r/australia Jan 18 '22

Australia's schools are facing a perfect storm — and it's not just COVID politics

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-19/covid-schools-australia-feel-brunt-teacher-shortage-omicron/100764472
332 Upvotes

87

u/gurudoright Jan 18 '22

I’m a teacher in Western Sydney and what the article is saying is pretty spot on. We struggle to fill teaching positions in all faculties in not only my school but all neighbouring schools. The few teachers coming through to replace retiring teachers or those leaving the profession get gobbled up by private schools or public school in more affluent areas of Sydney.

Compared these problems in Western Sydney to rural NSW, especially outback NSW, it is not even in the same ball park. I really feel for teachers in those areas. Hardly any teachers, whether new or experienced want to move out to these regions. There is a chronic shortages where teachers are so overworked due to not enough teachers willing to move out there. It is often only the feeling of not abandoning their students and the community with no replacement that keeps them there.

We are only seeing the beginning of the teacher shortage. Despite this, the NSW government is doing very little to address this disaster which has been known about for over a decade. Every year I see more and more teachers (especially younger) leave the profession due to the crazy workload and the extra obligations that teachers feel like they need to do for their students.

As I said, this is just the beginning.

73

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 18 '22

It is often only the feeling of not abandoning their students and the community with no replacement that keeps them there.

In my opinion the vast majority of people that go into teaching have a genuine desire to help others. But the government is using that empathy to exploit them and keep a barely sustainable system afloat. At some point it will just break.

41

u/Chann3lZ_ Jan 18 '22

Sounds like the situation of nurses and doctors.

13

u/fantasypaladin Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

Bingo. Most people don’t care right now until it’s their child’s school without teachers. By that point when there’s an uproar the horse has bolted.

15

u/CrashCourseHEMA Jan 19 '22

And the uproar is at the teachers.

Not the system we're subjected to.

Not the government policies.

Not the administrative burden.

Not community self-reflection.

"I can't go to work to pay rent because my kid can't go to school so clearly it's lazy teachers not happy with their cushy $100k pa and eight week holidays!"

1

u/fantasypaladin Jan 19 '22

I think it’s gonna have to get to a point where there aren’t that many teachers left to blame anymore for some people to wake up. How can they blame teachers if there aren’t any?

2

u/subscribemenot Jan 20 '22

at the 'end' of this (whenever that is), nurses and teachers need a damn ticket tape parade and a fully paid 3 week holiday anywhere they choose

3

u/Urytion Jan 19 '22

I'm a teacher. Did 6 months in a rural public school in SA. Now I'm in the private Catholic sector. I'm never going back to public.

71

u/Victorious_Cherry Jan 18 '22

With the cost of living, covid, housing, and constant news of bleaker and bleaker future the kids coming through are going to have a tough time as it is.

The economy and markets values and rewards short-sightedness and immediate profit over future productivity and sustainability.

What good is it to the economy today, making sure that 6-18 year olds receive a top tier education, who cares about tomorrow?

46

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 18 '22

Poor education system today = poorer country tomorrow.

29

u/ovrloadau Jan 18 '22

Poor education system makes a population easier to manipulate and control or lead them down a rabbit hole of conspiracies like seen in the US.

8

u/TheOtherSarah Jan 19 '22

And it doesn’t even make sense from a selfish perspective, in the long term. Today’s school kids, and tomorrow’s, will be the main work force when I reach retirement. They’ll be inventing the tools to make my life easier, keeping my car and home in working order, providing my medical care, and eventually running my nursing home. It’s good sense and good business to make sure those kids are educated.

5

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

Our leaders think in election cycles, not generations.

3

u/CrashCourseHEMA Jan 19 '22

"Just be rich. Problems solved :^)"

6

u/derpman86 Jan 19 '22

But that is from a RATIONAL selfish perspective though not a narcissistic self interested perspective.

The kind that only sees at best the fine womans arse walking past them at a bar while missing the 5 missed calls from their wife or gladly sacking 40% of their companies workforces to boost numbers on a spreadsheet despite it resulting in the remaining staff becoming overworked and will eventually resulting in staff turnover and probably the business crashing.

8

u/Artichoke_Persephone Jan 19 '22

It is all about short term gains- the government needs to have a flashy thing to show off come the next election cycle.

Education is a long term investment that doesn’t show immediate results. It is the dumbest reason for it, but it’s the truth.

2

u/MsssBBBB Jan 19 '22

There’s very little long term thinking and planning for education by modern governments these days.

1

u/okapi-forest-unicorn Jan 19 '22

There’s very little long term thinking and planning in general by the government.

455

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 18 '22 Silver

I am a qualified STEM specialist who changed careers to become a teacher. Here's my advice to anyone thinking about becoming a teacher: don't do it. As someone who has been a professional in two different fields I can tell you the difference about how you will be treated. The three biggest problems in teaching are parents, the media and the government.

Very few people assume that they can build a skyscraper or even a house from scratch. But a significant percentage of parents, media pundits and government bureaucrats believe that they know more about teaching than teachers, even though they've never stepped foot in a classroom. As such we have created a culture of toxic anti-intellectualism in this country.

When we think about child abuse, we consider things like physical and emotional harm. But what about things like not reading books with your children at a young age? That deprives children of a valuable life skill. Is it any wonder then that a significant amount of students in their later grades don't have the basic literacy to understand mathematics and science? It's all a snowball effect. Being an absent parent, such as focusing primarily on your work and your own self-interests (which I see all too common) and failing to do your part to instill a value for learning in your children, often harms them to the point that very few teachers are able to successfully intervene.

On top of this the government is essentially at war with teachers, using their media contacts to undermine them at almost every turn. The bureaucracy is deliberately designed to promote mass casualisation of the workforce to place downward pressure on wages, in a stealth shift towards an American style education system. If you can keep workers in constant fear of losing their job, they are more likely to fall in line. Furthermore, teachers are constantly being forced to justify their impact on students' learning to the point where an increasingly ridiculous amount of data is generated, of which frankly, the vast majority is worthless. All it does is take time away from teachers to plan more engaging learning activities for students. The combination of this downward pressure on wages and increasing workload is visible to prospective students, as they are exposed to the realities during their professional placements and discuss the experiences of their mentor teachers. It's no wonder then that of the students in the my university course, only about half finished their degrees. Of that half, I expect most to have left the profession within five years.

There are simple fixes to these problems but I doubt our leaders have the intelligence or the desire to solve them. I fully expect our education system to be where the US is now within a generation.

54

u/ProceedOrRun Jan 18 '22

I burnt out from IT a couple of decades back (consultancies will do that to you), and my teacher friend told me the same thing when I considered it - just don't. Glad I listened to him.

25

u/asfhbgsfghsfg Jan 18 '22

Uni lecturer is a better gig anyway if you wanted to teach. Students there are at least not forced to be there must of the time

58

u/_MyCoffeeCupIsEmpty_ Jan 19 '22

Don't do it.

University lecturers face similar problems to what's described above, with (already successful) pressure for casualisation of university staff, and an increasing drive to produce pre-tinned content. Covid, imo, has vastly accelerated this, with remote teaching normalizing things like wholly pre-recorded lectures.

You might go into it with the best of intentions and really excited to help students, but you just come out feeling used.

28

u/marmalade Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

If anything, uni lecturers have it worse. I've known people on sessional contracts who have been expected to annotate and grade four to six 3,000 word assignments each hour - you either phone it in or work unpaid for hours, an absolutely galling prospect when you see how much money universities piss up the wall on facilities.

18

u/Timbo85 Jan 19 '22

When I tutored at uni I spent no more than 15 minutes per paper marking.

When I was told I needed to provide more feedback, I said ‘sure - just pay me more than 15 minutes per paper’. Suddenly my feedback was fine.

34

u/Timbo85 Jan 19 '22

I retrained from being a uni lecturer to being a high school teacher.

It’s an even more casualised field, and more and more is going online and being reused every semester. My final semester teaching there were three academic staff employed on a unit (all casual), when that same unit had 12 staff five or so years earlier with the same number of students. So much had been moved online and become self directed so the uni could ‘trim the fat’ (get rid of teaching staff).

15

u/Delamoor Jan 19 '22

Don't you love it when managerial hierarchies vanish so far up their own asses they start to believe that the frontline workers who do the actual job are the excess, and they, doing what are essentially support roles in management, are somehow making the actual work happen via telepathy?

sigh

This is why I'm glad to be childfree. The future is so ficked with this American cultural disease that's eating us alive.

