing.

Feeling your pain!


Andrew Levell, Australia

Bonnyrigg High School, in Sydney's west : female teacher stabbed.

48-year-old Carolyn Cox, a Bonnyrigg High School science teacher, was stabbed in the back at about 8.45am today, 2 February 2017, when she allegedly tried to stop a 16-year-old male student from stabbing another student.


"She tried to stop them by jumping in between the attacker and victim and got caught in the crossfire," a student said.


A 16-year-old boy was also stabbed in the chest and a 15-year-old girl was stabbed in the shoulder blade.


A male student was chased down by police and arrested in a nearby shopping-centre car park.

A backpack was seen lying in the car park after the arrest.

A knife, a meat cleaver, a Stanley knife and some scissors were seen lying alongside the backpack.

Two screwdrivers were also allegedly inside the backpack.


Ms Cox was taken to Liverpool hospital for treatment.


A boy was taken to Fairfield Police Station, where he was charged with wounding with intent to murder and two counts of wounding a person with intent to cause grevious bodily harm.

Classmates of the accused boy said they thought bullying had provoked the outburst.


Self-defence teachers across Sydney say they are fielding a steady stream of inquiries from teachers prepared to pay privately to learn skills they say the New South Wales Education Department is not providing.


Teacher, students stabbed at Sydney school, Rashida Yosufzai and Tom Rabe, Australian Associated Press, 2 February 2017

Sydney teacher and students stabbed after boy 'bullied', Samantha Hutchinson, Rhian Deutrom, additional reporting by Sam Buckingham-Jones, The Australian, 3 February 2017


Vindictive executives "manage out" good teachers. It has to stop.

Teachers are being bullied every day by principals and heads of departments.

I have seen good teachers "managed out" by vindictive executives, based perhaps on one letter from a parent.

Our union seems to be powerless.

We have no recourse.

It has to stop.

Lyndy Cracknell, Sydney,

After ONE letter of complaint, I was forced to accept medical retirement.

I am recovering from a situation where I was bullied by the principal of my school.

Never had a complaint about me in over 30 years of teaching - but after ONE fallacious letter of complaint and one psychiatrist's appointment, I was medically retired.

I have documentary proof that the allegations concerning me are untrue, written by the teachers whose classes I taught.

I now have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety.

I am still in shock, trying to understand how this happened.

The NSW Teachers Federation refused to assist me to defend myself.

Rather I was advised to retire if I wanted to finish my teaching career with dignity.

Kerrina Swords, Shoalhaven Heads

Ex- employee of NSW Department of Education : I would never work for the NSW Department of Education again.

I've experienced bullying from two managers whilst working in the NSW Department of Education.

I saw many teachers being harassed and bullied, ham-strung in decision-making, losing self-confidence, trodden down, quitting and leaving the teaching profession.

There were the 'favourites' and then there were the scapegoats.

The managers were incompetent, overpaid and arrogant.

I would never work in the NSW Education Department again and have advised others of the situation.

Elizabeth Cook, Belmore,

When NSW teachers are bullied ... no one does a thing.

I am a teacher of over 20 years.

For the last two years I have been bullied in the NSW school system ... and like everyone has said  ... the principals are supported in their bullying and no one ... despite following the proper channels ... does a thing. 

Andrew Levell,

Experienced teacher : we used to be respected and trusted.

The nostalgia I feel is for a time when, as a teacher, I was trusted and respected.

The kids would flock around my car and fight to see who carried my briefcase and lunch each morning.

The classroom was orderly and silent.

I cuddled the injured, settled their fights, caned the bad ones and loved every one of them.

Geoff Walker,  Mallabula, NSW, Letter to the Editor, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 14-15 May, 2016

"Temporary" teacher : we are being callously exploited.

A) Teachers filling "temporary" positions are being callously exploited.

The true nature of these positions is best revealed by the fact that I once spent seven years on one.

At the end of that period, having had no complaints about my work and with the full support of my highly qualified and experienced head teacher, the position was made permanent ... and given to a teacher with no experience of teaching in New South Wales.

The head teacher promptly resigned and took up the head teacher's position at a prominent private school.

If you think this is an isolated incident, you are wrong.

I have witnessed similar events many times.

Temporary positions give principals more flexibility in staffing and more control over who is employed and so they are frequently abused. 



B) Many tertiary institutions are simply exploiting young people.

They market themselves as providing a qualification leading to employment when, in many cases, the qualification is very unlikely to lead to employment.

The fact that the government now apparently finds it necessary to test the literacy and numeracy of teaching graduates would suggest that at least some of these institutions are not adequately assessing their students.

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

Teacher's mother : my son was glad to get out of teaching in Sydney.

My son did his Masters in Education.

He was a few years older when he did his degrees - mid/late 20's.

He couldn't get a permanent teaching job, so he did casual.

However, as a result of adults in power, kids can and do run amok in public school systems.

Private schools can expel badly behaved children - and then they go back into the public system.

My son never had any problem with the staff, they were always grateful to get someone.

But the kids in some schools are feral (Sydney areas).

He has videos to prove it.

He was gobsmacked, and having traveled extensively around the world, it takes a lot to surprise him!

He got sick of children not interested in learning and governments fiddling while the public system burns.

He went and did some work with a friend who is an electrician.

He absolutely loves it, so busy he can't keep up, grateful customers, great money (compared to teaching), outdoors ... happiest I have seen him in ages.


Deb of Sydney, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden  8 October 2015

NSW teacher : the community do not understand how hard teachers work.

In NSW Public Schools we get 5 weeks holidays over summer and 6 weeks during the year off class.

Nearly all public holidays fall during this 11 week period.

In addition to this, many colleagues and I work at least two full-time weeks at home during the summer break before going back to school in January and 1 full-time week (at least) in each of the other holidays.

I believe that while working from home is easier work I do not have the 11 weeks holiday that is perceived by the community.

On top of that, the teachers I work with would easily work 50 hour weeks regularly and during report writing weeks 60 to 70 hour weeks.

I did a word-count on my mid-year reports for my students last year and they totalled approximately 28,000 words of writing.

We do these reports over weekends and late into the evenings with a very short window of opportunity to complete them.

We attend meetings (eg. learning support, admin, exec, team (such as literacy, stage/grade) each week;

we participate or lead professional development;

we prepare programs and individual learning plans;

we organise carnivals;

we run dance, music, chess, sport etc. at lunchtimes;

we set up art and science lessons;

we meet with parents, organise rosters, excursions, special assemblies, mini-fetes, Y6 farewells and school concerts etc;

we contribute to OH&S;

we order books and supplies;

we write excursion letters, answer emails, organise risk assessments;

we mark books and write and mark assessments with marking rubrics;

and we are required to differentiate the curriculum and prepare hands-on materials for many lessons.

We spend our own money (significant amounts) on resources, internet subscriptions, books, stickers, additional art and science supplies etc.

We do this because it is the job itself - educating Australian students - which is rewarding.

But all of these additional things, which are on top of the actual teaching which occurs 9-3, lead us to exhaustion and stress.

 We do have a union to represent us, and gratefully so.

There is an  enormous lack of understanding of what a teacher's work encompasses by the community.

Sally, Reader's Comment, SCHOOLS IN CRISIS : One-in-four new teachers 'burnt out', Brett Henebery, The Educator, 14 January 2015

Teacher's husband : my wife has had to deal with nepotism, workplace bullying and excessive workloads.

My wife is a special education teacher.

She's moved schools due to nepotism forcing her out.

She's been bullied, her workload is excessive, she has listened to other teachers preach integration and then specifically exclude her class from the rest of the school activities.

The politics are terrible.

Craig of Parramatta, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden,  8 October 2015

Mature-Aged new teacher : the way teaching is structured makes it impossible for mature-aged re-trainers to enter the profession.

As a starting teacher you are on casual till you can find work, so you end up working half a year of you are lucky - and you are still expected to present lesson plans, etc. for accreditation.

How, when you are on a different class every day?

The way teaching is structured makes it impossible for re-trainers to enter.

Mature Age New Teacher of Sydney, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden,  8 October 2015

Experienced teacher : the red tape never ends.

I have been teaching for 15 years.

With the amount of red tape now involved, it is not a surprise that so many teachers are fleeing the classroom.

Back in 2000, the job was 90 per cent classroom, 10 per cent rubbish.

Now it's about 40 per cent classroom, 60 per cent rubbish.

Today I sent from 4pm till 5pm completing an online course on how to use a ladder and pick up a heavy box.

I spent my lunchtime filling in a 4-page document because a child tripped over and I gave him a Band-Aid.

It never ends.

Don't get me started on the hours we're made to look at ridiculous DATA to differentiate the curriculum.

Weekly planning documents used to be one page.

Now they are five page documents that take four hours to produce.

The classroom is almost not even a focus anymore.

Matt of Waverly, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom?, Brooke Lumsden,  8 October 2015

Ex-teacher : I was desperate to get back to the corporate world.

I am speaking as someone who worked in corporate banking for most of my working life.

In my early thirties I decided to take the 'easy' option and went back to uni for a year to do post grad before gaining a full-time position as a teacher.

I can unequivocally say that teaching is an extremely hard job.

There are so many things wrong with the system that I hardly know where to begin, but I will try.

To combat falling literacy and numeracy, the Department have increasingly ramped up the compliance / paperwork / reporting.

Corporate compliance practices have nothing on what teachers go through.

Instead of giving teachers more time to teach, they've decreased it.

The stupidity of the curriculum and how it is designed is mind-blowing.

I worked with teachers with 30 years experience who were unsure of how to plan / manage their lessons, given the current regime.

Furthermore, as a society we are more and more disconnected from our children.

As a result we indulge them and don't say "no".

Try spending a day with 24 of these little treasures and you'll be desperate to get back to the corporate world, which is exactly what I did.


Poor teacher of Sydney, Reader's Comment, Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom? Brooke Lumsden, 8 October 2015

Arthur Phillip High School : would you like to teach there?

In 2014 an Arthur Phillip High School student drove past a Western Sydney school yelling "Kill the Christians" and waving an ISIS flag out of the car window. 

He was ordered to attend a "youth conference".


Another 17-year-old Arthur Phillip High School student was arrested on Tuesday 6 October 2015 on his way to school for allegedly threatening police in sympathy with his terrorist classmate, Farhad Jabar.

This student allegedly wrote on Facebook "serves you right I hope them lil piggies get shot".

He also allegedly threatened to attack Merrylands police station in Sydney's west.

The NSW education department have imposed a long suspension on this student - which suggests that he will be eventually allowed to return to Arthur Phillip High School.


BadAppleBullies Editor : Can you imagine what it is like for Arthur Phillip High School teachers to go to work, day after day, with 17-year-old students like these?

Is this the way that you would like to spend your life?


Arrested teen has online link to radicals, Taylor Auerbach, Sarah Crawford, P.5, The Courier-Mail, 8 October 2015

Sympathiser only suspended from school, P.5 The Courier-Mail, 8 October 2015

Teacher's father : There may be work for 2015 teaching graduates in NSW - if they are willing to go way out west.

My daughter graduated as a teacher in 2014 and got a full-time job way out west in NSW.

The school she is at needs more teachers.

They have had four teachers come and go in 2015 alone.


BadAppleBullies Editor : This sounds a bit odd. Why did these teachers leave?


My wife and I have visited her out west.

It is OK.

Perhaps teachers need to consider going out west to get a job.


Teacher glut hits university graduates' job hopes, Natasha Bita, The Australian, 12 October 2015

NSW teacher : NSW teachers work in overcrowded, Dickensian conditions.

