I read with interest an article under the headline “Mass Exodus of the Educators” in the Sydney Morning Herald August 6 and I would like to make a couple of points from my exxperience. Sounds pretty boring doesn’t it, but that’s what is really wrong with so much of the teaching profession – experience, as well as in the nursing profession. Both these professions are haemorrhaging staff numbers.Point one: The article has one very important word in it – the key to the problems of the teaching profession over the years. That word is “respect”, something teachers desperately want and will not get from the other professions with their behaviour. Look around at the professions. They work without any overtime when there is a need because they take their professionalism seriously. They have the statutory four weeks annual leave. They go in to their work places every day if needed, even Saturday and Sunday – why? They are professionals.
Point two: That was just one point. The other applies also to nursing and that is the manner of their education.
Once (in both cases) student teachers and nurses spent easily an equal time in class/hospital so that when they finished they were really experienced (again that word) and knew what it was all about. I do not deny that there was an element of exploitation for nurses but this could be attended to. The day that nursing education went out to university was a really bad day. Just check how many nurses do their university years and six months after hitting the real world, they are off. They find that it really isn’t what they wanted but they haven’t any “experience” after they have spent their lives and taxpayer money in an unreal life. Return to the on-the-job training plus tertiary education and at least they would know well before they finished if they really wanted this type of work.
And the same applies to teaching. On the job training, in-classroom teaching and you wouldn’t have the complaints in the aforementioned article about being left out in the cold as newcomers in an established staffroom position. The student teachers would perforce know what it was all about; they would have acquired “experience” in small doses over the whole period of their apprenticeship. However I don’t think that the Teachers Federation would accept this – it matters so much to them to be considered equal to the other professions and unfortunately, they will not achieve this with their attitude to their jobs.
Was it in the 60s that it became fashionable, following the USA, that these professions became almost all in –classroom (University)?
It was in the 60s that it was decided that a senior secretary (again taking the USA as an example) should obtain a BA and go straight into being Secretary to Senior Executives. Unfortunately it was found that the grounding a secretary received working their way up, learning the unwritten protocols was not to be learned in classrooms.
Is any person in authority out there really thinking about these matters or are we stuck in the US-inspired groove – and what an example to follow.