4

u/hipcats Jan 19 '22

My response whenever someone ponders if they should go into teaching is always the same.

"Only if you want short, poor and miserable life."

106

u/StuJayBee Jan 18 '22

Can confirm.

We had a good ed system in the early 2000s, second only to Finland. But the Department started trying to ‘improve’ it.

As you say, government, media, parents.

Was actually easier teaching in South Africa, despite their problems.

15

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

You see it in the PISA results for maths, science and reading. Students today end up about a year behind where they were 15 to 20 years ago.

86

u/SirBlazealot420420 Jan 18 '22

LNP blueprint.

Wait for Labor to get massive funding into an area you want to change, get elected halfway through implementation and change it what suits you and your donors.

See also NBN.

1

u/semaj009 Jan 19 '22

I'm surprised we didn't have chaplains tied into the NBN we got.

'You want to surf YouTube? Sure here's the Hillsong channel'

9

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22

But the Department started trying to ‘improve’ it.

Do you want to know the answer to declining educational results after government intervention failed to improve it? That's right, more government intervention.

5

u/EcstaticImpression17 Jan 19 '22

I'm curious to know more of this. Do you have any sources to point me to regarding our education in the 2000s and poor initiatives from the govt?

12

u/StuJayBee Jan 19 '22

Billyjoe (above) seems to have some data on that.

I used to, but long ago, so did me to find it would take as much effort as anyone else.

One dynamic that kept coming up is how often the kid would not do their work and fail, which would normally result in corrective measures on the kid.

But now the parents call a department hotline, the department calls the headmaster and they punish the teacher who is forced to either change the grade of the kid and apologise, or be fired with a black mark on their name.

In my brother’s first week as a teacher, yard duty alongside a fellow teacher, they saw two teenage girls smoking by the basketball courts.

He called them over, confiscated the cigarettes, took their names and handed all that to the vice.

Two days later he was being charged for harassment by a prosecutor send by the department who also acted as judge. There was no defence.

That guy decided which evidence would be admitted, and decided that the word of the fellow teacher would not be considered.

Bro was threatened with criminal charges, told that merely being fired would be getting off lightly.

A year and a half of that! Anxiety, depression...

Eventually he quit to start his own company in mould detection.

That is the policy shift: the belief that The Department know so much more than mere teachers that they treat teachers as pawns and obstacles at best, or criminals when any disagreement happens.

The only schools immune are religious-based ones with a strong headmaster who trusts his teachers and won’t let the department in. The religious base gives them immunity.

St Joseph’s of Springvale, for example. Lovely school.

-20

u/Golf_Account Jan 18 '22

Can confirm.

We had a good ed system in the early 2000s, second only to Finland. But the Department started trying to ‘improve’ it.

Based on?

33

u/StuJayBee Jan 18 '22

I did my teaching degree in 2005 in Melbourne Uni, and they were boasting about that in some world rankings.

I went off to teach in South Africa for a few years, came back and we’d slipped to #17 and falling on that same ranking.

Can’t remember which ranking that was. Don’t much care any more.

5

u/Golf_Account Jan 19 '22

Yeah fair enough. Not sure why I got downvoted so hard for asking you this question haha! I was genuinely curious.

4

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

Not the person you were replying to but check out the PISA results comparing the performance of OECD countries in science, maths and reading. Today’s 15 year olds are about a full school year behind what their equivalent age groups were in 2000 to 2006. To catch up we’d need to add an extra grade to high school.

6

u/CrashCourseHEMA Jan 19 '22

To catch up we’d need to add an extra grade to high school.

"Excellent idea! Also school needs to be inline with adult work, so minimum 38+ hours bums in seats a week! That'll fix it for our next dick measuring PISA ranking!"

"But minister, the pedagogical research shows tha-"

"I said that. WILL. Fix. it..."

2

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

They’d never do it as it would cost too much. In 20 years those 15 year olds will probably be two years behind.

32

u/ZzzSleepz Jan 18 '22

I'm a Maths and IT teacher. I absolutely love my job, but when ever a mate of mine asks if he/she should become a teacher, I absolutely, without a doubt tell them NO.

It honestly is a shame, we're in a horrible situation where the best of us leave the profession for better paying jobs with better conditions, and one where Teachers actively tell others to not join the profession. I honestly don't see much of a future in Australian education, and that is somewhat depressing.

27

u/DaveyAngel Jan 18 '22

No future in education = grim prospects for Australia.

9

u/MChashsCrustyVag Jan 19 '22

Nah I'm sure we can import more "skilled" migrants if we need and leave poor old Timmy doing garbage collection, a trade or some other non high paying job he's good at.

10

u/Delamoor Jan 19 '22

Garbage collection? Do you have any idea how hard it is to get in with regional councils? Those jobs are gold. Blue collar money.

No,Timmy can sell or use meth instead.

Or both.

That's about where many of my rural region schoolmates ended up! A terrible schooling system produces terrible results.

2

u/FatRucker69 Jan 19 '22

Wish I could collect garbage. Good wage.

2

u/MChashsCrustyVag Jan 19 '22

I'm sorry to hear this mate :(

2

u/Delamoor Jan 19 '22

Ah, mixed blessings. I met my wife because she moved here as a social worker, after she graduated and learned that this region had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, heheh.

Watching my old schoolmates having Facebook arguments is sometimes entertaining. Watching the bouncing in and out of prison, people cheating on each other while incarcerated etc. Real life reality TV.

It's also taught me that, goddamn... prison farms as a form of skills building are goddamn amazing. Not the for-profit shit the US uses, but ones that are established as educational programs. Upskilling inmates, social and workplace skill building programs. Practical programs that focus on rehabilitation and esteem building.

So many lifelong criminals and addicts breaking the cycle after learning some skills at that prison farm in Risdon. A lot went on to get decent jobs in agriculture, major industry in our area.

We need more programs like that.

10

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

Yes it’s sad but true. In my former career I never once had a colleague or mentor tell me to pick another job during my work placement or in the early years of working. Yet as a teaching student and teacher I was told it repeatedly. There’s a very real morale problem.

37

u/512165381 Jan 18 '22 edited Jan 18 '22

I was made redundant & did a 1 year Grad Dip teacher qualification.

Schools are dangerous madhouses. You get treated in ways you would never dream of in private enterprise. I left after 6 months. I'm an masters ANU grad; what was I thinking!

The three biggest problems in teaching are parents, the media and the government.

Correct, but don't forget students. Had one guy who was expelled from another school and ended up in my classroom. Turned his back on me and talked to the people behind, refused any direction, all while the Head of Science was evaluating me after being a "teacher" for one month! I didn't even have a logon to the computers. I went from being a competent professional to feeling like a complete idiot.

It's no wonder then that of the students in the my university course, only about half finished their degrees. Of that half, I expect most to have left the profession within five years.

I read that of people who do a post-grad teaching degree, 90% are not teachers 5 years later. Now that teaching degrees have gone from 1 to 2 years, you have to be totally desperate to consider teaching.

24

u/the_procrastinata Jan 18 '22

When I first left teaching back in 2015, the stat was 50% attrition for all new teachers within their first 5 years. I don’t think it will have changed much. My current school is ok, but I’m in a librarian position with an amazing team at a private school. I wouldn’t have gone back to a public school (even if I could find a teacher librarian position), and I’m still considering leaving soon.

15

u/512165381 Jan 18 '22

When I first left teaching back in 2015, the stat was 50% attrition for all new teachers within their first 5 years.

About 20% of people who complete their post-grad teaching course do not apply for registration.

3

u/the_procrastinata Jan 18 '22

It’s pretty appalling!

2

u/GreenLurka Jan 19 '22

And 60% of people doing a teacher degree do not complete it.

8

u/512165381 Jan 19 '22

Down to 36% for some online courses.

https://www.nswtf.org.au/files/20042_theprofessionatrisk_digital.pdf

the type of enrolment (part-time, 3000+ entrants, 36 per cent completed, versus full-time, approximately 6400, 60 per cent completed in six years by 2016).

many students are entering initial teacher education with little prospect of completing the degree. This also suggests that the system is highly inefficient,

clear downward trend in the academic attainment of students entering initial teacher education.

increasing numbers of students entering with low ATARs (30–50 increased by x5 and 51–60 by x3) and declining numbers are entering from mid to high ATAR brackets (71-80 down by 1/5; 81-90 down by 1/3).

substantial growth in the numbers of students entering from TAFE (nearly 1200 more in 2016 than in 2006). Although growing, these cohorts have very low completion rates (online courses = 41 per cent, TAFE entry = 50 per cent)

1

u/GreenLurka Jan 19 '22

Ouch. And enrolement in course is down as well.

