I am a qualified and fully registered Victorian Secondary Teacher. I have my degrees proudly hanging on my wall... and before I had my two little humans I loved teaching. I loved having my students. I loved teaching my students.
For those not in the know, our Premier stated during his election campaign, that all Victorian Teachers would be the BEST paid teachers in the country. According to the Victorian Education Department, as of January 2012, teaching salaries varied from $56,000 for a graduate teacher up to $91,000 for Level Three Leading Teacher in government schools and $56,000 to $84,000 for Catholic school teachers.. It looks like a lot of money... but this is before tax and does not include independant/private school teachers.
I'm not very good with politics but the Australian Teacher's Union and the Government are trying to re-negotiate pays and can't seem to meet in the middle. At the end of 2012, teachers refused to add comments to student reports. I disagreed with this action because at the end of the day, taking out your frustrations on the student's academic reports is not the best thing to do if you want to keep parents on your side.
A lot of parents support the teacher's striking and many do not. Most parents agree teachers deserve better pay and working conditions but are angry at the inconvenience school closures cause - especially for parents who work full time and who may not have alternative arrangements for their kids to be taken care of.
From the online debate I had with another gentleman, he clearly stated the following
Teachers also work 12 to 13 hour days - sometimes longer if on camp with students.
Teachers turn up for work between 7am and 8am and finish 'TEACHING" between 3.20 and 3.45pm five days a week... followed by meetings with Coordinators and Leading Teachers; making follow up calls and writing emails to parents about their children; preparing the next day's classes; correcting work (and if you are an English teacher try correcting up to 28 or 29 1500 words essays in a day!); preparing examinations and so much more.
Teachers also work in the rain... do you think secondary students get the 'wet weather program' like primary kids?
Teachers also work in the heat - have you ever tried to work in a non-airconditioned room filled with up to 29 students who are restless; hot and tired?
Four weeks holiday a year - Oh that's right - teachers get 13 weeks leave a year! I totally forgot! How could I possibly be so selfish at the thought of having 13 weeks off a year to relax? That's because when I was teaching I worked through my holidays. I prepared classes; completed corrections; worked out plans to help students with learning difficulties; I created work to extend my advanced students; I looked for creative ways to inspire the student's learning! I worked through my holidays for the betterment of my students.
As a teacher, I am not selfish. I gave everything I could to the students in my care. I spent time with them; taught them values; shared their triumphs and their failures; I encouraged my students and watched them grow. Do you know how proud a teacher becomes when she learns one of her students was offered a fully paid scholarship at a prestigious Melbourne university? I can tell you... I was very proud!
I am probably the least greediest person I know. I would give you my last dollar coin, if it meant you would be better off. Teachers just want what is fair.
I was grateful every day I was teaching. I was grateful for the generosity of the parents and students who shared in my pregnancy with Miss Mikaylah. I was grateful to work in a classroom and be respected by my students. I was grateful each and every day to be a role model for the children in my care. Grateful for the education I received so I could share my knowledge with my students.
For those who believe teaching is a joke and a bludge, I encourage you to home school your kids for one to two years. I encourage you to come up with creative ways to inspire your kids with curriculum which can be boring. I encourage you to find alternative ways to teach students with Autism, Aspergers, ADD or ADHD. I encourage you to find ways to extend gifted students whose academic abilities can sometimes outshine your own.
Teaching is hard work and requires dedicated teachers who love teaching. Our days are long and sometimes we too, are overwhelmed with all that needs to be accomplished within a school year. I do believe teachers need to be performing, as well as the students. There is no point having teachers in the classroom who just go about their business like any other day. As with all employees there are performance reviews and teachers should not be immune to these!
Teaching is a gift and a privilege.
Our students are our lives.
We teach because of our students.
What are you thoughts on teachers who strike?
P.S Teachers who take strike action... aren't lounging around at home by their swimming pools... for each day they strike, they lose a day's pay.