Teaching is a 'calling', a religious commitment to overcrowded Dickensian working conditions, ill trained and self-preserving administrators and parents demanding the educational outcomes they are not prepared to encourage or support at home.

Perhaps the optimal solution is to leave your work at school, and if there is not sufficient time to complete the tasks, then the school day should be re-designed to allow the necessary class administrative activities like marking.

When teachers decide that they want better working conditions they will demand proper implementation of OH&S standards.

State Education Departments will resist because NSW at least does not like spending dollars on school building maintenance, let alone improving overcrowding in staff rooms.


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

NSW teacher : poorly educated Senior Executive Staff and daft new 'philosophies of education'.

In the New South Wales Education Department there was an annual 'buzzword' project, given a three year life, with a 12 month promotion before replacement in the next year.

Usually a 'researcher' had 'discovered' a 'new philosophy of education' that would 'revolutionise everyday teaching practices'.

This went on for at least 30 years.

In reality, the real advances in educational practice were overlooked by ill-educated administrators or Senior Executive Staff (SES) whose personal experience created the unfounded myth that the best preparation for managing a high school of about 1500 kids and over 100 staff was the first two years spent teaching in a one teacher school beyond civilisation ... their own pitiful personal experience.


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

Casual teacher in a NSW school - "I was attacked by a child with a large stick".

I was attacked by a student at a New South Wales school. 

The attack was totally unprovoked. 

I had worked at the school quite regularly as a casual or temporary teacher, but after the child attacked me I was never asked to go to the school again.

It happened like this - I had not spoken to the student for at least three weeks.

I was simply marking the roll.

The student came up quietly behind me and stuck me on my back with a large stick.

At first she denied doing it altogether. 

Very fortunately another student came forward and told the truth.

So the student who had assaulted me was given three days' suspension. 

I felt that this was not an appropriate punishment.

I had to have some physiotherapy on my back.

The physiotherapist was so shocked by the bruising that she insisted on taking a photo.

After the three days' suspension the student returned at the school and shouted that I had 'got her suspended'.

I pointed out that it was her own decision to assault me that had 'got her suspended' and that I could have called the police and had her charged with assault.

She apologised.

But I lost my job.

I was never again offered any work at that school. 

I worry about the message that this sort of situation sends to students.

It may appear to them that they can get away with poor behaviour towards casual teachers.


BadAppleBullies Editor : This story interested me because I have a friend who used to work as a casual teacher in Queensland.

She (told me that she) was also assaulted by a child in a similar manner.

She was never able to return to work.

She is not a member of this website because it upsets her too much to think about the assault and the impact on her life.

So her story will never be in the public domain.

But she has suffered in silence (and tears, and ill health) for many years.


The teacher's story above was emailed to the editor privately in August 2015.

The teacher gave her consent for the story to be published.

Public school principals may not support teachers who try to deal with bully students.

Teachers (in the public system) that I know who try to stop bullying by certain students end up in a meeting with the parents of the bully and the school principal.

Ultimately the principal sides with the parents.

This leaves the teacher frustrated and powerless - with the bully student now able to control the teacher with "I'll tell my parents ... ". 

In some cases, the children who are being bullied end up with the Chaplain who tells them that God will help them (if they accept Jesus into their hearts) - which does nothing to stop the bullying.


Rob of Sydney, Reader's comment, Public school students twice as likely to be bullied as private school students, Eryk Babshaw, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2015

NSW high school teacher : I have to move to a new town every year. It is exhausting and expensive.

I'm a third-year-out New South Wales high school teacher.

I've been lucky so far to get temporary positions - one per year.

Which unfortunately involves me moving all over the state, which is exhausting, expensive and makes me very anxious.

My first year was out past Young, my second year up near Tamworth and now I'm down near Canberra.


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

I have been a temporary teacher for the past eleven years.

I have now been a temporary teacher for eleven years.

It is very frustrating and yes, it makes me anxious.


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

Maths education graduate : there are no permanent maths teaching jobs available in NSW.

I graduated in July 2013 as a maths teacher.

I am still waiting for a permanent position in New South Wales.

You could count the number of maths teaching positions offered last year by the department on two hands.

Others who completed my course are in the same position.

One of my friends is taking up a research job for 130K because there are no maths teaching jobs available.


Brett, Reader's comment, Authorities warn Australia facing "looming crisis" because of maths and science teacher shortage , Yasmine Phillips, Perth Now, 4 January 2014 

Macquarie University education graduate waits two years to find 'steady casual' job.

25,374 NSW teachers are waiting for a full-time job in a primary school.

18,888 NSW teachers are waiting for a full-time job at a high school.


Andrew Jackson is one of 44,000 trained teachers in New South Wales who are on the waiting list for a permanent job.

Andrew graduated with an arts degree and a diploma of education from Macquarie University in 2012.

Mr Jackson has been working as a casual teacher since he graduated.

At university he was given the impression he would find work "easily and quickly once you leave uni."

But a frustrating two years followed before he found steady casual work.


Graduate glut puts trainee teachers on the scrapheap, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2014

Casual teacher : I've been stuck in casual teaching for thirteen years.

After being stuck in casual teaching for thirteen years, I now doubt I'll ever get permanent work.

I'm sick of teachers with jobs saying how fulfilling it would be if I could get a job.

The whole system broke down when our poor excuse of a union sold us out to the whims of principals.

Now being a favourite of the principal is the only way to get a job.


isteve, Reader's comment, Graduate glut puts trainee teachers on the scrapheap, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2014 

Mature-age graduate teacher : I can only get casual work. It is the absolute pits.

During my course I was repeatedly told I would walk into a teaching job.

Completely and totally untrue.

Even with an IT degree and 15 years' experience I haven't been able to get interviews for computer teaching jobs.

I can get casual work but casual work is the absolute pits.

Drive 45-60 minutes through heavy traffic each way to walk into an often unfriendly or unhelpful staffroom in a tough school and the best thing you get is to start all over again the next day at a different school.

To be at school on time I have to put my kids in care from 7:30am to 5:00pm (or even later) and I have to be ready to do that on the basis of a phone call that might come at 7:00am.

It's just not worth it.

As a new teacher starting as a casual you get zero feedback or support.

Some schools call you back regularly, others never do - and you never know why.

Get a call from a school and knock it back for some reason (like you're booked elsewhere) and they never call you again. 

Your chance of getting a job without going through the casual mill is virtually nill.

I would love to present a talk to the incoming students telling them the facts rather than the pie in the sky stuff they told me about walking into a job or that many older teachers are retiring.

No, they're not.

They're hanging on for grim death.

I know several teachers who haven't been able to gain work anywhere near home and they are constantly begging friends who have work (although not permanent jobs) to keep them in mind if anything comes up.


Seano, Reader's Comment, Graduate glut puts trainee teachers on the scrapheap, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2014.

Casual teacher : I would discourage anybody from going into teaching. It's depressing.

I graduated 16 years ago, worked for two years as a casual teacher and then stayed home for the next ten years with my four young children.

I returned to teaching two years ago and was kind of hoping there'd be a chance of gaining a permanent position.

I realised quickly that it was like winning Lotto.

It is also about who you know.

The "merit selection process" isn't based on the best person for the job, but an exercise in who the school principal loves at the time.

I am fortunate (Lotto ticket fortunate) at the moment to have a temp part time position but I, like all the other temps, am awaiting my fate for 2015.

I can't apply for a loan with no consistent work coming in and house prices keep escalating.

I still have a $10,000 HECS debt.

I have four dependant children.

I am fortunate my husband has a job.

I would discourage anyone from getting into teaching, it's depressing.

As a temp or casual you are always stressed to do a great job and not make a mistake because that is what the executive will remember when they are forming classes.

Permanents can make mistakes but they just get trained up or counselled and still keep their job.

Hoping 2015 will be a great year otherwise I'm leaving and working towards something that has a future.

So if you have some career advice for a washed-up, dispirited teacher - please let me know!


Wish I had that permanent job, Reader's comment, Graduate glut puts trainee teachers on the scrapheap, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2014

Seano warns a wanna-be teacher that "the whole system is rotten". 

Wanna-Be teacher : How is teaching worse than other careers?

Seano : How many other jobs give you half an hour's notice, requiring you to drive up to an hour or more to work in a completely new environment where you get little or no support or help?

In fact in many of those places the reception from staff and students can be outright hostile.


W-B teacher : But other workers have a difficult employment path.

Seano : A newly graduated teacher can now expect to spend much of their career in a casualised workforce where they get no feedback, no guidance and no support.

That is not the norm in other professions.


W-B teacher : And in most other jobs organising the day care for your kids would take an extra 2 hours of your day, plus your return trip would be during peak hour.

Seano : Not on an ad-hoc basis though.

The casualization of the teaching workforce is a nightmare for people with young families.

A half-hour notice and you have to have your kids packed up and in care.

Families and kids thrive on routine.

Teachers without permanent work find establishing routines next to impossible.


W-B teacher : I can see that the uncertainty of casual work is stressful, but I expect that over the longer term teachers do eventually find a permanent role, which should leave them with greater job satisfaction and certainly greater job security than in many other industries.

Seano : Not true.

Few of the people I graduated with have found long term work.

Some even commute from Gosford to Sydney.

The whole system is rotten.

It just starts with the lie that there are plenty of jobs.


Seano, Readers' Comment, Graduate glut puts trainee teachers on the scrapheap, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald,  20 October 2014

I was a teacher in the "good old days" and teacher training used to be better organised.

In the good old days, those of us who wanted to teach applied for a teacher's scholarship which took us to university and/or teachers' college for a free education with a generous living allowance for those from lower-income families, as was my own case.

I applied for a teacher's scholarship after some years in other jobs.

Once we graduated, we were guaranteed employment but had to go where we were sent, often to very remote locations, as in my own case.

The only 'catch' was that we had to stay with the Education Department for a certain number of years or pay a financial penalty.

We were also guaranteed employment for life as long as we behaved ourselves and did a reasonably good job.

The supply of state school teachers was thus regulated.

An advantage of lifetime employment was that we could get on with the job without looking over our shoulders all the time to see if we were pleasing the greatly varying requirements of our 'superiors'.


Dave Morrison, Blue Mountains, Reader's Comment, Graduate glut puts trainee teachers on the scrapheap, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2014

Finding a permanent job has been a problem for teachers in NSW since 1998.

Removing the cap on uni places has added more teachers to the pool waiting for employment, however teacher unemployment has been a problem for years.

I graduated with two friends who completed teaching degrees in 1998.

They both took several years to find permanent positions.

One of these graduates was a tough six-foot-tall man and the Education Department used him as a substitute teacher in the worst public schools in the Sydney metro area for five years before they offered him a permanent role.

The other 1998 graduate was a female who only found a permanent role, after three years of searching, by moving to country NSW where the vacancies existed.

There are a lot of issues associated with why this is happening and the problem is not just that there are too many education graduates.

Teachers are also working longer to save for retirement (and the government wants them to work till they are 70).

If jobs are available in other parts of the state or country, it is not always easy to up and move your life for a job (especially an unknown job).

There has been a downturn in the number of people hired in nearly all industries (especially government funded industries).

And the list goes on and on.


Col, Sydney, Reader's Comment, Graduate glut puts trainee teachers on the scrapheap, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2014. 

2012 NSW graduate teacher : Heed these words, even maths and science teachers will have to start in Wilcannia and Bourke.

After graduating as a secondary teacher, I approached as many local schools about the possibility of casual teaching in my subject and realised, while waiting on "the list", that the work simply wasn't going to come to me.

When you complete your application with the DEC, there are options that will substantially improve your chances of obtaining permanent work.

I nominated EVERYWHERE.