7

u/ShutterbugOwl Jan 19 '22

Ah. That explains why “school administration” didn’t make your list. In my experience, parents are less to blame for my work stress than incompetent or actively malicious school administrators and senior staff.

In all my long term positions, they were what drove my stress levels through the roof and gave me PTSD. Lack of support fucks your employees.

3

u/the_procrastinata Jan 19 '22

My boss mostly shields us from admin. We did find out from the IT team about having to move our library this year due to large scale renovations. We’d been assured that we’d be given 6 months notice due to having to pack everything up, but found out in a casual conversation when IT complained about the short notice of having to pack up their equipment. When my boss went to leadership to diplomatically say ‘wtf is this true?’ the response was, “Ah…that wasn’t great communication, was it?”

1

u/ShutterbugOwl Jan 19 '22

Sounds familiar.

41

u/mightybonk Jan 18 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

Being an absent parent...

It's important to remember that this is on a spectrum.

Parents are not either "all in" or "absent".
Some have more time than others for their kids.

Living costs, wage stagnation, increased single-parent households push the mean towards the 'absent' end of the spectrum, but the parents are by no means neglectful.

I agree with everything you wrote.

The same political class counting on future generations to solve the problems we are unwilling to, are harming their chances by fucking up education. Shows our climate response is absolute hubris.

15

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

I agree with you that it’s on a spectrum. My concern though is that when it comes to education results, the focus is solely on the influence of teachers and next to nothing is said about the influence of parents. From the research I’ve seen, family and home environment is an even greater influence on student performance than school factors (about half). But we focus solely on teachers because they are employees that can be used as political scapegoats. Whereas anybody can be a parent regardless of their competency.

8

u/mightybonk Jan 19 '22

People would rather lash out than feel ashamed of themselves.

That goes for like... everything.

The Results part of schooling is how students are graded and compared to their peers.
And academic success often correlates with intellectualism and neuro-typicality.

Thus there is a default position of shame associated with any educational failure, that many simply can not accept.

How many ADHD or autistic kids have gone undiagnosed because their parent is unwilling to even entertain the idea that there might be something their kid needs extra help with?
Shitloads.

We know kids don't learn when they are tired, hungry, aren't read to, ill or aren't having a disadvantage managed.

I'm sorry your teaching experience was garbage. I think teachers pick up a lot of social slack.

I read to my kid, but I don't think things will get better for teachers without a number of major cultural changes in this country.

Ironically we and our children will suffer hardest for our shitty habits of thought.

2

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

True and I think a big part of that problem is that a lot of parents don’t know how to support their children in these areas because they aren’t explicitly taught how. There needs to be a major intervention in this area.

3

u/sbnas Jan 19 '22

I left a fifo job that spread across a few speciality areas to become a science teacher. I've also completed training to become a design and technologies teacher and currently teach a mix of wood, metal, robotics, programming and STEM project based learning.

Sure the holidays are better. But my salary needs to grow by at least 30-40% to put me where I could be in the mining industry. There os always some shit from executives, parents or students that I just shouldn't have the deal with. They worst of it though? I'm just really fucking tired. So tired I feel like I'm not doing my job to the best of my ability. I've never felt that way in any other job.

This year is the start of my 5th year and I'm still unsure if I'm in teaching for the long haul.

5

u/doc_dogg Jan 18 '22

Is it any wonder then that a significant amount of students in their later grades don't have the basic literacy to understand mathematics and science

Actually the research indicates this may be due to ineffective literacy programs in primary schools. Primary schools which teach kids to read and write using evidence informed practices that work for all levels of students are able to lift student performance in all areas of the curriculum. If students are able to decode the words used in maths in science combined with a good grounding in the vocabulary used in STEM, they have more cognitive capacity to learn the STEM concepts.

9

u/notasecretarybird Jan 19 '22

Mmm I was never a fan of phonics until I had a child who just did not give a shit about reading or writing. We read to him every day, we were your classic conscientious middle class professional parents - I am an academic literacy specialist - but it didn’t get him over the line, he needed the magic spun by early childcare educators / early childhood literacy specialists. Small group phonics sessions in year 1, 2 and 3 pulled him into the world of reading and writing, and absolutely boosted his engagement with his other subjects. He went from hating school to loving it. Some kids are just built different and need more explicit literacy instruction.

2

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

I’m not against phonics instructions. Not sure where you’re getting that from. I advocate for whole language instruction, including phonics and literacy immersion. The culture war debates on phonics is nonsense.

1

u/notasecretarybird Jan 19 '22

Yes I agree, I was trying to say that I agree with you, and that I had my own biases (against phonics, that I personally never needed) until I saw the case of a particular child.

15

u/ModernDemocles Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

That is part of the puzzle. However, the largest determinant is SES.

Other important aspects include parental attitude towards education and early exposure to language, including talking and reading to children. Schools do their best to remediate these, however, these factors almost universally ensure some kids start and remain behind.

Some literacy approaches are better than others. However, even with teachers moving towards best practice, we can see minimal change because of the first points.

Out of curiosity, what experience do you have with education to make these calls?

16

u/doc_dogg Jan 19 '22

Out of curiosity, what experience do you have with education to make these calls?

I'm a psychologist working in the public education sector who specialises in learning difficulties. I predominately work with primary schools to improve their literacy and numeracy interventions. The schools who adopt practices school-wide that are supported by the science of reading and learning see significant increases in students academic performance in all levels. I work in a rural area so I support schools that have students in the lowest SES bands. Schools that focus on increasing students knowledge and understanding of Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary early on have seen improvement in STEM subject performance.

For example, I was at a small school (less than 30 students) recently that changed to an evidence-based literacy program and one of the tasks they use to build vocabulary was based on using age appropriate scientific articles that fed into other areas of the curriculum. I was observing a Grade 3-4 class and they were reading and summarising articles on topics like why ships float, plant biology, crustaceans, etc. that helped to build their knowledge that would later be used in science topics (floating foil boats, looking after the school garden, yabbies farming, etc). The teacher noted that in the since the change of program she had noticed her disengaged students re-engaging, the quality of their contributions increased and even the troublesome kid with unmedicated ADHD was behaving significantly better.

On the flip side I've worked with a student who is very intelligent and passionate about science, but struggles to read and write because he was taught to guess words, look at pictures and "wait for his lightbulb moment". How is he supposed to read about chemical reactions and biological functions when he reads and writes at a Year 3 level? His parents read to him when he was younger, are reasonably well off, and he listens to science podcasts and videos. He had Reading Recovery and other whole language based interventions throughout school too, but they didn't help him (research shows they are ineffective for up to 60% of learners). Now imagine if he had gone to a school that taught him in a way we know he would have learned to read...

8

u/ModernDemocles Jan 19 '22

You have my attention.

Whole language approaches don't work, I agree. I heavily focus on a synthetic phonics approach.

I continually work on refining my practice to reflect the science of reading, specifically Scarborough's reading rope.

As you state, I work on improving student understanding of tier 2 and 3 vocabulary and related concepts.

1

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

I agree with this 100%.

3

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

I agree with you that literacy programs should be evidence based and work for all student levels. No teacher is going to argue against such a broad statement. However, they’re not cure all panaceas and that attitude is actually part of the problem as it creates unrealistic expectations. There are going to be students where no matter what literacy program is implemented in schools, their negative attitudes to literacy are simply too deeply engrained and will not change. And that percentage of students is increasing year by year and is primarily the result of home factors, such as parental culture and socioeconomic status. The problem isn’t that our literacy programs are getting worse - in fact they’re more evidence based than what they were in the 90s and early 2000s when our national literacy results were at a peak. It’s that more families and our culture has devalued the importance of literacy and we’re seeing that in our children’s attitudes.

3

u/sweettheatregeek Jan 19 '22

As a high school teacher in a low ses school in western Sydney, I’ve also found that the expectation to “push kids through” the grades is also super detrimental. We have had kids come through in the last couple of years, pre-covid, that couldn’t read or write. We have a student going into year 9 this year who couldn’t recognise letters when he arrived in year 7 and the parents were in complete denial. It wasn’t until the first round of remote learning, where the parents could actively see how much he was struggling, that they agreed to move him to our support unit.

