An interesting article in the Australian today claiming that ”teacher’s work is worth $100,000”. I agree with them. And that’s just on a professional level – that doesn’t even begin to calculate the danger money that I, personally, would require to spend each day in a classroom with 24-odd kids. Much as I adore the little darlings.
The article compares the salary of senior level teachers (at a top rate of $75,367) with the salary level of lawyers after six years ($125,800). And, with due respect to lawyers, I take the point. After all, the education of our kids affects their entire life and, to a certain extent, influences the direction of our nation. It’s important stuff.
Perhaps they should have a better system of bonus payments, rather than seeking hefty across-the-board increases. It could be calculated on a range of achievements including academic improvement, teamwork, courtesy, fostering school spirit and so forth. I mean let’s face it – school parents all know who the fantastic teachers and who the not-quite-so-enthusiastic teachers are in their child’s school. Those fantastic teachers should be rewarded above and beyond a small annual pay rise.
It all comes down to funding, doesn’t it. And unless we want to privatise our schools, or attract corporate sponsorship with the inherent conflicts of interest that that can create, where does the money come from?
How much do you think your child’s teacher should be paid, and would you support a performance bonus?
…………………………What is a Teacher Worth????
In Australia, the lack of respect for teachers, and the verbal abuse a teacher has to take from some students, make teaching a far from attractive job, regardless of the wage.
I left Australia 5 years ago to teach in Korea. Originally a 1 year contract turned into 5 years in Korea and China because Teaching, even though lesser paid in comparison to here, was marvellous. The students want to learn, were respectful and came to school to learn.
I only returned because my passport ran out, and I needed to get a new one, which was not easy to do from Korea or China. I stayed 6 months teaching back in Australia, because the money was good, but I found as a person, I was being slowly destroyed.
I took an Outback position, for the money and the house that came with the job, as my belongings had been in storage for 5 years and I also had no home here. I loved my house, I loved teaching Art, and I am an excellent art teacher. However the senior students doing ‘Child Development’ and ‘Home Economics’ did not really want to learn. They were doing these subjects because they are not academic, and schooling is compulsory.
From the very beginning, they objected to my rules. No speaking during lessons, no bad language, no throwing things around the room. no shouting and no throwing tantrums and walking out banging doors to ‘tell the Principal’. They came to school and class late, often hung over, smelling of cigarettes, and used the mobile phones for constant texting and playing music.
Report after report did not work. I was told I am the professional and I have to solve it. I was told to ignore their behavior and teach. So I ran lessons with one girl mouthing off about not learning anything, about their sex life, men's orgasms, and their private business. Telling them to stop talking only brought back the comment, “This is my business,’ and saying this was disrupting the class did nothing.
Often they would call me names and walk off, usually to answer the phone in the toilets.
It was horrendous.
I survived outright verbal abuse everyday as the same girls were in every class as they took all my subjects. Believe me it was difficult to take, and the pay check looked weaker and weaker. I went through ways of working out how to kill myself, and decided lying in front of the train in the dark after taking pills, was the sure way to go. I decided setting fire to myself in the Art Room was not fair on the students I did like.
Then I went away for a week and saw normal people, and suddenly realised what was happening to me. I was a tense ball of sadness. My self worth was below zero, and I was killing myself for $3,000 less tax and etc, $1,600 a fortnight. Living on the dole, senior pension or doing casual teaching, cooking or whatever seemed a better life.
Then I discovered House-sitting and found a house to live in for a few months.
Today is my first day as an unemployed. I have no idea where I am heading but its not back to the school I was teaching at.
To quote my own words written in a report “I cannot teach those girls”
The final straw was accusing me of being a racist and claiming I made racist comments. Anyone looking at my past can see I lived in Aboriginal Communities for 8 years, and one does not do that being a racist.
Teaching is still a noble profession, but its too difficult today, coping with the stresses students bring to school. Senior students are living adult lives, and cannot cope with rules that stop them being adults.
No, I am not suing the system because I could not handle students who were not at school to learn. I am renewing my passport and returning Overseas next year or sooner as soon as the House-sit is over. I cannot teach those girls and be abused every single day constantly like water eroding rock. It is far too demoralising.
Teachers do a job that no-one else can do, and good teachers are destroyed by the system.
This year, a mature aged first year teacher, resigned, after barely 3 months teaching, for the same reasons as me. A student hit her in the face and hurt her and the students laughed. Another teacher had her chair pulled out from under her, and students laughing when she got hurt. I did not get physically abused, but the mental abuse was there every day, every class, and every lesson. Students who want to learn are also exposed to this abuse, as they are also in the classroom.
Until the system improves, and a Drop Out Centre is created for these students, who do not want to come to school, teachers have to constantly battle to teach those who want to learn
An alternative is of course to enroll in my Online virtual school, and get an education that way, with 20 hours compulsory in a week with a focus on basic learning skills of English, Maths and Creative subjects.
This is where I am heading..to set up the Virtual School for the very students who refused to learn from me in the Government system.
Teaching is not easy. Those who can go into other jobs, which is a pity as Teachers are born not made, and there are many good teachers out here now out of the system, because they cannot cope with the students they were forced to teach.