I graduated in 2012, realised the waiting around wasn't working and demonstrated my seriousness by moving to a place of demand.

I picked a place of isolation and as far away from Sydney as possible and ended up living in a Backpackers in Broken Hill.

Guess what, I got six months ongoing casual teaching and therefore proved that I meant what I said on my application.

It is now over two years since I have graduated.

I still have no news about this mystical golden "list" that magically falls from the sky to those who apparently have proven themselves.

Heed these words ... you will not be surfing on the coast a year after you graduate ... even maths and science teachers have to start in Wilcannia and Bourke my friend.

Do not invest in any boardies yet!


Rowynne, Reader's Comment, The human cost of NSW's teacher oversupply, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2014

NSW education graduate : "the NSW Department of Education is not telling graduates the truth".

As a NSW education graduate who has been actively trying to obtain permanency for six years, I have investigated all the options suggested to me by the NSW Department of Education and let me tell you, they're not telling graduates the truth.

What they don't tell graduates is that once they are teaching in the country, there is no guarantee they will be transferred back.

The department is also encouraging teachers to retrain in other subjects that are as equally flooded with teachers in waiting.

I'm currently in the process of working out what I'm going to do now because this situation is destroying my confidence and self-worth.

I graduated from Uni with a distinction average.

I have volunteered my spare time and invested my money into this job, in order to prove that I'm worth hiring.

More fool me, I guess.

I have acquired as much experience as possible for someone in this position and get interviews - but they have gone in-house every time.

Every other position I thought I had a shot at has either gone straight to transfer or an appointment by the department.

Outstanding teachers are leaving the system because they can't even get in.


Kim, Reader's Comment, The human cost of NSW's teacher oversupply, Anna Patty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2014

East Hills Boys High : teachers worried about security.

A group of teachers at East Hills Boys High (Sydney) approached the principal with their fears over security at the school amid extremist graffiti - including the slogan "ISIS R coming" - being sprayed across the campus.


Teachers urged to dob in radicals, Simon Benson, p. 5, The Courier-Mail, 1 November 2014.

Ex-high school teacher : the admin blame teachers when students misbehave.

When I was teaching at a Sydney high school I was called a "pedo", verbally abused, spat on, assaulted, endured death threats, slandered on a teacher hate website, stalked and endured threats of having my teenage daughter raped.

The school administration put all this down to "poor classroom management".

This is in spite of the fact that at a previous school a number of the students I had taught achieved at the highest level.

Commentators express the view that "only the best and brightest" should go into teaching.



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

2012 : The NSW Court of Appeal considered a school's duty of care in the case of students with a known history of violence.

New South Wales student T had a propensity to violence.

He had approached another student and struck him on the head from behind.

His violence could be provoked by even a minor incident.


A second student was later assaulted by student T.

This second student sustained a serious injury resulting in brain damage.

The NSW Court of Appeal found that the class teacher knew that student T had been involved in an earlier fight, but she did not know that he had responded violently to a minor provocation.

The NSW Court of Appeal found that the class teachers should have been told that student T had a propensity to react violently to very little provocation.

The NSW Court of Appeal found that liability had been established.


The BadAppleBullies Editor comments : But what does the NSW Court of Appeal expect the teacher to do if they are told that a child has a propensity to react violently to very little provocation?

Hover around that one child all day, removing all small provocations?

What about the other twenty-five students in the classroom?

How can a teacher possibly function as a teacher in such difficult circumstances?

And what about the risk of the violent student attacking the teacher?

The problem is NOT that the teacher was not told that the child had a propensity to react violently to minor incidents, the problem is that a NSW teacher is expected to manage such an impossible situation.

And if the teacher had been told about the child's potential to respond violently to minor provocation, would that mean that the teacher could be held responsible if the child became violent?

This is an impossible working environment for NSW teachers.


Students with a propensity to violence : the importance of telling teachers, Andrew Knott, Tresscox Lawyers, p.23, Queensland Teachers' Journal, Volume 118 number 7, 4 October 2013

Matthew McDermott, teacher, Temora, NSW, suicided after four girls made allegations.

In 1996, teacher Matthew McDermott, aged 28, hung himself from a peppercorn tree in the outskirts of Temora, NSW.

Six weeks earlier, he had been accused of indecently touching four girls during a game of touch rugby at the school where he was teaching.

His suicide had a big impact on his family and on the local community.

Many local people believed that Matthew had been the target of a naive vendetta. 

Marie Ficarra, NSW Liberal MP, blamed the authorities."The inaction of the Department of School Education possibly, if not probably, led to the tragic death of ... Matthew McDermott," she told parliament.


Matthew's sister, Pat McDermott, has just published 'Resurrection', a book about her brother's suicide. 

Pat McDermott regrets her brother was assumed guilty until proven innocent. 


Throwing the book at rampant rural suicide, Gina Rushton, P.8, The Weekend Australian, June 28-29, 2014.

Bargo Public School, NSW : male teacher threatened with scissors.

Police and paramedics were called to Bargo Public School, NSW, shortly before 11:00am on Thursday 29 August 2013, after reports of an assault.

An 11-year-old boy had allegedly threatened a male teacher with scissors and began throwing things at him, prompting a school-wide lockdown.

Officers have been told the boy allegedly threw items at the teacher, one object narrowly missing a student before it hit the teacher on the arm.

The male teacher sustained a minor graze but did not need medical treatment.


Student 'threatened teacher with scissors', Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August 2013 

A first year teacher's despair.

A young woman I know scored over 98 in the HSC and graduated with first-class Honours from a top university.

She is in her first year as a teacher at one of the most disadvantaged schools in New South Wales.

She arrived full of zeal, enthusiasm and commitment, and is being well-supported by her faculty.

But, according to her worried mother, she is spending three nights a week curled up in the fetal position sobbing inconsolably.

Her despair is a result of the psychological and emotional warfare being waged by some of her students, who are themselves battling such levels of disadvantage and neglect that society as a whole has washed its hands of them.

Her high ATAR and impressive academic record are of little help to her right now.


Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 

Ex-teacher : I was spending 90 per cent of my time on "classroom management". I lasted one term.

A few years back, I attempted a career change from lawyer to teacher.

I did well in my Dip Ed and got great feedback on pracs.

I was on a scholarship, so was appointed to a public high school in Western Sydney.

I lasted one term.

I really enjoyed the teaching and had some magic moments where I could see the kids' eyes light up when they understood a difficult concept.

What got me though was that I was spending 90 per cent of my time in class on "classroom management" (i.e. discipline).

The techniques that I learned at uni and through practical training were completely ineffective with these kids.


Ex-teacher, Reader's Comment, Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 12 March 2013 

Allen Powell, former science teacher at Camden High School, NSW : "After about 1988 we had a lot of rain here and stuff started oozing out of the ground".

Former science teacher Allen Powell worked at Camden High School in Western Sydney, New South Wales in the 1980s and '90s.

He says he had his worries about the school at the time.

"After about 1988 when we had a lot of rain here, stuff started oozing out of the ground which was black and sticky-ish."

The school was closed in 2001 after contamination was discovered in soil underneath classrooms.

The school was built on the site of a gasworks that had been in operation since 1911.

Dozens of former Camden High teachers and students have became ill and some have died.

"I'm really upset, very saddened by it. It's very distressing. I wish I'd made more noise, I feel guilty about it." Mr Powell said.


Lawyers say 70 people have joined an investigation into Camden High School to determine the cause of a range of recent illnesses.

The group includes people with various forms of cancer, brain tumours and children with birth defects.

Some members of the group represent former teachers and students who have died.

Lawyer Jim Marsden says the complaints could lead to a class action against the NSW Education Department.

"Ultimately whoever is responsible must be held accountable," Mr Marsden said.

Several former students blame their illnesses on the old gasworks site.

The contamination at the high school was discovered in 1995 and contained the following year.

Reports from the era include lists of chemical substances which were found such as benzine, banzoapyrene, cyanide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).


"There was always an egg smell and I always thought that the Bunsen burner gas taps had been left on or leaking, but I didn't know until after I left school that this was a gasworks,"  former student Rachel Dowling said.

Ms Dowling attended the school from 1985 and now has thyroid cancer.


But research director at the NSW Cancer Council, Freddy Sitas, has urged caution.

"These investigations can go on for three or four years, and nine out of 10 of them turn out to be nothing.

"So it is important not to raise expectations when investigating a cluster and not to call it a cluster when it is not so."



Ex-students and teachers raise fears of cancer cluster at old Camden high school in Sydney,  Hayden Cooper, ABC News, 24 July 2013

Teaching graduate : I wasted three years of my life training as a teacher. Then another three years of my life waiting for a teaching job.

I trained as a teacher 30 years ago and never was offered a full time job at the end of it.
Promises were made that if you went to Western Sydney you would surely get a job did not prove to be correct.
I was no 'dummy' as I had been Dux of my school in NSW and received the highest award for my teaching course (the equivalent of Dux).
We all undertook Department of Education interviews and had to pass aptitude tests before we graduated.
In hindsight I wasted three years of my life undertaking the course and another three years after that waiting for the 'call'.
(1) Teacher training numbers should be seriously curtailed to the numbers that are required, plus a fudge factor of about 15% to account for those who may drop out.
(2) Permanent teachers who are intending to resign should give 12 months notice if possible.
(3) Schools should advise the government nine months before the end of the graduating year as to how many positions are required at their school.
(4) Placements should be awarded to graduating teachers at least six months out from Graduation.
(5) Placement locations should be based on merit.
Sue of Brisbane, Reader's  Comment 22 of 25, Millions wasted training teachers, Justine Ferrari, The Australian, 25 March 2013   

Newly-qualified teacher : there are NO teaching jobs anywhere in my area!

I've taught maths, science, engineering and English at tertiary level.
I have significant qualifications and long experience across the board.
Ten years ago, I started teacher training at Uni - in maths, where I was told the shortage was greatest.
I got top marks.
Half-way through the course, though, I learned that there were absolutely NO teaching jobs anywhere in my area (Hunter Region, NSW).
EVERY job was reserved for Sydney teachers with union seniority, keen to move out of the Big Smoke.
The waiting list was eight years.
I was told that, if I sold the house, uprooted the family, moved to Cobar and taught there for at least three years, I could knock three years off the wait to be eligible for permanent employment.
Yeah. Right.
Teaching may be a great career, but it belongs to the union 'haves', who get first chance at all opportunities, and can't be fired no matter what.
It's positively dishonest to sell degrees in teaching, knowing full well they're useless.
If we're just not willing to hire the best and brightest to teach, regardless of 'union seniority', we can forget about improving education.
End of story!
Editor's Comment : I don't think teacher transfers are really a union issue.
I think the experienced teachers have done their time in the less attractive 'disadvantaged' areas and so the NSW Department of Education gives them priority for transfer to the more attractive areas.
It needs to be made really, really clear to prospective education students that they can't expect to be given a job at a school just down the road.
Teachers must be willing to work wherever they are sent in the state.
That's the job.
You can't expect older teachers at your local school to be fired just because you want their job.
And education lecturers create problems when they convince new education graduates that older teachers can't teach properly and they they, the new graduates, know the new 'right' way to teach.
They are responsible for the disrespect that is often shown to experienced teachers.
Donkeygod of Cardiff, NSW, Reader's Comment 21 of 25, Millions wasted training teachers, Justine Ferrari, The Australian, 25 March 2013  

Mother of 2012 graduate teacher : "So far my daughter has had three days casual work."

The system is certainly broken.

My daughter is a 2012 education graduate.

So far she has had three days casual work.

She apparently is lucky as not many get any work in the first term.

Every day she needs to wait around for a call that might come at 6:00AM, so making it impossible to have other regular employment, unless of course it is at night.