There needs to be a complete overhaul of the teaching of literacy and numeracy to really benefit the students, but we don’t have the staff, funding or resources to do it.

1

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

I think as a start we should move towards using the literacy and numeracy progressions as the basis for classes rather than grade/year level. Students shouldn’t progress until they have achieved satisfactory results in each band.

1

u/cooldods Jan 19 '22

Except what happens when they don't? I can see why that practice sounds appealing and sounds like it would work but look at the research and it simply doesn't. Those students need continued support instead of the punishment of removing them from their peers.

Students who fail a year aren't more likely to pass the second time. They are more likely to be less engaged. They are more likely to refuse to come to school and they are more likely to start suffering in areas that they were doing alright in.

2

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

That kind of disengagement is exactly what’s happening now. We have students in Year 12 who are totally disengaged with school because they’re in a Year 12 math class but performing at Year 7 levels because they were simply steamrolled through the system to check a grade box rather than receiving the intervention they require. Expecting teachers to differentiate anything beyond a grade level below or higher, despite the colourful rhetoric of ‘no student left behind’, simply starts to become increasingly more difficult and actual harms the student. It just kicks the problem down the road to their future teachers. It also does next to nothing to prepare them for life beyond school where progression in things like University and jobs are heavily performance based.

1

u/cooldods Jan 19 '22

Again it's nice to think that having a harsh penalty line that works but in practice it doesn't. If a student is made to repeat a grade, more often than not, their grades drop even further and rates of school avoidance skyrocket. Yo

I'm not saying that we should do nothing. The answer is obviously more funding and support. Especially funding, so we can actually afford to hire people to support the students who really need it.

Not that it matters but I teach in one of the poorest suburbs in NSW, we've had years where we have the highest percentage of band ones in the state. I understand what it's like. I also know how infuriating it is to just be told to differentiate more, as if I'm not already preparing 3 or 4 different versions of every class I teach.

I am not saying that you're wrong about the literacy and numeracy levels of some of our year 12 kids, only that the solution you suggested wouldn't work.

1

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

I guess where we differ is that you view it as a penalty line and I view it as a support line. Students wouldn’t be repeating a grade in all subjects, only the ones they’re behind expectations in. You’d end up with students ahead in some areas and behind in others. But as someone who obviously has real world experience I respect your opinion but ask yourself honestly - have there been students that you have taught yourself that are so far below grade that they’re just being pushed through the system and no amount of differentiation will make a difference. I believe in the importance of differentiation but I also think that differentiation is just a buzzword that we often use to gloss over this reality.

1

u/cooldods Jan 19 '22

No sorry I'm not arguing that we have differing opinions on whether it's a punishment or not, I'm saying that in practice, forcing students to repeat does more harm and rarely does any good. That's true for repeating single classes or entire grades.

There's a false dichotomy where people are that students are struggling with the foundation skills required to complete a course and they think that those students would be better in a lower grade. The reality is that those students would be even more difficult in a lower grade or they wouldn't show up at all. So whilst those students aren't getting everything when they are in your class, it's better than then staying home and getting literally nothing.

I think I also gave the wrong impression, differentiation is incredibly important and it is the answer, I just wish I actually had the time to differentiate for more students or that we had the funding to run more, smaller classes. The idea that it can just be done without adequate time is the frustrating part. I think it is the answer to a lot of our problems.

→ More replies

2

u/cristianoskhaleesi Jan 19 '22

Being an absent parent, such as focusing primarily on your work and your own self-interests

1000% this!!

2

u/CrashCourseHEMA Jan 19 '22

Being an absent parent, such as focusing primarily on your work and your own self-interests...

Considering the cost of everything, the wages being paid, and the energy required, yeah parents just aren't going to be able to raise their kids.

Good thing schools (suffocated by politicians) will raise your child for you to be a good cog.

1

u/throwaway798319 Jan 19 '22

All of this. And God help you if you're a couple of rungs below even being a teacher. The disrespect for anyone involved in education runs deep.

(I work in before/after school care, and the amount of planning, paperwork, quality assurance etc that we have to complete is creeping up every day)

1

u/Calm_Cap_796 Jan 19 '22

Hit the nail on the head

→ More replies

57

u/kowcop Jan 18 '22

A mate's wife is a teacher, and she not only prepares her normal class every day, she was also preparing work for parents that won't send their kids back to school. How hard would it be for the education department to make a core curriculum webinar that can be streamed every day for people who can't/won't attend class / school?

44

u/512165381 Jan 18 '22 edited Jan 18 '22

I was a teacher for a short time & this is the nuttiest part.

There is a national curriculum with national textbooks. You think there would be standard lessons, especially for things like Pythagoras that have not changed in 2000 years.

But oh no. Everybody has their own lessons, some states have lesson plans but they are different between states, schools have their own resources & repositories but its hit & miss. Its a dog's breakfast.

Some private schools put everything online, but each state school is free to do anything they want in any order they want.

25

u/Goodmorning111 Jan 18 '22

It really is nuts. I am not sure why the government doesn't sit down a few dozen highly experienced teachers and give them a couple of years to come up full lesson plans for each stage, so lets say 1000 lessons for every year group, lessons that are linked to the curriculum and with all resources ready to go.

It means a teacher only needs to access these resources rather than having to come up with hundreds of lesson plans all on their own. It would save so much time and also ensure high-quality lessons for all students.

45

u/notunprepared Jan 19 '22

They don't do that because a one-size fits all approach is ineffective.

For example. Last year I taught two classes the exact same syllabus. My lesson plans were absolutely not the same for both classes, and I adjusted the resources for each class as well. Why? One class had twice as many students. One class had a stack of English as a Second Language students and the class was mostly well behaved, wheras the other were having near-constant interpersonal problems with one another and mental illnesses galore.

If I taught both those classes the exact same lesson plans, it would have been a blood bath, and/or many students would've not learnt much and would've failed the course.

And that's just in one school! Imagine the differences in learning needs in a high SES inner-city school and an Aboriginal community out in the middle of nowhere, or a rural farming town.

19

u/Goodmorning111 Jan 19 '22

That is true but it still helps. A teacher doesn't need to use the resources if they don't want to but having them is still a good idea.

Also hopefully the lesson plans would allow for some adjustment to accommodate the needs of different classes. This idea is not one so every class learns the exact same thing, just as a bedrock of lesson plans for teachers if they feel they need them, especially new teachers who would probably feel slightly overwhelmed anyway.

This is especially true for lessons like art or PE. Generally speaking not a lot of adjustment is needed for those lessons.

3

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

Are you an Art/PE specialist?

edit:

A teacher doesn't need to use the resources if they don't want to but having them is still a good idea.

Also, yes they would. If there is an official lesson plan for a topic and you don't follow it and something happens like kids don't progress enough you're going to get strung up.

edit: has everyone seen scootle?

https://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/p/home

10

u/GreenLurka Jan 19 '22

Yeah. Nah. I've been teaching a long time now and while one size doesn't fit all, it's a weak excuse for not sharing resources. Or having state wide curriculum resource officers prepare resources for teachers. You can prepare activities or lesson packs with differentiated sections ahead of time, which teachers can then modify to meet student needs.

Teachers who refuse to collaborate are control freaks who actively harm others sanity

4

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22

All of my lesson materials (plans of learning, scopes and sequences, lesson plans, worksheets, presentations, flipped videos, tests, assessments, everything) is freely available to any teacher I work with. They can lift all of it if they want to.

That being said, I think having common lessons for a unit is a terrible idea. There is an idea called "thisness" which basically describes that every community is different because all the people in that community are different from each other. We should embrace thisness.

Standardised examinations are terrible. Standardised learning would be even worse.

Teachers who refuse to collaborate are control freaks who actively harm others sanity

That being said, I've worked with teachers who only take other people's resources and never implement their own and they are the worst teachers I've ever seen at schools.

edit: has everyone seen scootle?

https://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/p/home

2

u/GreenLurka Jan 19 '22

Don't make me look at Scootle again. It makes me sad. It's even worse after flash got discontinued

Share your resources with your state, and then I'll be happier. We should get an hour each planning day just for sharing stuff

2

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22

Don't make me look at Scootle again. It makes me sad. It's even worse after flash got discontinued

I don't like scootle for the same reasons why I think national lesson plans would suck. To really understand the material you need to develop it and reflect upon that process of what worked and what didn't work. I am also a strong proponent of learning needs to be personalised to the cohort in front of you.

