Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Why do teachers leave?

The writer below pretends that there must be other reasons but there is no mystery about the main reason why teaching has become an unattractive job.  It is that many classrooms have become white-board jungles.  Teachers are not allowed to teach. They have to use great energies just to keep some semblance of order.  It's not what they want to do but what Leftist ideas about education force on them. 

In particular, disciplinary options have become very limited.  Once upon a time, a teacher would simply send an unruly child to the headmaster, who would cane him and return him to the classroom in a more humble state.  It will need that or something similar before teachers are freed to teach.  And then former standards of educational achievement will follow

As the school gates open and students flood in with shiny shoes and new backpacks, there's an expectation that teachers should be bursting with enthusiasm to get back to the classroom after their long summer holiday.

The reality is that teachers have mixed feelings as the school year commences.  Some describe dread and anxiety while others say they're hopeful or 'trying to remain positive'. "I feel better than I did in previous years," an experienced teacher says.  "Our new principal makes our workload more manageable."

Another teacher — mid-career, early 40s — discloses her panic at the thought of a year working with a particularly challenging student. "I'm not sure how much longer I can do this," she confides.

A graduate teacher, just three years into his career, tells me of his travel plans. "I'm not going to teach," he explains. "I need a break. I can't face the thought of so much work and all that stress. "I do love teaching," he smiles ruefully. "Teaching is awesome until you have to do something other than teach, which is about 80 per cent of the time."

Teachers leaving in significant numbers

It's worth considering the fact that many of the teachers who walked through the school gates last year aren't returning this year. And it's a trend we can expect to continue.

Teachers are leaving the profession in significant numbers — the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest 53 per cent of people who hold a teaching degree do not currently work in education.

And research conducted by the Australian Government in 2014 estimates that 20 per cent of education graduates do not register as teachers on graduating, meaning many teachers are leaving before they've even started.

The latest national data from the Australian Government suggest an average of 5.7 per cent of teachers left the profession in 2014.

It seems a fairly innocuous figure, however Professor Ewing argues it doesn't provide any insight into what is happening to teachers on the books. "Government bodies reassure us that there are thousands of teachers on the list," Professor Ewing says.

"But that just means they're registered to teach. Many of those have taken up other jobs or moved to different systems or are stuck in the casual, temporary cycle. "In actual fact we have evidence to suggest that we are going to have a teacher shortage."

One figure that adds weight to Professor Ewing's argument is the alarming percentage of those who leave the profession shortly after graduating.

Although the figure varies by locality, about 40 to 50 per cent of our newest teachers leave within their first five years on the job.

These graduates are leaving for various reasons, but similar themes recur: they feel burnt out, unsupported, frustrated and disillusioned. Many cannot secure permanent, full time employment and so leave the profession to pursue careers with fewer demands and greater certainty.

'Anything is preferable to teaching'

For example, Kate, 30, left the profession several years ago after her first year of full-time teaching, and now works as a freelance writer.

"Of my six close friends who I graduated with [in 2007], only one is returning to the classroom this year," she tells me, before listing off their new careers: blogger, footballer, police officer, priest, publican. It seems that anything is preferable to teaching.

"New teachers are expected to have all this energy and enthusiasm to make up for our lack of experience," Kate explains.

"But that energy gets drained away. Nobody's supporting us when we're finally in the job."

With the advent of Professional Teaching Standards in 2011, all teachers — including those with extensive experience — were burdened with an additional administrative task designed to provide a framework for teacher professionalism and ongoing accreditation.

This means an experienced teacher's time is now spent documenting their own worth; there's no time left to support colleagues, new or old. "This is our obsession with teacher accountability playing out," Professor Riley says.

"We've made it an adversarial profession, when it should be collegial. Teachers are competing for positions and constantly trying to make themselves look highly employable. What they should be focussed on is their students and their teaching."
It's not just 'new teachers' that are leaving, either

Research suggests many long-serving teachers are also retiring early, feeling utterly spent. "And they mourn the loss," Professor Riley says.  "They miss the kids and they miss teaching — but the demands of the job simply become too much."