Low and behold if you are rung up and don't take the job.

You'll never be contacted again.

She is a single mum and is reliant on us (her parents) to cover for her.

On the days she has worked, she has to leave before day care opens.

This now draws us into the same web as we can not make any plans for holidays because we don't know when she will working.

It is a mess.

The first thing the government in NSW can do is get rid of all the teachers who retired to get super benefits and then were miraculously re-employed on contracts.

As for baby boomers leaving, far from it.

There is plenty of evidence of 65 to 70 year olds in charge of year 1.

Perhaps it is time to encourage some to move over and let the young ones have ago.


Buck Rodgers of Sydney, Reader's Comment 19 of 25, Millions wasted training teachers, Justine Ferrari, The Australian, 25 March 2013   

NSW Constable Shannon Thomson : NSW schools are adopting a policy of ensuring no teacher is left alone with a child or a parent.

Constable Shannon Thomson, who liaises with New South Wales schools, says NSW schools are adopting a policy of refusing one-on-one discussions with students and parents, to ensure no teacher is alone and left open to allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

"If a teacher is bringing a student into the office to speak to them about behaviour, they are at a stage now where they bring two teachers for the one student to ensure that nothing untoward is going to be reported about them," Constable Thomson said.

"A lot of parents these days, they tend to take the side of their child as opposed to what the teacher is telling them," he said.

"Some parents can become quite confronting in their approach to staff so having two staff members there is beneficial; one for the allegations and two, it makes staff members feel safer around some of these parents."


Assault claims hitting schools, Briana Domjen, The Sunday Telegraph, 2 December 2012 

NSW Solicitor Ian Collins : all NSW teachers are aware that if a student makes a false allegation against you, the department goes into automatic mode and you are stood down.

NSW Solicitor Ian Collins (4/2 Gang Gang Street, Katoomba, ph 02 4782 5015), who specialises in teachers' cases, said false claims of misconduct made by students and parents are a common occurrence.

"This is something all teachers are aware of now," Mr Collins said. "It's about the perception the department is not assisting or protecting its teachers and ... there is a feeling of lack of confidence of how it is going to be managed."

"Teachers know they won't be backed up."

"A child makes an allegation, the department goes into automatic mode and you are basically stood down, the word goes around all the students, so your reputation is already damaged."


Assault claims hitting schools, Briana Domjen, The Sunday Telegraph, 2 December 2012 

New South Wales parents violently attack teachers.

A New South Wales mother allegedly verbally abused a female teacher in the library.
Then she grabbed her by the throat.


In another outburst, the mother of a New South Wales North Coast student allegedly violently and repeatedly punched, kicked and scratched her school's principal within full view of students.


Vigilante parents attack school bullies, Briana Domjen, the Sunday Telegraph, 18 November 2012   

NSW teacher : my job as a teacher is much more difficult than when I was a computer programmer.

As a teacher, my job is much more difficult than when I was a computer programmer - then, I could come in, sit quietly all day, choose my own work, work at my own pace, no disturbance, choose my own holiday dates (cheaper off-peak), and leave when I liked.

Now, as a teacher, my roster is set for me, random hours, constant new subjects I've never taught before, requiring hundreds of hours of preparation.

Then in-class constant interruptions - a typical start of class is responding to three questions from students while dealing with a computer problem, then as soon as I sit down a random student walks in and says 'remember our conversation?' (from 2 weeks ago!).

No - I don't.

And I'm busy, distracted, and trying start a class with bored, distracted and late students wandering in further disrupting the class while I try to introduce a topic.


Teacher of Sydney, Reader's Comment,  'Toxic teacher' warning as debate rages on lifting uni entry marks, Catherine Armitage, Rachel Browne, 3 October 2012 

Six New South Wales Public School Teachers : we have all been emotionally and psychologically damaged, some to the risk of suicide. Senior NSW DEC bureaucrats fail or refuse to act against workplace bullies.

In the past five years six teachers at one New South Wales public School have experienced workplace bullying which resulted in them being unable to return to that school.
Their experience is outlined in submission 241 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace bullying : G.M (PDF 1,448KB)
A NSW Government Minister recently stated in Parliament that there is no evidence of workplace bullying in NSW Department of Education and Community schools.
But workplace bullies use the system.

The DEC allows, enables and protects the perpetrators of workplace bullying in a culture where the victims are afforded no real right to procedural fairness, duty of care or protection from these illegal behaviours.
These teachers, all but one male, all maintain that they have been targeted (mobbed) by the same core group of DEC employees in substantially the same manner.
All have been emotionally and psychologically damaged, some to the extent of the risk of suicide.
The culture of workplace bullying and mobbing at the school is so entrenched that the NSW DEC Code of Conduct is used to support the perpetrators instead of the victims.
Reporting workplace bullying in accordance with the DEC Complaints handling Policy simply results in further victimisation because those who receive the reports have a history of colluding with those being accused of the bullying.
Denial of procedural fairness has been evident at all levels of NSW DEC through all available avenues of complaint.
The failures and refusals to act of senior bureaucrats have demonstrably exacerbated the injuries of teachers who have in good faith requested and waited patiently for action.

NSW Teacher187 makes very serious allegations.

Submission 187 (by Teacher187) to the national Inquiry into Workplace Bullying seems to be in note form and is difficult to understand in places : M.A (PDF 651KB)

Teacher187 makes very serious allegations.
Teacher187 was appointed to a rural, isolated NSW school in 1995.
He had been merit selected as Head Teacher English, Humanities, Music, Art, Drama.
Teacher187 alleges he arrived to find the school was very dysfunctional.
The principal working at the school before 1995 had verbally abused the children, especially 12-year-old girls.
"During his time child molesters and abusers entered the workplace and stayed".
"A paedophile ring grew around the teacher flats in the 80's."
Ancillary jobs at the school were given to a 'clique', most of whom were abusers of students, or relatives or friends of abusers.
Teacher187 'notified' the principal of two assaults by another teacher.
The principal verbally abused him.
Teacher187 found that he was regarded as a "dobber".
Some of the abusers are still at the school.

NSW teacher : teachers are supposed to protect children from bullying - but we are being bullied ourselves!

A New South Wales teacher (Teacher138) has made submission 138 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying  : D.A (PDF 766KB)


In 2009 Teacher138 returned to full-time teaching after working as a temporary teacher for seven years while she looked after her youngest child.

Teacher138 was "merit selected" (for what seems to have been a promotion position).

Teacher138 discusses many problems with the NSW "merit selection" process.

Because Teacher138 had been "merit selected", the principal and other staff were unco-operative.

After two years of workplace bullying, Teacher138's doctor advised her to apply for Workers' Compensation because of the effect of the bullying on her health.

Then the Department of Education and Communities bureaucrats also began to bully Teacher138.


The DEC culture protects the bullies.

DEC bureaucrats refuse to read and implement their own policies.

DEC bureaucrats seem to commonly 'lose' a bullied teacher's documentation.


The perpetrators and the DEC mob walk away from their bullying unscathed.

And the system continues.


"After a twenty-four year career as an excellent classroom practitioner, my career is in tatters as a group of nasty women decided to make my life within the school untenable."


Teachers are supposed to stop students being bullied, but we are being bullied ourselves.

The students can see that a bullied teacher has no power to protect themselves.


"I have worked at many schools where it is known that the principal has a history at many schools of bullying ..."

"The idea that a school can have five teachers out on stress leave and the DEC is not held to account in any way is appalling."


"... Frankly the Teachers Federation did not want to assist me and blatantly ignored my requests for assistance."

"... Many teachers feel the Federation is in cahoots with the DEC."


Ex-high school teacher : assignments have to be marked after hours, when we could be, you know, relaxing.

I was a teacher, and I left teaching because I could get a lot more money for less time spent working.
Crazy as it sounds, but assignments and the like (for, on average, 180 kids in high school) have to get marked after hours, when we could be, you know, relaxing.
The time to mark appropriately a student's work is dependent on the work you put in to setting the assignment.
A good assignment might take 10 minutes per student to mark.
That means that, for the 30 kids in a class, you are spending five hours on just that class.
If you set one assignment per class, due each fortnight, then that is 30 hours of 'non-face-to-face' time spent per fortnight on just marking.
Then add preparation, administration, etc. and it's not such a cushy life, is it?
Also, when you get to go on holidays everything costs top dollar, because it's school holidays.
Yet you get less money for the hours you put in, and you have to spend time on holidays when kids are also, meaning no real down time
Pay teachers what they are really worth, or give them the respect they are due.
In our society the respect comes through pay.
Greg of Sydney, Reader's Comment,  'Toxic teacher' warning as debate rages on lifting uni entry marks, Catherine Armitage, Rachel Browne, 3 October 2012 

Mother of Sydney high school teacher : don't burn yourself out for people who don't appreciate your efforts.

My son had an HSC around 98% mark but went on to study for a BA and Diploma of Education.

He has been a high school teacher for over six years now.

My regular advice to him is to get out of teaching and take on another professional position where his talent, qualifications, skills and energy displayed are appreciated.

I never knew much about a teacher's work-load but I have seen the hours he has to put in at school and after school.

8.00AM to to 5.00PM or 5.30PM are just the hours he spends at the school.
When he gets home and on week ends, that is when a lot of the work gets done.
For example, marking 50 HSC trial essays on the weekend is just one of those tasks.

Organising and supervising a weekend camp isn't paid by the hour either, it is expected that it is done as part of the normal work load.

Marking essays, writing assessment, writing reports, preparing what has to be taught the next day, parent interviews, school excursions and professional development courses  - all are done in the evening and on weekends (I know all this because often I drive him to those courses and collect him afterwards).

That's why I keep telling him, "don't burn yourself out for people who don't appreciate your efforts".

The way the education system is going, I am confident that he will accept my advice within a few years.


Saphire of Sydney, Reader's Comment, (Editor's Note : Saphire actually made two comments, so I have combined them here.)  'Toxic teacher' warning as debate rages on lifting uni entry marks, Catherine Armitage, Rachel Browne, 3 October 2012 


NSW teacher, isolated in small community, feels betrayed by the Education Department's "failure to deal effectively with workplace bullying". 

A New South Wales teacher (L.P.) working in a small community has made submission 21 to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : L.P (PDF 1,257KB)

L.P. describes the bullying she (and other teachers) experienced, her feelings of betrayal when the Education Department fail to deal with the problem effectively, and her isolation in her small community.

L.P. calls for an independent investigation process.

Her career has been destroyed.

Mount Druitt High School, western Sydney : female teacher indecently assaulted.

On 14 February 2012, a female teacher at Mount Druitt High School was pinned up against a wall and indecently assaulted by a pupil.

The two were in a classroom alone at the end of the last period when the alleged attack took place at about 2:50PM.

"The boy is alleged to have grabbed the 23-year old teacher inappropriately," Detective-Sergeant Brendon Bayliss said today.

The teacher was able to push the 14-year-old away, run into a corridor and report the incident to her superiors.


Teacher assaulted in classroom, Mark Morri, crime editor, The Daily Telegraph, 15 February 2012 

Teacher's sister : the lack of permanent teaching jobs is a huge problem for graduate teachers in NSW.

The lack of teaching contracts and ongoing permanent positions is a huge part of the problem with teaching as a career.

My sister graduated with a primary education degree two years ago, and the lack of opportunities for graduate teachers and the complete lack of permanent positions (particularly in NSW) are already making her question her career path.

She is a fantastic teacher, but without permanency she is denied the opportunity to fully utilise her skills or to take maternity leave in the future etc.

Some teachers she has met throughout her career have been in the same non-ongoing contract position for eight years and still have not gained permanency.