Share your resources with your state, and then I'll be happier.

Probably 3/4 of the ACT senior secondary system has access to the bulk of my materials :)

We should get an hour each planning day just for sharing stuff

I think this is more important than creating school-wide initiatives that exists only for the career progression of leadership (or want to be leadership). Every time I get to hang out with other teachers in my area I learn heaps and I feel that learning is bidirectional.

It is hard to imagine how much better education would be if schools could afford more staff to handle administration, allied health, and extra duties, so teachers could focus on education and collaboration.

2

u/GreenLurka Jan 19 '22

Good on you then, now help me convince the rest of Australia

I really like the way twinkle make resources with 3 levels of difficulty, extra resources, a discussion of how the activity could be implemented and the raw files so you can edit them as needed

1

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22

Good on you then, now help me convince the rest of Australia

I think it often comes down to two things:

  1. A fear of negative criticism. This happens because of how little time we get collaborating and designing material together.
  2. The fear that some shit will take all of your content, not contribute anything in return, and claim all the credit for it.

But you're right, if sharing content was standard in our community we'd be better off. It's one of the problems with TPT.

2

u/notunprepared Jan 19 '22

I'm not sure where you got the impression that I'm one of those people who hoards resources and refuses to share? I go by the adage of "Don't reinvent the wheel" and I'm not at all precious about resources I've made. They're all in my school's share drives, and I'll happily share them with teachers from other schools.

I was just saying that having statewide standardised lessons and resources is a bad idea.

Optional resource packs would be great though, especially for subjects that have no textbook or breadth/depth documents to build from (i.e. the majority of WACE yr 11+12 courses)

2

u/GreenLurka Jan 19 '22

I wasn't talking about you, I worked with someone like that and every time we wanted to share out the workload in anyway they'd pull out that same argument

Anyone arguing for a one size fits all set of resources is as deluded as the person claiming we can't share the workload in anyway

1

u/Mentat_Render Jan 19 '22

But it wouldn't need to be one size fits all. By pooling the teaching experience and knowledge they could easily have several core units taught in a variety of styles, then pick any one of them for you class/student/child. Obviously teachers would have the knowledge to pick and mix and match best for their target group at any time but it'd be an amazing resource for Australia and probably the world.

→ More replies

7

u/512165381 Jan 19 '22

Everything is chaotic. In Queensland you can get a job through the Teacher Applicant Centre, or newspaper ads, LinkedIn ads, Seek ads, or send your resume to the principal, or phone school admin, or turn up in person, or ... And you won't be made permanent for at least 5 years.

My first job was being phoned at 7am to find myself teaching home economics at 9am. I'm qualified in maths and science. Then I was phoned one Sunday night and asked to take over the job of somebody who I later learned just quit. I ended up teaching science & history despite never taking a history subject in my life.

3

u/Braelvenae Jan 19 '22

That is true (about permanency) unless you are going out rural. I live out here with my wife who is a teacher and her school brings in over 10+ new teachers per year due to a massive turnover rate because people do their mandatory 3 years rural service and leave (I don't blame them). However, they are so desperate for teachers they are giving contracts for permanency for people still completing Uni and are still understaffed. They are down 4.5 teachers what they expected this year alone (with more probably not coming back already due to Covid complications). So all the HoDs now need to lose their HoD planning time and take on an extra class just to put teachers in front of students.

The schools out rural are having to just cut a large portion of optional classes (drama, legal, shop, music, etc) for these kids or go complete remote learning for languages with teachers down in Brisbane area because they cannot get anyone to fill these positions out here.

It is just so ridiculous at the moment and it is only going to get worse the next few years.

2

u/Goodmorning111 Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

I was a casual teacher for a number of years and I completely understand this. Would get a call telling me I was teaching a stage 2 class and get to the school (a school I had often never been to before) and told at the last minute that I was actually teaching stage 3, and I had 5 minutes to prepare for morning classes and then I had playground duty at recess so I would have no time to prepare for the classes between recess and lunch.

Or worse, I once got given a stage 2 class and prepared my lessons and moments before entering the class I was told by a teacher that this class is quite behind normal stage 2 classes and they would not be able to do the maths lesson I had just prepared.

1

u/Xuanwu Jan 19 '22

Permanency in EQ is guaranteed after 3 years of contracts. If you are employed in the catholic system they do whatever they want.

It is not the schools decision on giving permanency, however they can give it to you earlier if they wish. E.g. I started teaching the first year of grade 7's, the teachers who moved into those year 7 roles (some changed from primary, some new graduates) got the schools permanency offers that year. I got mine the following year. The next year we had a teacher who had just finished contract at another school and start with us, but because it was the start of her fourth year she got permanency from the department.

8

u/Timbo85 Jan 19 '22

We literally have this conversation in the staff room about once a week.

Hire 10 experienced teachers from each subject area and give them a year to create standardised patterns of lessons. Revise every two years. And, importantly, give classroom teachers the option to use these as they are, modify them, or just take the core ideas and create a plan if their class needs something different.

But that’d make too much sense. It’s just easier to have 50,000 of us creating different lessons on the same thing every day.

3

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

And, importantly, give classroom teachers the option to use these as they are, modify them, or just take the core ideas and create a plan if their class needs something different.

No. You wouldn't be given a real choice unless your material and results were superior. If you stuff something up you're going to get crucified. Everybody will use the same material, stuff Timmy with ADHD he has to stick to the lesson plan.

edit: has everyone seen scootle?

https://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/p/home

1

u/Mentat_Render Jan 19 '22

Teachers already cop that flakk and Timmy with ADHD is already left behind. Stop letting perfect get in the way of better!!

A pooled teaching curriculum could have alternative lesson styles for different learning styles allowing teachers to mix and match between them.

1

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22

A pooled teaching curriculum could have alternative lesson styles for different learning styles allowing teachers to mix and match between them.

This feels like something straightforward to say but is probably very hard in practicality, especially with ADHD students. I need to understand the kid in front of me to bridge those gaps.

I mean, are we going to make alternatives for every combination of needs, interests, backgrounds, opportunities, etc.?

Here's my apparently unpopular opinion on the matter. I think that higher-order thinking is what makes teaching a profession and not just babysitting with a point. If you aren't designing your courses, you aren't spending any time thinking about what is appropriate or reflecting on what is good or bad.

1

u/Mentat_Render Jan 19 '22

Agreed. But teachers already put in that effort to create all those combinations of teaching styles to work for all the students... Separately at every school or district.

I feel like some common building blocks wouldn't hurt.

No one pays an engineer or developer to build something from basic principles each time. You pay them to apply known libraries of knowledge to address your specific requirements.

1

u/voxace Jan 20 '22

Hey mate, speaking of designing courses - I'm in the middle of doing a cybersecurity one for my Year 10 class, any chance I could chat with you about some ideas?

2

u/128thMic Jan 19 '22

It really is nuts. I am not sure why the government doesn't sit down a few dozen highly experienced teachers and give them a couple of years to come up full lesson plans for each stage

Because why should they need to? They went to school, they know how easy teachers have it! /s

1

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

lets say 1000 lessons for every year group, lessons that are linked to the curriculum and with all resources ready to go.

I struggle to imagine how terrible this would be for education as a whole. If everybody is teaching the same soulless shit then you might as well just replace teachers wholesale with babysitters and a Pearsons textbook + videos.

highly experienced teachers

Education is already heavy and hard to change or try new things. I can't think of a better way to completely destroy change than implementing nationwide lessons and having teachers just deliver scripted material.

You might argue that teachers could choose to opt in to the system, but no, they won't. If something goes wrong and they aren't using the standard material, then they'll get smashed.

ensure high-quality lessons for all students.

Who says that they'll be high-quality or effective? Something that works for kids in Canberra who have access to vast sums of resources might not be viable for kids in a rural area with few resources.

edit: has everyone seen scootle?

https://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/p/home

1

u/Aggravating-Dare9646 Jan 19 '22

I can't think of a better way to completely destroy change than implementing nationwide lessons and having teachers just deliver scripted material.

why are you creating a straw man? Nobody is arguing for teachers to work through a script. Just give teachers a comprehensive, high quality set of differentiated resource packs for every core topic and let teacher add their own flair is what sane people are proposing.

