Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Teachers: Overpaid or Under Appreciated?


Teachers have it so easy - right? While all of the rest of us slave our guts out for 46 weeks of the year, teachers babysit while enjoying roughly 10 weeks of holidays. Geez - wished I had their job.

Or would I?

Would I really want to be handed a piece of paper with a list of 30 children's names at the start of the year and told to teach them the National Curriculum with no real further instructions than that?

Would I really want to scan my eyes down the list of names knowing that 5 of those students spoke English as a second language, 10 had severe learning difficulties, 3 had Autism and are very bright but lack social skills, 2 are in a Year 3 class but one can do Year 7 maths and the other can do Year 7 science and the remaining 10 children are average kids who plod along with a little help now and then?

How on earth am I meant to extend the gifted children in the classroom where I am also trying to teach students simple English, reading, writing and comprehension skills, while including autistic kids who are only fascinated by one particular topic and who require one on one support while not disadvantaging the average kids because I'm spending time with those with learning difficulties and there's only one of me?

On top of that, half of the children in my class are from divorced families and spend alternate weeks with their parents. Many are ratty for the first couple of days after the transition. Not to mention two of the boys who I've been warned are mischief makers and they bounce off of each other, and are known for running away and swearing if they don't get there own way.

Holy Molly - and this is just what I've been told by the principal when I am given my class at the start of the year.


But oh well, at least I get to work from 9-3 instead of 9-5 right?

So I just roll out of bed at 6 and walk into a classroom at 9 and start the day with sleeping logs? Haha yeah, that will keep the kids quiet, then I'll actually be able to wake up. I'll leave them lying still and quiet while I go and grab a coffee and duck out for a whiz.

Could you imagine what I'd face when I returned?

I think they'd be a couple kids murdered, some doing handstands, others painting the walls, kids on facebook taking pictures of their bits, kids spitting in my coffee, a couple doing a runner and others sticking kick me stickers on some poor suckers back.

Could you imagine what it's like to engage 30 ratty children in the morning when all they want to do is play, or Facebook, or hang out at the mall, or go and do an apprenticeship already?

Do you realise just how much time goes in to planning, marking, searching for new ideas, photocopying, borrowing books, buying props and materials and so much more before even stepping foot into the classroom?

Now, I'm not a teacher, but could you imagine the exhaustion that you'd feel after all of that, and then having to attend staff meetings, run sports day, umpire the school basketball team, provide one on one tutoring, write reports outside of classroom time, face partner teacher interviews and extend your skills through professional development?

I understand why teachers can drink people under the table...or have hip flasks in their desk :p Alcohol = sanity.

Don't get me wrong, the people who I know that are teachers LOVE their jobs. They are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children, they are life learners, they love to be challenged and they reveal in the reward of helping a child to read, or write a report, or speak a new language or discover a passion in a topic, but it's darn hard work.

Just let me tell you, if a term had 12 weeks then your kids would be dead...or worse still, teachers would go on strike and you'd have your kids home full time all of the time...garrrr!!!!

I think one of the most horrible things that teachers face is the criticism by the media. We know that many people believe what they read, without questioning it. Is it fair to portray teachers as people who get way too many holidays? I think it's disgusting that people are toying with the idea to pay teachers based on the outcome of students. How on earth do you monitor that? It's like asking someone what it is to be successful? Success for one school could be far different to success from another school. Take for example a private school with Year 12 students would be concentrating on students receiving high university entrance scores and gaining a place in their first preference whereas a low socio-economic school might base success on the retention rates of their Year 12 students and how many pass.

Is this a reflection on the quality of teachers or the quality of the students and their life outside of school?

I say a BIG STUFF THAT. I'll keep my 9 to 5 job with coffee breaks, a full lunch hour, the ability to daydream and procrastinate, the flexible work hours, being able to duck out for appointments, not being faced by scrutiny in the media and being able to switch off when the doors are closed and to not have to take work home with me.

If we pay people according to their responsibility then what's more important then educating our precious little cherubs?

And what price can you place on an education?

Are teachers overpaid or under appreciated?


I'll let you decide.

Would you want their job?

Look after yourself and those around you,
Kirsty xxx


Marianna Dunn said...

I secretly feel like this post was secretly written to just me! Very well said! You rock friend!

Brenda Lazzaro Yoder, said...

My husbands and I are both teachers. It's the most honorable of professions. We are being made to be the ones responsible for success of all children when families are falling apart.