This is big disincentive and something the education department needs to address if they wish to retain good teachers and pre-empt the huge vacuum that will present itself in the next 5-10 years when 44% of teachers will retire.


Madeline Vaughan, Reader's Comment, The reality of teaching 'in the trenches', Lachie Gaylard, The Drum, ABC, 25 January 2012 

Retired teacher : many casual teachers are desperate to keep their positions and working under huge pressure.

I am a retired teacher, old enough to have trained when smart people became teachers, as it was a desirable profession.

For many years I lamented the standard of younger teachers, with spelling mistakes on display boards etc.

Being literate would seem to be a sensible requirement for a teacher.

What can we reasonably expect, however?

I would strongly discourage my own children from teaching.

There is a reason that teachers are being medically retired.

It has been so bad for so long now.


The first time I taught in a tough school was in the early 80's in SW Sydney.

I was an experienced teacher by then, surrounded by beginning teachers.

We had kids who burnt down classrooms, kids who lived in violent homes, parents who were violent towards staff, 10 year olds on good behaviour bonds and so much more.

When you walk in to a room of year 6 kids and ask someone with their arms folded, feet on desk and pen in mouth, to remove their feet and they might say "Make me."

Shortly after followed by "Get f---ed, c--t".


Today there are no new permanent jobs.

Many jobs are filled by contract casuals, desperate to keep their positions, working under huge pressure.

This does not lead to a healthy workplace.


uptightoutasight, (Edited) Reader's Comment, The reality of teaching 'in the trenches', Lachie Gaylard, The Drum, ABC,   25 January 2012 

A NSW student threatened to make a false allegation against his teacher. The teacher demanded an apology - and was dismissed for misconduct!

On November 9, 2009, a 26-year-veteran teacher was filling in for an absent teacher in classes at the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE.

The class included high school students, including the then 17-year-old Andrew Olson.

Andrew Olson was allegedly late, disruptive, accused another student of smoking drugs and repeatedly pulled his pants down.

Mr Pace told the students that he would be contacting some of the principals of the high school students about their behaviour.

Mr Olson reportedly responded: "If you ring my principal I will state that you had ... (allegation)."

The teacher then rang Mr Olson's mother Liz twice on two separate days demanding the teenager apologise.

Liz Olson described the phone calls as "disturbing" - and the teacher was later dismissed for misconduct.

The industrial court has ordered that the teacher be reinstated, after finding he was unfairly dismissed.


The teacher's solicitor Ian Collins, who specialises in teachers' cases, said he had recently handled 10 similar incidents, all involving false allegations against teachers - with the most common being claims of s_xual misconduct.

"All they need is some kid for whatever reason to make a false allegation or a silly allegation and the Education Department goes into full investigation phase and they run it like a full inquisition," Mr Collins said.

Teacher a victim of false s-x claim, Joe Hildebrand, The Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2011 

Classroom teacher says : Some students know they can do whatever they like and mummy and daddy will go straight to the principal to complain if they are disciplined in any way. And the principal will back them up.

As a teacher of 10 year olds, most of them are lovely but there are some who are brought up in homes where they've been taught that it's OK to yell, argue about everything, throw things and fight whenever the slightest thing doesn't go their way.
I've had kids throw things at me and what happens?
They get to colour in pretty pictures in the principal's office and come back to class with a 'Happy Note' which is supposed to make us all feel better again.
They know they can do whatever they like, get out of making any effort in class, disrupt the other students, backchat all day long and mummy and daddy will go straight to the principal to complain if they are disciplined in any way at all - and the principal will back them up.
Teachers are stuck in an impossible situation when they are undermined from all directions.
It is no wonder that burnout is on the rise.
I spend all of my 'holidays' preparing creative programmes, marking and catching up on the myriad of paperwork, (ask any partner of a teacher) and am constantly preoccupied with the welfare of the students.
I care deeply but I am despairing that the quality of our schools is being hijacked by the lowest common denominator.
Dedicated of Classroom, Reader's Comment, 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 

Ex-teacher : at my last school I spent more than half of some lessons dealing with behaviour problems. This is not what I expected when I became a teacher.

I have recently left face to face teaching.
I have taught in public, systemic catholic and private schools.
I have taught in schools from the Northern Beaches , the Hills, Central Coast, Western Sydney, Eastern Suburbs and London.
In my first years of teaching, during a 45 min lesson you would have 10-12 mins of disruption or dealing with behaviour problems.
In the last school I was at I literally had 20 mins of teaching and the rest dealing with behaviour problems and non compliance.
Not why I became a teacher.
Teacher of Central Coast, Reader's Comment, 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 

NSW Public school principals have their hands tied. Students know they can get away with attacking teachers.

Ever since the cane was removed at the end of December 1986, classroom behaviour problems have escalated.
The problems are now out of hand in certain areas.
The NSW Department of Education and Training "chats" to principals who suspend students frequently.
DET don't want the public school image tarnished in the media.
Superintendents tell schools to "hose it down....don't let it go public".
Public school principals have their hands tied, and so it shuffles down the line, and students soon realise they can get away with bullying, violence, swearing, defiance, vandalism, and even attacking teachers.
Good teachers are retiring early or, if they are young enough, they are seeking work 'outside education'.
Tougher government approaches MUST come in.
Schools MUST be able to act on recalcitrants.
Walter of Newcastle, Reader's Comment, 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 

NSW teacher : In my three years of teaching, I have been sworn at, spat at and pushed over.

The lack of respect for the teaching profession makes me sick.
In my three years of teaching, I have been sworn at, spat at and pushed over.
I spend hundreds of dollars every year supplying pens and books for my students because they come to school unprepared for learning.
I spend hundreds of dollars on resources every year so I can make the most engaging lessons possible - only to have students not care and disengage entirely because their parents have told them that school is a waste of time and when they turn 15 they are going to get a job with their dad.
I hope you are enjoying your weekend, mine will start when all these lessons are planned.
Ash, Reader's Comment, School management gets the power to hire and fire dud teachers, Simon Benson, The Daily Telegraph, 11 February 2012 

Mt Druitt, NSW female teacher : allegedly attacked by 14 year old male student.

A 14-year-old boy is accused of attacking his 23-year-old female teacher at a Mt Druitt high school about 2.50pm (AEDT) yesterday.

The woman reported the incident to local police that afternoon.


Boy charged with assaulting teacher, AAP, The Courier-Mail, 15 February 2012  

Some NSW teachers are believed to have been driven to suicide by vexatious complaints.

Vexatious complaints against New South Wales teachers have increased in recent years.

Some teachers are believed to have been driven to suicide by the complaints.


Sit down and behave, sir - teachers hamstrung by class rules, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 12 November, 2011

Experienced East Maitland teacher Russell Schulz : managing poor student behaviour is really difficult for a teacher if they do not receive support from the school principal and the community.

"It can be very difficult to manage (bad behaviour) especially when a child comes to school without a lot of self-discipline," said veteran public school teacher Russell Schulz, of East Maitland in the Hunter Valley.

"(The rules) become blurred when teachers do not receive support from the principal and the system at large."


Sit down and behave, sir - teachers hamstrung by class rules, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 12 November, 2011

Sydney's west : a Year 11 student punches his teacher in the face. The teacher is investigated.

A Year 11 student in Sydney's west refused to complete his work.

He punched his teacher in the face.

The teacher grabbed the boy -

- and the teacher was investigated.


Sit down and behave, sir - teachers hamstrung by class rules, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 12 November, 2011 

Bathurst, NSW teacher : if you live way out west, it is very expensive and time-consuming to do professional development.

All teachers do is attract scorn for a pretty average wage.
The NSWIT bleeds you dry every year for the privilege of justifying your existence as a teacher.
If you fail to do 100 hours of professional development courses every 5 years, you lose your accreditation.
Even if you live way out west where there is little opportunity available, no exceptions.
You can drive 450km to Sydney, do 4 hours of professional development, and drive 450km back.
Do the math on that commitment.
A good chunk of that is at your own expense.
Your degree means nothing, as everyone is an expert.
The worst of your profession leave the classroom for leadership positions and academia.
Those are the ones the bureaucrats listen to, not the career classroom teacher whose classes the students adore, and who stay in the classroom because they enjoy doing something they are good at.
You have to justify every lesson you do to a bureaucrat every 5 years in the form of registration programs.
You have to write a risk assessment novel every time you want to go on an excursion.
When all this is considered, you can then get on with teaching, nurturing, counselling, report writing, marking, sport coaching and school camps.
Cricket Tragic of Bathurst, Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011

Blue Mountains, NSW teacher :  over 37 years of teaching, my real salary rate has dropped.

Teachers do four (or more) years of university study (with a massive HECS debt) and then put up with the sorts of poor conditions no other professional puts up with from abusive parents and students and a pay structure that is limited by this government to 2.5%.
Over my 37 years of teaching, I have seen the real rates of teacher salary dropping rapidly.
At one point, an experienced teacher's salary was the equivalent of a parliamentary backbencher's pay.
It's less than half that now.
I feel guilty when young teachers tell me that I inspired them to become a teacher.
I apologise to them.
John of Blue Mountains, Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

NSW teacher's brother : why push more young people into studying for a teaching degree ? They will only end up on a long list, waiting for a job.

If they want more younger teachers in the system, then how about giving them a job?
I've watched my sister and her year-mates finish uni 2-3 years ago, and at most all they can get is a casual position for two days or 12 weeks.
It's the usual "sorry THERE ARE NO JOBS AVAILABLE".
She's even gone to teach at Broken Hill for 3 months, leaving family and friends behind (considered bush), but surprise, surprise, when a full time position comes up even though she has obviously shown she's willing to go out to the middle of nowhere, it's the older teachers who obviously have more experience that get it.
There are lots of young teachers around waiting for a job.
There are very few positions available, and yet they're advertising for more people to go into teaching.
How about offering a job to the already qualified unemployed young teachers first before you push anymore people into studying for a teaching degree where they will only end up on a long list of teachers waiting for a position after they finish?
Rec, Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

Teacher's mother, Wollongong, New South Wales : my daughter wants to work in this area. She graduated in 2009 and hasn't been able to get a permanent position.

What about the young qualified teachers who can't get a job?
Trying to get a permanent job is nigh impossible, let alone trying to get casual work.
My daughter graduated in 2009, and since then she hasn't been able to get a permanent position.
She lives in Wollongong, and because of friends and family living nearby, wants to work in a school in her area.
I can't see why the authorities want to entice more young people into the teaching profession when there are young people (like my daughter) still waiting after all this time.
Jan C, Reader's Comment 18 of 22, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

Experienced teacher : I advise young people not to even consider teaching as a career.

There are three reasons why young people won't go into teaching -
1. the pay,
2. the increase of bureaucratic rubbish they have to go through - reams and reams of paper just to get through their first year,
3. and lack of support from parents, the media and the public.
As an over-50-years-old teacher,  I advise young people today to not even consider teaching as a career.
Over 60% of the time is spent on doing things other than teaching - like filing stuff to be checked by the BOS every five years - folders and folders of stuff.
e.g. just yesterday I spent nearly an hour of time photocopying assessment tasks and then putting them in the folder knowing that no one will ever check it, but it has to be done 'just in case' .
I could have made much better use of that time preparing lessons or marking work, etc - but that isn't done with anywhere near the care and attention I did when I started teaching.
tttttttttttt, Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

Young teacher : the problem is the accreditation system ... and some parents.