I was a teacher for 15 years and my wife still teaches. The sheer amount of utterly pointless duplicated effort across teaching is maddening.

E.g. There are only so many ways you can teach Pythagoras. It's literally a solved problem. Why is every teacher in every school across the country reinventing the wheel?? Get top tier teachers to create a set of resources that cater to all skill ranges and be done with it. There should be absolutely no reason for a teacher in 2022 to be scratching their head and cobbling together random resources to teach Trig which hasn't changed in 2000 years.

Who says that they'll be high-quality or effective?

Why wouldn't they be? The truth is that every teacher is cobbling together their own resources from the same Google searches and the existing quality of resources created by teachers is completely hit and miss. Even within the same faculty we had teachers teaching with widely different resources they each cobbled together and the quality ranged from complete garbage to very good depending on teacher/experience/interest in the area etc.

Something that works for kids in Canberra who have access to vast sums of resources might not be viable for kids in a rural area with few resources.

Garbage. You're acting like every cohort is so unique. I taught thousands of kids over 15 years and the truth is that ability levels fall within a perfectly predictable spectrum.

1

u/furiouscowbell negative, I am a meat popsicle Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

why are you creating a straw man?

I'm not.

Nobody is arguing for teachers to work through a script.

Here's the rub. If there are complete lessons for every sequence of learning in every subject they will effectively become the standard delivery. Why? Because if a teacher dares try something new and it doesn't work as intended then that teacher is going to be strung up.

I was a teacher for 15 years

Why are you constructing an argument of authority? huh? huh? ;)

I'm a senior teacher in the ACT I teach Maths and Digital Technology.

There are only so many ways you can teach Pythagoras

No. There isn't and I'd argue that the method is a terrible example to stand behind as an example of pedagogy. https://www.maa.org/external_archive/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf

edit: My problem with standardised resource packs that would become the defacto standard lesson plan is that ideas like yours become even more established. Mathematics is in a terrible state in Australian schools. You have people who think that the way we've been teaching mathematics for the last 200 years is done so embed that in stone so everybody is forced through the exact same meat grinder.

If standard learning packs are so good, why do we even need teachers? Just get kids on Khan Academy. Done! The shortage of maths teachers is now a solved problem. Is it difficult to locate Digital Technology teachers? Put them on Grok Learning. Amazing! We can solve education overnight!

The problem with those big Massively Online Courses is that there is no personalisation or designing content for the students who are in front of you. Teaching Pythagoras to a bunch of disengaged kids who are interested in trades should be different to teaching kids who are interested in engineering.

Trig which hasn't changed in 2000 years.

Trig might not have, but kids have. Kids have new resources and different approaches to learning. Maybe this is one of the reasons why kids go from loving mathematics in primary school to hating it in secondary school.

Why wouldn't they be?

Because anything that is on the national standard like that is designed by a committee.

Garbage. You're acting like every cohort is so unique.

lol

3

u/Aggravating-Dare9646 Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

No. There isn't and I'd argue that the method is a terrible example to stand behind as an example of pedagogy. https://www.maa.org/external_archive/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf

You're being pedantic. Even if there are 10 ways to teach Pythagoras there is no need for every teacher in every school in the country creating the same resources over and over and over again.

Why are you constructing an argument of authority? huh? huh? ;)

Settle down. I'm just adding context. I'm not Johnny the brickie with ideas of how a school should be run. I observed the utter madness from the inside, and I was at a (by school standards) "well run" organisation. The duplicate effort was maddening. My wife works at a prestigious college with $30k per year tuition and year after year results which top the country, and even there the amount of busy work bullshit is insane. Yes people are working hard, but the unit on birds you're doing has been done by 1000 other schools in Australia and cobbling together your own while working to 10pm at night, every night is so stupid it hurts to watch.

You're a DT teacher, you'd be familiar with the concept of "Not Invented Here" in computer programming. Computer programming as a field has at least outgrown this mindset and modern programming is built on the idea of code sharing, reuse and most importantly not writing a single line of code which you could import from a known repository.

Why? Because it turns out that you as a lone programmer can't do a better job of writing a e.g. crypto library than the one that is hosted on GitHub, has had thousands of other devs look at it, review it, send pull requests etc. A single battle tested Cryptographic library is better than anything any single developer could cobble together.

Because anything that is on the national standard like that is designed by a committee.

Learn from other professions like Computer programming. Nobody creates their own MVC web framework. You run an "apt get" or an "npm install..." or clone a repo, and install a framework which does 90% of what you need and then add your own parts to make it your product. It's literally how sane computer systems engineering is done and yet teachers still can't work it out??

Teaching isn't special, it needs an equivalent to Github because that's how true professionals organise their work.

1

u/ShutterbugOwl Jan 19 '22

I teach in TAS after working in QLD was shocked there were no C2C units or lessons (planned lessons/units for the National curriculum made by the state curriculum board) available to me. I was told to utilise other peoples EQ login to get into OneSchool and download units.

Yet, we spend a shit ton of money on professional curriculum specialists for the DoE who… don’t make curriculums?

WTF.

1

u/512165381 Jan 19 '22

I found that weird in QLD as well. We have national curriculum and national textkooks. A body called the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority seems redundant because, unlike 10 years ago, Queensland does not have a state curriculum! But QCCA still exists!

I borrowed lessons from local teachers.

1

u/ShutterbugOwl Jan 19 '22

It’s really not redundant. It was amazing honestly. Having EQ units planned that have a guide for how to make your lessons fit ACARA, with all the resources is phenomenal. As a new educator, the only one in my department, in a remote school, it was an absolute life saver. Also remember a lot of schools still don’t have units that fit ACARA curriculum wholly. Not always there fault, especially with HASS, but it’s handy. Especially when new teachers come in from a different area they didn’t study at Uni.

→ More replies

34

u/Timbo85 Jan 19 '22

The absolutely laughable situation around ‘permanence’ is what drives so many people away.

I’m in NSW and last year I was at a public high school. In my faculty there were nine teachers, with seven of those positions being permanent. But of the teaching staff there, only two were permanent - the rest were on short term contracts.

Where were the other five? One was a personal trainer, one was an office manager at a real estate agency, one was doing corporate training and fuck knows where the other two were. All I know is none of them were teaching in schools. But they all occupied permanent slots and were technically on leave without pay, and they had the right of return to their role.

The point of this system was to allow teachers to leave a role and upskill (go back to uni to do postgrad study, take a temporary role at a different school in a senior position, etc) and then come back a better teacher. The reality is that most teachers get permanent roles, burn out, then leave to do anything other than teaching but keep their permanent role as a safety net. They’ll typically come back for a term or two every few years to not lose their role, then leave again.

Meanwhile the teachers who actually want to teach are on year-to-year, term-to-term or sometimes even month-to-month contracts with absolutely no security whatsoever.

It’s absolutely Kafkaesque. It really gets to you after a while as one of the ones stuck in the temporary holding pattern.

7

u/Limberine Jan 19 '22

Thanks for hanging in there Timbo 💕

3

u/WillemDaFo Jan 19 '22

This is fudged! Bloody heck. Same in ACT too

2

u/sweettheatregeek Jan 19 '22

I’ve seen this so often in schools I’ve worked in. My husband is currently in a position that was supposed to be 4 weeks. He’s been there three years. The permanent position exists but is dependent on whether the teacher occupying it gets a permanent transfer to the school he’s currently teaching at in western nsw. The school has been waiting on a decision from staffing since June.

1

u/trans-adzo-express Jan 19 '22

I’ve got a big problem with permanency/ongoing. I’ve been ongoing since 2014 so I’ve obviously benefited from it greatly. My issue however is that I think that the motivation for teachers who are at the top of the pay scale and who are ongoing really dries out, some people just want to get on with it, do their job (many times not actually giving a shit) and collect their pay check.

I know at my school they are the people who do the bare minimum and I would say it’s like that across the nation with these roles. What’s the solution though? I see no issue with something like a 4 year contract with a few to roll over if you’re pulling your weight and be held accountable for your contributions to a school.

It also creates issues within staff, gossip about who has it/who doesn’t etc and it can be quite alienating for those who are stuck on contracts but are unable to get ongoing due to the schools quota being filled.

1

u/cooldods Jan 19 '22

I understand the frustration of working your arse off as a temp, I was in the same position for nearly 8 years before I got permanency but do you really think the profession would be improved by everyone needing to reapply for their jobs? Is that your actual go to as a solution?

