The following two articles were published in today's Courier Mail.
The first one is a piece about the resignation rates amongst teachers by James O'Loan -
Teachers quit jobs - Resignations on increase
A Tsunami of
The second by Tanya Chilcott deals with litigation -
Scissors to blame More school lawsuits
Students should not be allowed to take scissors into art classes, according to one parent who is suing the State Government for $210,000. The mother is suing on behalf of her son who was allegedly cut by scissors inside a pencil case thrown at him by another student in an art class. The incident is the latest in a string of school-based lawsuits filed against the state of
Neither story is really news. Anyone working in schools, as I do, is only too aware of the situations described. The issues are wide-ranging, from behaviour management, to support for teachers, and parental expectations.
Probably the greatest degree of change I have observed since I started teaching in a bush school in 1968, relates to these issues of the mismatch between teacher capacity and the ever more demanding expectations of the community, harnessed for profit by the plaintiff lawyers.
The media also has a responsibility, because they generally sensationalise the negative aspects, and ignore anything positive. As a school principal, I remember feeling deep frustration at the local media's unwillingness to publish any positive stories - and there were plenty to publish. The politicisation of education also has a negative effect, as Principals, in particular, are aware that any decision made can land the school on the front page of the newspaper on a slow news day.
Perhaps one of the issues that hasn't been canvassed is that of the hobbling of learning communities (which is what schools are or should be) by this morass of issues. Anything that sidetracks the energy of teachers and principals away from learning and teaching imposes a cost on kids and their parents.
In the short term, we need to get behind our teachers and principals in much the same way as we support our military, irrespective of whether or not we support their political masters.
Both soldiering and teaching are noble and indispensable professions. Let's stop bashing them.