As an under-35 year old teacher who took a massive pay cut to become a teacher, I can tell you the biggest problems for NSW teachers are the accreditation system and parents who expect you to "fix" their kids for them.
As a parent it's my responsibility to teach my kids right and wrong.
As a teacher it is my responsibility to give kids an academic education.
Not only do new teachers need to go to uni for 4 years, they then need to go through a lengthy accreditation process, taking years to be "fully qualified" to teach.
Meanwhile they are teaching all day, everyday, taking mountains of work home, and getting paid a pittance.
Mick, Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

NSW teacher : the union are part of the problem.

The NSW Teachers Federation and the Australian Education Union are not insignificant factors in discouraging young people from becoming teachers.
Oafishly and obstinately left-wing, they project anything but professional qualities.
Like most unions, they are overstaffed by heavily bureaucratic officials.
And, in common with most unions, they exploit their members by using the union's finances and political clout to serve the careers of these officials.
In general, teacher unions are most reliable when it comes to resisting change, any change.
A young teacher in the NSW Public Education system is ground between the stone of the vast, costly and inefficient department bureaucracy, and that of the union.
Editor's Note : I worked in NSW for thirteen years before I was recruited to work in Queensland and, in my observation, the New South Wales Teachers' Federation was MUCH more active and effective than the Queensland Teachers' Union.
The high level of fear in school staffrooms hit me the moment that I arrived in Queensland.
It is something that you could not imagine.
gjh, Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

NSW teacher and teacher's partner : my partner waited three years before receiving a permanent teaching position.

Current policies discriminate against young teachers and discourage them from entering the profession.

My partner, also a teacher, waited three years of contract teaching before receiving a permanent position, despite receiving a top ranking on her interview.

During this time she was deliberately not employed until after the cut off where they would have to pay her across the holiday period.

She moved schools multiple times to follow student numbers and spent her holidays working in childcare centres so we could pay the bills during school holidays.

She did all this for the same daily pay as the permanent teachers that were paid over the holidays.

Contracts that ensure a mobile workforce and make savings on wages during the holiday periods are a major deterrent to a young teacher such as myself leaving a profession that has a reliable income that pays the mortgage week in week out.

The stress of not knowing when the next contract will come is too much for a young person struggling to make a start in life.

The solution to a shortage of young teachers is simple, recruit them to meaningful employment.

It's not hard to see the number of teaching graduates is in excess of the number of young teachers employed.


S. Alcorn, Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSWKate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

Beginning NSW teacher : we are forced to start as casuals, could be for many years. And they want us to move out west. I need more security in my job.

I think in NSW as well as the pay issue, the way that teachers are expected to begin their career also puts people off staying in the profession.

Yes, we study at university for four years and we are well aware that, for educated people, we are one of the most underpaid professions, however, when we are forced to start as casuals for an extended period (could be many many years) with little hope of gaining a substantive position, it makes us think "what was it all for?"

Personally I need security in my job, having a family and a mortgage and not being able to move out west as they want us to.

The system needs a shake up or the young teachers won't stay.

There is also very little support.

We're expected to jump through many hoops as far as accreditation and payment of fees, paying for ongoing training.

We've just completed the most up-to-date training, finishing university.

While I agree we need to keep up to date with changes in technology, we would benefit most from one on one mentoring on day to day tasks from teachers that have been there for many years.


E, Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

Albion Park, NSW teacher : male teachers want job security.

The New South Wales Education Department has to do something with staffing to ensure teachers both female and male are not left temporary for more than two years.

This is why many males don't enter the teaching profession ... job security!


Glen of Albion Park , Reader's Comment, SOS sent to young teachers across NSW, Kate Sikora, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2011 

Ged Kearney : Casual teachers are constantly anxious about their next job. They have no financial security.

Kate is a Sydney schoolteacher, who is employed as a casual.

She gets no pay at all during school holidays, and spends Christmas and New Year anxious about whether she’ll have work the next year.

She’s currently living at home with her parents and is thinking about retraining in order to get a permanent job.

“Being casually employed, I am anxious, worried and under financial pressure,” she said.

Kate’s story isn’t unusual for a young teacher.

Teachers who have recently joined the profession are more likely to be on casual or contract employment than a secure full-time job.

Is this the best way to attract the best graduates to teaching?


A secure job is no luxury, Ged Kearney, Perth Now, 3 October 2011 

NSW teacher : we need a serious revolution in education. We need it badly. We need it now.

I knew far more history and geography in Grade 6 than my students today have learned by Year 12.
In Australia, students studying English don't read literature: they analyse texts.
They don't get to actually see Hamlet performed: they READ Shakespeare's playscript, then write an essay on how the Bard addresses 'identity', or 'justice', or 'belonging'.
English exams are more likely to involve 'analysis' of a Leunig cartoon or a random song lyric than anything related to 'literature'.
Most students can't place either WWI or WWII in the right decade (that's not hyperbole).
And I teach students from the best schools ... I can't imagine what the bottom 50% study.
Australia will pay for this in coming decades.
We need a serious revolution in education, badly.
And we need it now.
Rob of Cardiff, NSW, Readers' Comment 11 of 42, Trendy teachers cheat the poor and lay the groundwork for riots, Katharine Birbalsingh, The Australian, 23 September 2011 

More than 30 per cent of Hunter and Central Coast teachers resign after less than five years of teaching.

Information obtained by the Newcastle Herald under freedom of information legislation reveals that in the past five years 348 teachers have resigned in the combined Hunter and Central Coast region of New South Wales.

Over the same period 1147 teachers retired.

Last year more than 50 per cent of full-time teachers who resigned had less than 10 years’ experience in the job.

Of these more than 30 per cent had less than five years’ experience.

NSW Teachers Federation Hunter organiser Fred Dumbrell described the region’s burnout rate among new teachers as a "worrying trend" for public education.

Mr Dumbrell said teachers were being asked to do more with limited resources and their physical working environments were "terrible".

"These ... entry teachers are not getting the support they need," he said.

"We need to nurture our talented new teachers and stop them from leaving."

A NSW Education and Training Department spokesman said that the NSW retention rate for teachers in their first year of service was 97 per cent and almost 90 per cent in the first five years.

Which seems to suggest that there is a particular problem in the Hunter and Central Coast region.


Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 25 June 2011, The (Newcastle) Herald 

Hunter and Central Coast teacher : we need some research into why teachers are resigning from Hunter and Central Coast schools.

I suggest that the Department identifies exactly which Hunter and Central Coast schools young teachers have resigned from in the past ten years.
There will be some interesting facts there.
They may find that -
 * a lack of Departmental support,
 * a lack of support by the principal and
 * a cultural problem in some Hunter schools
are factors that are driving these resignations.
Experienced, Reader's Comment, Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 25 June 2011, The (Newcastle) Herald 

Experienced NSW teacher :  It is so sad to see good teachers medically retired due to burn-out and depression.

Don't think that teachers leave JUST because of violent student behaviour, harassment from parents & poor working conditions.
As a teacher for 41 years at ALL levels, I saw cases where the interview system favoured ambitious young staff, often with dubious CVs, and women, over more experienced teachers for promotion.
Also a lack of support from the DET on school discipline etc.
Teachers, not students, are often blamed for poor HSC, SC, & NAPLAN results.
It is so sad to see good teachers medically retired due to burn-out & depression.
More needs doing by the DET to retain & support our good teachers.

Walter, Reader's comment, Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 25 June 2011, The (Newcastle) Herald 

No other profession would tolerate the working conditions that teachers are forced to endure.

The teaching profession will continue to lose good people until such times as the DET provides them with acceptable working conditions.
This includes dealing effectively with foul-mouthed, disruptive students, as well as the provision of the basics in staff areas like hot running water in toilets.
No other profession would tolerate what teachers are forced to endure.
Archie, Reader's comment, Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 26 June 2011, The (Newcastle) Herald 

DET need to pay more attention to the health and welfare of their teachers.

The real problem is that the DET are only ever worried about suspension and expulsion statistics - can't have them too high otherwise the sky will fall in.
They're more worried about "numbers" like NAPLAN data than they are about the health and welfare of good, hardworking professionals who endure unacceptable working conditions every working day.
The number of New South Wales teachers who have left the profession or who are seriously considering leaving is just the tip of a very large iceberg.
A Royal Commission is warranted into this whole sorry affair.
Archie, Reader's comment,  Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 26 June 2011, The (Newcastle) Herald 

NSW High school teacher : I was abused by a student's parents last week.

I was abused by a student's parents last week at a local high school.
I stupidly asked the student to go to class, 15 minutes into a lesson.
The deputy backed the kid and parents.
Now I'm sneered at whenever the student walks by.
Posted by Phil, Reader's comment, Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 27 June 2011, The (Newcastle) Herald 

NSW teacher's partner :  who wants to go to work where you have chairs and tables thrown at you?

What else can you study for 3 years and be unemployed at the end?
Especially after promises of subsidised study and a so-called shortage.
My partner graduated at the end of last year, an English / HSIE teacher, and even with most of the state on his preferences list, we are still waiting.
The DET can't even tell him WHEN a job may come up.
Meanwhile, casual teachers are treated like garbage.
Who wants to go to work where you have chairs and tables thrown at you, kids jumping out of windows, and swearing at you?
Have you ever tried to baby-sit a room full of teenagers?


Posted by Alisa, Reader's comment,  Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 27 June 2011, The (Newcastle) Herald 

Student behaviour problems are often thrown back onto the teacher, who battles on until serious health issues force retirement.

The "powers that be" must hear as many stories as possible.
For too long teachers have been silently suffering abuse without adequate support from their superiors.
I know of teachers who have had little or no backing when disciplining recalcitrant students, only to be asked "what did YOU do to cause them to behave like that?"
It often falls back on the teacher, who understandably will either give up caring, eventually resign for a better job, or battle on until serious health issues force retirement.
An investigation please.

Posted by Jim, Reader's comment,  Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 27 June 2011, The ( Newcastle ) Herald 

Having chairs thrown at you, with no effective punishment given from 'above', is heartbreaking.

A quiet classroom is the key to learning.
When teachers are defied, sworn at, ridiculed or abused physically, no one wins.
The bad language heard today while teachers do playground duty is disgusting.
It even happens in classrooms.
To have chairs thrown about, or at you, with no effective punishment given from "above", is heartbreaking.
Teachers are too often blamed for the results their students get, or for being poor disciplinarians, but when there is little support from "above" in schools and the DET, the rate at which teachers are quitting is not surprising.
Even senior teachers find it hard.

Posted by Penny,  Reader's comment,  Rookie teachers call it quits, Donna Page, 27 June 2011, The ( Newcastle ) Herald 

Leon Wright, New South Wales teacher : only the very dim, the gullible and the ambitious teachers will uncritically embrace the passing educational fads.

The director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute, John Hattie, wants teachers to shut up and listen so ''deep learning'' can take place.
The executive director of schools for Parramatta Catholic Education, Greg Whitby, wants to replace classrooms with ''agile learning spaces'' and, in a fascinating insight into leadership style, notes that his teachers accept it because they aren't ''kicking his door in''.

Of course, like me, most NSW teachers are the wrong side of 50, so there will be less door-kicking than eye-rolling.

We've endured these epiphanies before as our betters frantically replace all the old jargon.

And once you have begun teaching, there is no let-up.

Only the very dim, the gullible and the ambitious teachers will uncritically embrace the passing educational fads.

The rest will just get on with it.


Editor's Note : Having taught in both New South Wales and Queensland, I found Queensland staff meetings and in-service courses to be of a much, much lower standard.

At some Queensland schools in-service even seemed to be used as punishment.

If you tried to discuss problems with the maths curriculum, for example, the whole staff would be told that they did not understand the 'philosophy' of the program and would consequently be subjected to hour after hour after hour of mind-bendingly tedious after-school in-service.

You were eventually forced to pretend to be very dim and gullible in order to get the punishment in-services over with.