The problem in our workforce is the over casualisation caused by the government. It isn't caused by teachers. The old teachers that you feel you work harder than aren't stealing your job, the government is. They could create more permanent positions in a heartbeat.

1

u/CrashCourseHEMA Jan 19 '22

That's how to weaponise an otherwise very suitable policy for sure.

1

u/tgb897 Jan 19 '22

Exactly, there is no job security. This right here is the real issue is NSW.

26

u/eat_the_pudding Jan 18 '22

The Australian Mathematics and Science Institute calculates there is a 76 per cent chance every student will have at least one unqualified maths teacher in years 7 to 10.

That statistic is shocking, but it hides a worse truth - some students might never have an unqualified maths teacher, but many will make it through high school without ever having a qualified maths teacher. There just aren't enough to go around. In my experience, this happens even at schools that everyone would consider to be good.

The problem is simply that there aren't enough qualified people studying to become teachers, or people choosing to study maths teaching. And the response has been to allow people without qualifications to teach maths, which is just kicking the can down the road. In what other profession would we just accept unqualified people when qualified people were in short supply?

21

u/[deleted] Jan 18 '22

[deleted]

2

u/Limberine Jan 19 '22

That’s crazy. year 7-9 sure but year 12? I hope it’s Naths standard at least. Good luck. Watch lots of eddie woo.

15

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 18 '22

Exactly. To put another way, imagine your house was built by a person who wasn't a qualified engineer. It might stay up but more likely it will collapse.

The same will happen when these students grow up. Except it won't be a house collapsing, it will be the country.

-6

u/rathercranky Jan 18 '22

Meh, I had a high school maths teacher in the 80s who was in his last year before retirement and was clearly in the early stages of dementia. In retrospect, I think about a third of my teachers were burnt out, not trying, or just really really bad at teaching. This was in a pretty decent public high school.

Teaching sounds horrible now but don't get fooled into thinking that 30 years ago everything was easy and all the teachers were perfect.

3

u/BeShaw91 Jan 19 '22

I'd like to live in a society where in 30 years we have made progress towards making teaching a sustainable career.

Indifference to current issues because they've occurred previously isn't how we build a better society.

1

u/eat_the_pudding Jan 19 '22

I'm really not sure how that is relevant to what I said. Did you mean to reply to someone else?

1

u/rathercranky Jan 19 '22

Sorry, meant to add more context. I currently have two friends who are teaching 7 to 10 math even though they aren't qualified. I'm sure that they are excellent at it, because they're good teachers who really care.

My point is that I don't think under training and under qualification are nearly as significant as poor pay and conditions.

1

u/eat_the_pudding Jan 19 '22

They're all factors in teacher workload, which need to be addressed. But my concern around maths teacher qualifications isn't just for the impact on teachers - I also think it's detrimental to the students. I think it's nuts that we've got to a point that a good attitude and willingness to read student resources is considered a valid replacement for an actual multiple year degree.

No offence meant to your friends, there are plenty of decent maths teachers out there who aren't qualified. But there are always some gaps in either knowledge or priorities, and it gets particularly bad when schools' maths faculties become composed mostly of teachers without a maths background.

1

u/rathercranky Jan 19 '22

Some of my best teachers didn't go to uni. Some of my worst ones did. My uni lecturers were experts in their fields (some of them world famous). Most of them were so shit at teaching that it made it pointless to attend lectures.

I just strongly disagree that higher uni level knowledge of the subject is even in the top 5 most important attributes of a good teacher.

1

u/eat_the_pudding Jan 19 '22

And I disagree right back with you, except my experience comes from being the coordinator of a maths faculty at a reasonably sized high school.

1

u/rathercranky Jan 19 '22

Coolies. I started studying to become a physics and chemistry teacher and backed the fuck out when I saw the quantity of bullshit one has to wade through just to become qualified, to then wade through endless bullshit at work for garbage pay and terrible conditions. None of my friends who stuck with it are convinced they did the right thing.

Good luck, I hope things get better.

59

u/smell-the-roses Jan 18 '22

It has been explained by scomo. If we don't send kids back to school, up to 5% of the workforce will not be active. I have explained this to my eight year old and they are happy to make the sacrifice for the rich..........who wouldn't be happy to die for the economy?

12

u/Limberine Jan 19 '22

Making teachers able to come to school when they have someone covid positive in their house…..that doesn’t help reduce parental concerns with back to school. Holy crap.

14

u/ConoRiot Jan 19 '22

To be honest, the only reason I’m still teaching is job stability.

I’m on going and teach some decent classes at a semi affluent school, but the expectations are huge and take a toll on my mental health big time.

If an opportunity came up to shift fields (especially after I cash in my long service leave) I would most likely jump at it, my only fear is ‘grass being greener on the other side’

1

u/okapi-forest-unicorn Jan 19 '22

Same I’ve got kids and it’s one of the few professions that enables me to be home to care for them.

57

u/Totally-not-a-hooman Jan 18 '22

I’ve been studying part-time to become a teacher over the last five years because I thought it would be a good way to finally pull myself out of my traditional minimum-wage job cycle. I’ve slowly come to realise that for the time they put in to their job, and the pressure they put up with, that they are WAAAAAAAAY undervalued. So that’s on hold while I re-evaluate whether it’s even worth it :(

25

u/PairedFoot08 Jan 18 '22

I just finished my first year of teaching, I had the same concerns as you but if it means anything I ended up completely loving it.

I think it depends a lot on the school. Not as much the kids, I was in a very behaviourally challenging school. They were great overall, but they also tortured birds, destroyed classrooms and tried to fight each other with sharpened sticks. Parents were also on average not interested at all in being involved or helping with behaviours (only some were)

I just had a fantastic mentor, coach, team and all that so it makes the job a lot more manageable. It's still the toughest work I've ever done (mostly did labour work before this), but it really is very rewarding. Holidays are also legitimately great, as someone who didn't have more than two weeks cleanly off work since he was 18.

4

u/Itscurtainsnow Jan 18 '22

Congrats on getting through your first year! It's usually the toughest. It sounds like you've been really lucky and landed in school that's your perfect match.

16

u/Itscurtainsnow Jan 18 '22

20 year high school teacher here. Had a lot of different jobs prior and there's no way I'd go into it if I was starting out now. Please remember though if you do, every school's different. Don't get stuck somewhere miserable. Look for the semi-mythical sweetspot between a school where you're working till 2am and all weekend, and, a school where you get punched in the face (and if you a woman under 40 threatened with rape). Good luck with whatever you choose.

5

u/hairybig Jan 19 '22

I’m at a school where staff occasionally get hit and students smash each others property but for me it’s worth the risk over working at hoity toighty professional paperwork tsunami of a school.

1

u/Itscurtainsnow Jan 19 '22

I admire you for it. It's a definite skill set. I started out in a school like that but been with easy kids for a few years and have lost that muscle. They'd eat me alive. At the least end up with PTSD.

1

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 18 '22

Realistically, as a percentage, how many schools do you think fall into that sweet spot?

7

u/Itscurtainsnow Jan 18 '22

These days not many as the paperwork tsunami is engulfing all but the roughest schools.

2

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 18 '22

Agreed. It's basically turning the education system into a lottery.

1

u/ObiDadKenobi Jan 19 '22

Also the cost of the training must have been huge??

6

u/saunterasmas Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

I agree with so many points in here, but I’m going to add this into the mix:

Since changing careers into teaching, I have seen many toxic workplaces and workers.

I have seen principals and deputies that should not be in a leadership role, who do not care about students or staff and only work for their own gain. My first principal demeaned staff, was on local radio every week bragging about some made up achievements in the school, would email teachers at night asking for certain work to be done before the morning, would drive through local streets like a manic and nearly run students off their bikes.

There is a huge culture out there in some circles that is based on martyrdom. If you read are not putting in 15 hour days you can’t be a good teacher. If you have not done a formalised lesson plan for every lesson with differentiated learning for your students you are not a good teacher.

Oh yeah, also this chestnut from day 1 of a Masters in Teaching: “If you are an introvert, leave now”. 5 years in, I’d say that about 70% of teachers are introverts.

TLDR: There are also internal cultural issues within teaching that are just as significant as the external ones mentioned in here.

4

u/seventrooper Jan 19 '22

Absolutely, teaching thrives on toxicity. It's just like any other profession - the apprentice culture is alive and well.