Waves of guff wash over the weary teacher, Leon Wright, a teacher in western Sydney high schools for 32 years, 20 June 2011, Opinion, The Brisbane Times

New South Wales : principals and executive staff do not support classroom teachers.

Many teachers are powerless to stop bullies.
They can't even get a decent standard of good behaviour in their classrooms.
The principals and executive staff don't support them.
This is especially true for teachers of foreign backgrounds, they are mostly left alone to fend for themselves.
Steve of Sydney, Comment 5 of 7, Teacher bullying victims cost us $2.5 million, Gemma Jones, The Daily Telegraph, 1 February 2011 

New South Wales : someone needs to ask how many complaints have been received in relation to bullying within the Department of Education OHS Department.

Why don't you investigate the bullying that goes on within the OHS Section of the  (presumably NSW) Department of Education?
If bullying is rife there, why would you expect the department to be any different?
Someone needs to ask how many complaints have been received in relation to bullying within the OHS Department.

Sarah Jones, Comment 7 of 7, Teacher bullying victims cost us $2.5 million, Gemma Jones, The Daily Telegraph, 1 February 2011 

New South Wales : educationists go on and on about social skills while classrooms are disrupted.

In the spartan conditions of some of Communist China`s state schools - I have taught English in such a school - they outperform Australian children.

An essential ingredient for effective interaction between teachers and learners that too many Australian schools lack, is politeness.

Instead of valuing the common courtesy of manners, as the Chinese people do, PC Australian educationists go on and on about social skills while disruptive classroom behaviour robs captive children of a proper learning environment.

Verbal abuse, if it is not too racist or too misogynist, by children including teenagers, is tolerated.

"It's the way they speak at home" a staff meeting I attended in Australia was informed.

"Don't worry if F*** punctuates every sentence."


  • A teacher of NSW, Comment 4 of 12, Deafening silence from pollies about declining student performance, Ben Jensen, The Australian, 5 July 2011 

Inner West high school English teacher : that discipline problems and underfunding do not support a culture of success.

Teachers are always being bashed for one reason or another.
From my experience in an inner west high school (an 'average' clientele, and certainly better resourced than schools in poorer areas), the main problem in teaching these days can be put
down to two things -
1 ) Basic discipline and social skills are now seen as the role of the teacher.
Children can come to school with bad manners and no discipline at home, act up in class and disturb learning and teaching, do no homework - and it is seen as the fault of the teacher.
And keep in mind I work in a middle class area.
"Cool" parenting is a big problem, with many parents trying the "friend" approach rather than providing rules and guidelines.
Thus, the teacher is a mutual enemy and the "rights" of children to behave "naturally" is seen as more important than the needs of the learning community.
Selfish is the best word for these children - and their parents.
Add to this issue the undersupported need of children with genuine special needs in the classroom and you have a recipe for teaching disaster.

2) State schools are grossly underfunded.
Our English department runs on an annual budget of approximately $6000.
We are the only compulsory subject and teach every child in the school.
From this budget we are expected to buy all resources including technology needs, books, stationery etc.
Not much is it?
So I don't think we can simply dismiss the issue as the result of understimulated and uninspired children.
And as for email, when 12 staff are sharing three old computers it is very hard to physically achieve this.
We all do it as much as possible.
So readers, is this a culture which promotes success?
  • Topcrumpet of Sydney, Reader's Comment, Full marks for teachers who make a difference, Dr Tanveer Ahmed, a psychiatrist, The Age, 5 April  2011  

New South Wales : Sydney teacher wishes he had become a plumber.

I have returned to teaching after an absence of 20 years.

The differences are profound.

Students these days -

 - expect to be entertained,

  - are disinclined to do things they don't feel like doing,

 - and, with encouragement from the media and their parents, are increasingly critical of their teachers.

If a student fails, it is now always the teacher's fault.

To make matters worse -

 * the number of students with extreme behavioural problems seems to be rising every year (it's harder to teach when you have to spend 40% of your time on damage control),

 * fewer parents are supportive of the school,

 * and senior staff, sensitive and almost cringing from criticism from parents and education authorities, are less supportive of ordinary classroom teachers.

The outcome of all this is "blame the classroom teacher".

I should have become a plumber - some social status, but much more money.

  • Brett of Sydney, Reader's Comment, Full marks for teachers who make a difference, Dr Tanveer Ahmed, a psychiatrist, The Age, 5 April  2011  

Experienced teacher : I survived for 37 years.

I survived in the education system for 37 years until I was full of stress-related diabetes.
I was medically retired as a person suffering from a "Personality Disorder."
This seems to be a cunning way to stop a mass exodus of teachers who were suffering from "Stress-Related Diabetes."
Even if I wanted to return to teaching, this diagnosis of a personality disorder prevents me.
This is all you get after 37 years of dedication and putting up with incompetent management.
  • Appsie of Townsend NSW, Reader's Comment 11 of 15, Survey shows nearly two-thirds of teachers want to quit, Martina Simos, The Advertiser, The Courier-Mail, 5 April 2011 

Mullumbimby, NSW : rookie teacher dealing with several simultaneous playground fights. Student slumps to the ground and dies. 

A former Mullumbimby teacher told an inquest in Lismore yesterday how she was in just her fourth day on the job when she came across a playground fight with "three or four'' boys bashing Jai Morcom as he lay on the ground.
That confrontation was just one of several simultaneous scuffles breaking out in a fight over playground lunch tables.

She yelled for the students to break it up, at which point she saw Jai walk over to a wall with his body hunched over, his head lolling to one side and his eyes drooping.

As Jai slumped to the ground she thought he was only "taking a breather'' before realising something was drastically wrong.

While some teachers worked to break up the mob, she and two other staff members stayed with Jai as he struggled to maintain consciousness.

"I was monitoring his breathing and just talking to him,'' she said.

"I was with him when he took his last breath."
Jai never regained consciousness.
The teacher had since been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and had spent considerable time away from teaching.
Rookie teacher ... witnessed Jai Morcom's death, Jeremy Pierce, The Courier-Mail, 2 February 2011 

Wyong High School, New South Wales : police arrest a man suspected of making false allegations against dead maths teacher.

Wyong High School maths teacher Amanda Carter, 46, was found dead in a bedroom of her Woongarrah home, on the NSW Central Coast on May 16 2010.

Two weeks before her death, letters containing false accusations about Ms Carter had been sent to news outlets and a school.

New South Wales police today arrested a man, 60, from Bonnells Bay, 25km from Amanda Carter's home.

They accuse him of sending the letters containing the false accusations about Ms Carter.

Police are still searching for the killer of the 46-year-old teacher.


  • Arrest over letters about murdered mum, AAP, The Courier-Mail, 17 August 2010


Editor : This is the first time that I have heard of the police arresting a person for making false allegations against a teacher.

Well done, NSW police!

It is far, far too easy for a classroom teachers' health and career to be ruined with 'fun', malicious or 'payback' allegations.

Dharruk, Western Sydney, New South Wales : 58-year-old male teacher verbally abused and then assaulted by 15-year-old student.

A 58-year-old male teacher was trying to coax a 15-year old student into class at a school in Stuart Rd, Dharruk, Western Sydney on March 25 2009.

The boy verbally abused him.

Later that day, the student, from Lethbridge Park, allegedly confronted the teacher in his office and pushed him, causing the teacher to fall backwards into a closed door.

The teacher sustained a fractured shoulder and neck and back injuries.

He underwent surgery and has not been able to work since.


  • Teen charged with assaulting teacher, AAP, The Courier-Mail, 30 July 2010

Ashfield Boy's High School, New South Wales : student points a gun at teacher, yelling "Die b-tch, die".

Helen Alkan had been teaching a maths class at Ashfield Boys' High School in Sydney's inner west on July 27, 2001, when she says a student pointed the gun at her, yelling "Die b-tch, die" as he pulled the trigger up to eight times, according to documents tendered to the NSW District Court.

It was only after Ms Alkan discovered she had not suffered injury that it became clear to her that the gun was a toy.

The toy gun was produced "without warning" after Ms Alkan had confronted two boys who were passing an item between them.

Ms Alkan was medically retired five years after the incident, in August 2006, and suffers from depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.

She has been admitted to hospital on several occasions due to her symptoms.

She is suing the department for damages over the incident, claiming the school was negligent in failing to warn her of Ali Farhat's violent history and for allowing him to remain at the school, knowing he had a propensity for violence.

Ms Alkan told the court today of her difficulty in coping upon her return to work.

"I was consistently scared if he was going to come into the room ... I was scared of other kids," she said.

The noise of a student slamming their book on a table or a car backfiring would make her jump and she had difficulty thinking of anything but having what she believed to be a gun pointed at her head.


'Die b-tch die': teacher sues over student's 'pistol threat', Bellinda Kontominas, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 2010

New South Wales teachers warned not to go into new classrooms or halls that smell.

New South Wales schools and health groups have raised the alarm about the installation of 3000 unflued gas heaters in buildings constructed under the federal government's Building the Education Revolution program

Studies have shown that the heaters release a potentially poisonous stew of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and formaldehyde.

They are being phased out of schools in every state except NSW and Queensland.

''These are new buildings going up at significant cost to the taxpayer,'' NSW Teachers Federation president Bob Lipscombe said.

''Heating is a very small component of the overall cost of building work. It would not cost a huge amount to put alternative heating in these new buildings. The Department of Education is not acting in a reasonable way at all.''

The NSW Department of Education and Training says the heaters are safe, provided doors and windows are kept open to provide ventilation. Schools in cold-climate zones say this is impractical.

A 2007 Commonwealth health report on unflued heaters found exposure to the fumes they emitted causes increased respiratory symptoms in children with asthma, and were also associated with new asthma cases in children.

About 11 per cent of children in NSW have asthma.

The Asthma Foundation NSW has called on the Department of Education to remove the 51,000 existing unflued heaters in NSW schools and stop ordering new ones.

A NSW Department of Education spokesman said there was ''no substantiated instances'' of heaters causing illness when properly operated.


The combination of exposure to unflued gas heaters, as well as fumes emitted from paint, new carpet and building materials, could cause toxic overload in children, according to environmental scientist Jo Immig of the National Toxics Network.

''We are concerned about the overall toxic load,'' she said.

''This is particularly important as far as children are concerned because they are much more sensitive to toxins than adults.

New buildings also posed a risk of volatile organic compounds being released from carpet, paint and new furniture, Ms Immig said.

''Carpets are potentially one of the most toxic things in the indoor environment.''


Professor Margaret Burchett from the University of Technology, Sydney, said it could take months for indoor air quality to improve. ''If you smell that newness smell in a building it's a nice smell but it's also toxic.''

Murdoch University environmental toxicologist Peter Dingle said the rooms should be allowed to air before being used.

''If the teachers and kids walk into a new classroom or hall and there is a smell in the room they should not go into it,'' Dr Dingle said.


Tile supplier Richard Earp and slip resistance expert Carl Strautins have raised concerns about the type of tiles used in toilet blocks, canteens and entrances, which they say can lose their grip over a short time and become a slip hazard.


Lessons in toxic overload, Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 May 2010

Beecroft Primary School, New South Wales ; principal successfully sues parent for defamation.

Beecroft Primary School principal Jennie Ryan last year successfully sued a parent for defamation after he described her as "incompetent, dishonest and untrustworthy" in a widely circulated email.

In other unrelated incidents, a NSW principal had a two-year apprehended violence order taken out against an aggressor, and a woman was twice assaulted by a female parent in Sydney's southwest.

The New South Wales Primary Principals Association says it has been told of at least 11 incidents, mostly in the past year, where NSW principals or teachers have been harassed, defamed, intimidated or attacked by parents or community members.

In one case, 12 months of harassment culminated in the physical assault of a NSW woman principal.

In two other cases harassment was so bad that principals were advised by senior departmental officials not to remain alone on school premises after hours.

The NSW Education Department's legal services chief, Michael Waterhouse, was asked to address principals on taking legal action.

"We felt that it would be appropriate for our principals to hear, directly, what course of action was open to them if they were subject to these sorts of allegations that were unfounded or malicious or vexatious,"  NSW Primary Principals Association president Geoff Scott said.


Now schools can sue parents, Sharon Labi, The Sunday Telegraph, 28 March, 2010

Lismore Heights Public School, Northern NSW : teacher attacked by violent student.

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 October 2009

Teacher 'depressed' after student attack, AAP ,(13 October 2009 approx)

NSW teachers can be 'EPACed' and labelled child abusers on the word of vindictive students.

New South Wales teachers now have little control.

The consequences for students of bad, even violent behaviour, are now so insignificant students simply don’t care.

A teacher cannot restrain a student at all, they can’t yell at students or else they will be accused of emotional abuse.

A teacher must simply say “please don’t do this” and then hope they are obeyed.

Step outside this rigid set of rules and you risk being “EPACed” - every teacher’s worst nightmare.

To be “EPACed” is to be investigated by the Education Department’s Employee Performance and Conduct Unit, a Gestapo-like division.

Any teacher who physically intervenes in a physical fight in the play ground risks being reported by a student for physical assault and marched off to EPAC, where the onus is on the teacher to prove their innocence.

EPAC acts as policeman, prosecutor, judge, jury and then executioner.

EPAC do not make final decisions using the words 'Guilty' or 'Innocent'.

Unless a student actually admits they were lying when they complained about their teacher, then the most a teacher can expect if they are innocent is if EPAC finds “there is insignificant evidence to prove the conduct occurred” the teacher then has this black mark on their record for life.


A primary school teacher and friend of mine in Sydney’s North Shore broke up a fight by physically restraining a student who was bashing another student.

That teacher was then EPACed and although it was found that the teacher trying to exercise their duty of care, the record of this incident is on their EPAC file for the rest of their teaching career.


After two accusations where there is “insignificant evidence” the teachers name is reported to the Commission for Children and Young People, (CCYP).

Essentially they are labelled a child abuser on the hearsay of often vindictive students.

The DET student discipline policy and EPAC procedures are to blame.


Teachers are powerless to stop schoolyard violence, NSW High School Teacher, 01 September 2009 

NSW teacher : I was EPACed. The student who lied about me was not even put on detention. I am looking for a new career.

Teenagers today have nothing to fear.

They laugh at detention, laugh at suspension and if they are expelled (in very, very rare cases) they just go to another school and start all over again.

They are vexatious bush lawyers who seem to know every loophole and get away with everything.

I have been ‘EPACed’.... a student claimed that I hit him - this, in retaliation for me sending home a letter for his lack of work and cooperation in the classroom.

After months of distress to myself and my family, this boy admitted that he had lied.

I receive a mark against my name and he gets absolutely nothing but the satisfaction that he had rung me through the ringer.

He does not get a detention or a suspension or even removed from my class.


He does not even comprehend the consequences of his actions.

I love teaching, I am good at what I do and I believe I have a lot to offer, but more and more I am beginning to hate the majority of students who ruin it for everyone else and I am looking for a new career.


Ready to give up, Reader's Comment , Teachers are powerless to stop schoolyard violence, NSW High School Teacher, 01 September 2009

NSW Education Department bureaucrats are reluctant to tell complainers that they have no real complaint.

EPACed is a tool they have brought over from police internal investigations. 

A complaint is made and even when it’s proven you are innocent or that the complaint is false and malicious you are left with a similar result - ‘complaint unsubstantiated’ (not false, frivolous or totally disproven). 

The bureaucrats don’t want to offend the ‘complainer’ by telling them they have no complaint so they leave it in a grey area where no side’s argument is proven or disproven.

That way we all feel better about ourselves don’t we?

Unless you are, of course, innocent, but the government doesn’t care about that, after all you work for them and they don’t care about you or your career.


Dragnet, Reader's Comment, Teachers are powerless to stop schoolyard violence, NSW High School Teacher, 01 September 2009

NSW rookie teacher : I had a rock thrown at my head in a public school.

I’m a teacher at a private school.

The reason I have entered the private system is because of my experience working at a public school in Sydney.

My very first appointment, straight out of uni, I was put into a classroom where the kids called me every name under the sun.

One of the girls ran out to chase a 17 year old boy around trying to bash him with a chair - I then had to lockdown my classroom so she couldn’t get back in.

When I told the head teacher, I was told “Oh, that’s just R_____, you did the right thing, just ignore her”.

A few days later, I had a rock thrown at my head, causing a concussion.

The school did absolutely nothing - I told them about the incident and went home.

They kept the class in at recess, asked the person to own up.

Nobody did.

That was it.

I was physically and psychologically traumatised - I ended up having to go on stress leave as after a week in the school, I could no longer eat or sleep.

I was sent to a DET counsellor.

When I told her about my concerns that the classrooms were out of control, that I wasn’t actually teaching, that the head teachers weren’t listening etc, I was told that my expectations were obviously too high, and maybe I should focus on teaching just one student, and ignore the rest.

That was the message being sent by the Department.

I quit, and went to teach out in the country for three terms.

I had an incredible head teacher who taught me everything I needed to know.

I was teaching kids that were just as big and tough, but I could handle them myself (I’m pretty short, only 5 ft 4, so some of these kids were taller than me by a good foot).

When the time came to come back to Sydney, I knew that the private system would be the way for me - I just didn’t trust the department, and I still don’t.  


Bec, Reader's Comment, Teachers are powerless to stop schoolyard violence, NSW High School Teacher, 01 September 2009

New South Wales : bullied teacher supported by the New South Wales Teachers' Federation - and she wins her job back!

Such a good result in a NSW teachers' case!

My congratulations to the teacher concerned, and to the New South Wales Teachers' Federation for supporting her.

I am so glad that things worked out well :


The teacher had been dismissed after enduring her principal's TIP (Teacher Intervention Program) for several months.

The principal had placed the teacher on a TIP because of the large number of disciplinary issues that the teacher had been referring to the school executive.

Editor : It is so much quicker and easier for incompetent principals to blame the teacher than for them to make the effort to deal with the poorly behaved children and their poorly-behaved parents!

The decision to dismiss the teacher was based on recent amendments to the NSW Teaching Service Act 1980 which allow NSW teachers to be dismissed to protect children from teachers who are incompetent or ineffective.

Editor : Does it allow principals to be dismissed to protect NSW teachers from principals who are incompetent and ineffective?

I bet that it doesn't.

The teacher had been working at the school for 14 years.

A child with Tourette's Syndrome was moved into her class.

Another student in her class had also been diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome and ADHD.

The teacher had no training in dealing with such problems so she followed the school disciplinary code.

She referred the disruptive students to the school executive.

The principal told the teacher that she was to be placed on a TIP.

The principal said that teachers must manage all forms of behaviour, no matter how bad.

12 weeks later the class teacher was removed to a non-teaching role.

She was later dismissed.

The behaviour of the students worsened and one student was suspended.

The commissioner said that the principal's focus on the teacher alone was misdirected and unfair.

The principal had disregarded the teacher's long, unblemished record of teaching.

The dismissal was found to be harsh and unreasonable.

The teacher was reinstated with back-pay.


Editor: Congratulations to the New South Wales Teachers' Federation for supporting this NSW teacher.

This is how unions are supposed to support abused classroom teachers.


7 April, 2009 :

Colyton High School, Western Sydney : two armed intruders entered the school grounds and made 'numerous threats'.

Teachers at Colyton High School in western Sydney were allegedly threatened by two armed teenage intruders this morning.

The boys, aged 14 and 15, allegedly entered the school grounds just before 9:00AM(AEDT), the NSW Education Department said.

Police were called to the school after reports of two people making "numerous threats" to stab others.

"Staff removed the two intruders from the school grounds, outside the school gates, which were then locked," an Education Department spokeswoman said.

No one was injured.


Editor : Can the gates of your school be locked?


Armed teens allegedly threaten teachers at Sydney high school, The Courier-Mail, 10 November 2008.

NSW teacher 'hit by lump of concrete while writing on blackboard'.

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.


Teachers forced to bite bullet, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2008

Year 9 Sydney student sprayed his male teacher in mouth.

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.


Teachers forced to bite bullet, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2008


Year 9 southwest NSW student threatens teacher, aide and other classes with toy gun.

At a regional high school in southwest NSW a Year 9 male student left his seat and crept 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.


Teachers forced to bite bullet, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2008

NSW Central Coast parent threatens school counselor with replica gun.

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 counselor's face.


Teachers forced to bite bullet, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2008


NSW Special School : student punches teacher in face and head.

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.


The Editor says : "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 possibility very, very carefully if you feel 'called' to work with 'special needs' children.


 Teachers forced to bite bullet, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2008


Western Sydney : Year 7 student holds replica pistol to teacher's 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".

Teachers forced to bite bullet, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2008


Randwick Girls High School, Sydney : teacher 'punched, kicked, spat at and hit repeatedly' in school carpark.

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".


Teachers forced to bite bullet, Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2008

NSW primary teacher's husband : my wife was threatened by a drunk mother.

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, 18 March 2008


Ex-NSW teacher : Why bother staying in teaching? It's not worth your health or your sanity.

A NSW ex-teacher emailed the ABC to explain why 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 teenagers 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.

NSW Ex-teacher, Email to ABC News, 30 November 2007

Shoalhaven principal feels that the departmental investigation process rewards malicious parents.

A Principal from Shoalhaven contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in The Daily Telegraph.

The principal had been maliciously attacked by parents.

For five years the principal tried various strategies to satisfy the parents.

There was an investigation.

Some complaints were dismissed, the rest found unproven.

But the principal was not declared innocent.

She can never be declared innocent.

It will always be on her official record.

The principal feels that the investigation process rewards the behaviour of the parents.

They do not have to explain their behaviour or to apologise.

The principal does not want to return to the school as she feels unable to trust the parents.

She feels that "the system" has let her down.


Teacher turmoil false complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 19 September, 2007

There should be consequences for children who make false allegations.

A female teacher from the Bankstown area in NSW contacted the Maralyn Parker blog in the Daily Telegraph.

The teacher is currently being investigated because of an allegation that she hit a year four girl on the arm.

Three girls had stolen lollies from her desk.

The teacher spoke to the three girls calmly.

One girl told her father that the teacher had hit her.

The other two girls have given written statements that this did not happen.

But there still has to be an investigation.

Both the teacher and the principal are stressed by the injustice of the situation.

There should be consequences for children who make false allegations.


False complaints fallout, comments, Maralyn Parker, The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 19 September 2007 

Whistleblower NSW teacher alleges that she was put on a Teacher Improvement Program the next year.

The Principal and executive's subjectivity made bias.

Their poor skills caused an ineffective program, incorrect judgement, misunderstandings and misinformation.

But they were not the ones who lost their jobs.

Many older teachers are used as scapegoats and victimised into a humiliating resignation.

The union are supportive, but underfunded with these matters.

Future action is being taken.

In the meantime I tutor and hope to work casually in private schools.

I suffer from depression, insomnia and weight gain because of the bullying.

The union is funding me $11 000+ for arbitration court.

I having been reading other NSW cases on:

My chances of success are low.


"Dismissed NSW teacher", 22 July 2007 - discussed in a series of emails to the Editor of the website.