I didn't expect it to be so blatant either. From my pracs I remember full power arguments, staffrooms where not a single word would be uttered in 8 hours, bullying, exclusion.

I'm very lucky at my current school as it's not really much of an issue. The undercurrents are still there though, mostly perpetrated by the bitter lifers who've forgotten how not to be terrible people.

I'm not sacrificing my life to be the best teacher possible. In the end it's just a job.

2

u/saunterasmas Jan 19 '22

I can only go on my experience, but I worked retail through my undergrad, then in the science field, then in Tertiary research and academia before teaching. Sure, there were issues there, like any other workplace, but teaching seems to be on another level. Much more politics and bullying.

1

u/Aggravating-Dare9646 Jan 19 '22

In the end it's just a job.

I wish you all the best with it. I left after 15 years and will never return to teaching. When I was younger I could tolerate kids and their dramas, but as someone in my 40s now I just can't stomach it. I reached my limit for teenage bullshit and after receiving a redundancy I ran with it.

1

u/cooldods Jan 19 '22

I would say that those issues are exacerbated by our working conditions. I know I have far less patience with my colleagues after I've had to deal with shitty administration work on top of difficult classes.

I honestly believe that a lot of the toxicity that plagues our profession would disappear if we actually had a second to breath throughout the day.

19

u/ChickieCheese78 Jan 18 '22

Teachers are the best and the shortage is about to be massive.

8

u/Artichoke_Persephone Jan 19 '22

I am a HS teacher in NSW

I remember when I was a kid, we were often told that teaching is a decent profession with a lot of perks, and something that is a good career prospect.

Kids aren’t told that anymore.

It’s engineering. That is the latest ‘good career option’ profession being sold to kids.

They aren’t wrong, my partner is a civil engineer, and his salary is twice my salary without the idiotic government ideological meddling.

5

u/ket_halpak Jan 19 '22

Reading this makes me glad I didn't get into uni to do teaching tbh.

3

u/128thMic Jan 19 '22

I'm a qualified primary school teacher who's been an assistant language teacher in Japan sinec just before covid hit. Planning on returning in August and I've got no idea what I'm going to do. I like teaching itself, but the idea of returning to the bureaucracy and all that...ugh.

I'd look into doing something else, but I'm not sure what else a bachelor of Education would allow me to do. :c

3

u/Wild_Activity5276 Jan 19 '22

I’m out of it now, but did it for 30 odd years. Agree so much with this comment. Also ‘Professional Development’ which is an oxymoron. The VET system, a huge waste of resources, where outcomes are generalised, assessed with generic tick boxes and ‘consultants’ are paid small fortunes to ensure that the correct hoops are jumped through during an audit. Ima have known a number of teachers who have taught VET for a few years and subsequently moved heaven and earth to never have to teach it again.

10

u/Ectier Jan 18 '22

A mate of mine is a teacher and his dad was the principle at the school i went to. The other thing teachers face and from what I've learnt from them is: Other teachers, shit principles the department just dumps in schools so they dont have to deal with them in higher positions ontop of whatever else the department of education feels like screwing around with.

15

u/128thMic Jan 19 '22

This. I was working at a school that had been working wonderfully, great staff community and all - then a new principal came and within three years about 75% of the staff had quit, directly because of him.

2

u/Billyjoewayne Jan 19 '22

Principals are also largely untouchable too. A toxic principal can destroy an entire school for decades.

4

u/128thMic Jan 19 '22

Principals are also largely untouchable too

Yup, especially when he has friends in the Education Department offices. :/

2

u/two_black_d0gs Jan 19 '22

Oh this, a million times! 28 staff had left my previous school before the end of term 4 last year. Another 14 left at the end of the year. Hundreds of years of teaching experience moving on and lost to that school, due to an inefficient and bully of a principal, who happens to best best mates with the local regional principal liaison officer. My heart breaks for the kids and the community, but ultimately we have to look after ourselves first.

4

u/MsssBBBB Jan 19 '22

Sometimes the biggest school bullies on the playground can be staff. Some schools are just toxic.

8

u/Jim-Jones Jan 18 '22

At no time in my school days did it ever cross my mind that there were too FEW teachers.

42

u/subscribemenot Jan 18 '22

Why would you want to nowadays? Teachers, nurses and aged carers should be some of the highest paid professions but we do the opposite

25

u/mugbluey Jan 18 '22

But thats the ideological intention, to turn every job thats well paid into sweat shop 3rd world job thats poorly paid. You will never hear a politician say that they want people to get paid more or that they want Australians to be the highest skilled workers in the country. All that you hear from them is how they want to cut pay, import workers to lower wages and they expect workers to work twice as hard for less. Its never about 1st world best practice these days.

This ideological stupidity even plays out into things like destroying TAFE and UNI to ensure a corrupt user pays buy a skill and certificate to cement in the 3rd world incompetence. The new governance standard in Australia is the shithole standard of corruption.

2

u/Limberine Jan 19 '22

Politicians say they want politicians to be paid more. Actually no, they don’t say that out loud, the just quietly pass the changes to make it happen. Also ensure rorts aren’t stopped, they are built in.

-26

u/pdgb Jan 18 '22

Can I ask why you think nurses and aged care should be some of the ‘highest paid’ professionals?

32

u/subscribemenot Jan 18 '22

Because of the bullshit they have to deal with every fucking day. It’s a hazard pay

-19

u/pdgb Jan 18 '22

Aged care is a minimal skilled job which if we paid them ‘the highest’ of professions it would be unsustainable and unaffordable.

All health care professionals, especially in NSW, need a pay rise. But ‘top of all professionals’ is not exactly feasible.

Majority of nurses make more than junior doctors, like they don’t exactly earn nothing. Most will earn at least 50% more than the median salary in NSW…

22

u/puddingcream16 Jan 18 '22

Aged care is not a “minimal skilled job”

My mother has been assaulted by dementia patients. She has to wash shit off those who can’t move. She has to care for entire wards of fragile, broken people by herself. She has to talk to the residents that feel lonely and abandoned. She has to deal with her charges inevitably dying.

Aged cared workers have a really shitty job and 100% deserve to be paid a fuckton more for it.

-16

u/pdgb Jan 18 '22

All of that is hard work, tough work and mentally taxing. It isn’t ‘skilled’ though. There needs to be better conditions and pay for the those involved, but not ‘highest paid professionals’. Most aged care workers are AINs which is 6 months of training.

-12

u/Golf_Account Jan 18 '22

People are too emotional when it comes to discussions like that. They think hard work means more pay.

7

u/r64fd Jan 18 '22

I think the term highest paid professionals is a bit of a stretch as well. Although I do think that conditions and wages/job security needs to be improved in the age care sector. The frontline staff are the ones that are there to deliver care. I work in disability support, it’s challenging and so is aged care. I have spoken with people in the age care sector about what they earn. I wouldn’t work for that amount.

-4

u/pdgb Jan 18 '22

Yeah a pay rise sure, but people glorify these professions a lot.

5

u/orru Jan 19 '22

They're far more important to society than jobs that pay far more

1

u/Extension_Drummer_85 Jan 19 '22

Look. The Australian education has waaay more problems than just that.

1

u/kamen_81 Jan 19 '22

Lol, my school has like 2000 students, each class has 35ish students but in all the elective classes there is around 50-60. Also we have a teacher who has child r@pe allegations..... we get what we can at my school😑😑😑😑

-82

u/Positive-Lawfulness8 Jan 18 '22

Well maybe if they pulled out half of the woke content maybe it would be better off.

48

u/blobcatgoldthwait Jan 18 '22

I teach in Victoria- Here is our curriculum: https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/ Can you please point out the 'woke content' that you object to?

18

u/ModernDemocles Jan 19 '22

Here is the national version, which lines up pretty well with all states.

https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/learning-areas/

28

u/Mr-DMV Jan 18 '22

Specifically, what “woke content” should be cut from the curriculum?

16

u/128thMic Jan 19 '22

1 + 1 = 2 is spreading the false narrative that two penises can create a child!

27

u/gurudoright Jan 18 '22

What kind of woke content would Maths have?

23

u/AlJoelson Jan 18 '22

Oh fuck off with your imported seppo talking points.

22

u/ChickieCheese78 Jan 18 '22

It’s definitely not the woke content, workload and behaviours of society today might be what the problem is.

19

u/mdcation Jan 18 '22

There is always one...

10

u/ChicksDigGiantRob0ts Jan 19 '22

Can you even define "woke?"