There is ongoing pressure on teachers to improve test results, lift the profile of the profession, meet the teaching standards and deliver — faultlessly — an overcrowded curriculum.  "Experienced teachers have had enough," Professor Riley says.

And as they leave, they take with them their expertise and their ability to mentor and guide new and mid-career teachers.

What's more, teacher shortages — already evident in remote and regional areas — seem likely to continue given the number of students is predicted to increase 26 per cent by 2022.

This, combined with the ageing workforce and high attrition rates, will likely result in larger class sizes, teachers teaching out of field and less experienced teachers being called upon to do more, all of which have serious implications for students and their learning.


Parents sleeping rough outside Queensland state school to ensure enrolments

Ascot is a very wealthy suburb and, although the Left may hate it, the children of the rich tend to be smarter and better behaved -- which means that all the kids enrolled can get on with their education.  The teachers are free to teach and the students are free to learn. The quality of the school is set by the quality of the students

IT’S one of the most coveted waiting lists in the state and some parents will go to great lengths to secure a spot.

These dedicated parents are sleeping rough in a bid to send their kids to Ascot State School – one of the most prestigious government schools in Queensland.

The waiting list for available spots at the school officially opens at 8am today.

On Sunday night, eight families were lined up outside the school and more arrived this morning.

One mother said she had queued for 48 hours straight to secure a place for her son.

For some parents though, the wait may have been a bit much. Among those in line were nannies and family friends paid up to $400 to clinch a spot.

The first parent in line, Nicole Scarinci from Warner, has camped out since 10am Saturday in an effort to secure a spot for her son, Aiden.

“So at 8am tomorrow, they will open the gates and we will get an enrolment form with a number on it and hope for the best,” she said. “We just spoke to the principal and she seems to think that it’s not even guaranteed that we will get a spot so it’s still up in the air.”

Hendra’s Melissa Goscomb was fourth in line and said her chances of getting daughter Millacent in are high. “We have a lot of friends and family that have been through this school and have been very happy with their child’s performance,” she said.

After a weekend of ‘camaraderie on the footpath’, it is now a waiting game for 15 Ascot State School student hopefuls.
Parents lining up to secure an enrollment spot at Ascot State School, Ascot. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Parents who live just outside the prestigious schools catchment zone slept rough, some from Saturday, to be first in line when enrolment for next year opened at 8am today.

Most seated on camping chairs inside the school after gates opened at 6am, there was even a mattress leaning against the fence this morning.

Hendra resident Elissa Morley had been queuing since 7.30am on Sunday to get her daughter into prep and were fifth in line.  “We’re a bit exhausted but hopeful that it will pay off,” Ms Morley said. “There was a bit of camaraderie on the footpath there, all the parents having a chat.”

Ms Morley lives just outside the catchment zone and hopes her daughter will get a spot, although it is still unknown how many are available. “Some years they [Ascot State School] take quite a few and some years they take none is what I believe, so we have our fingers crossed,” she said.

But if things don’t go her way, she plans to do the same at Eagle Junction State School to try her luck there.

President of Ascot SS P&C committee Sarah Comiskey said this phenomenon occurred annually, with 30 parents queuing up one year. She said beyond the school’s stellar reputation parents were drawn to the extensive music and extracurricular program, plus the ability for students to study at their own grade level instead of the level they were supposed to be at.


Great Expectations

Herman Toh

In Dickens' novel, the key characters are made more miserable due to their great expectations... unrealistic expectations.

Some of us may have similarly unrealistic expectations when it comes to housing affordability.

A recent media report focused on a couple who could have purchased, "a one bedroom shoebox apartment and lived in it for the next 50 years, but we didn't want to do that."

But in reality, how many of us would live for fifty years in one apartment?

Barnaby Joyce, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia took a shot at potential young home owners for wanting to live in Sydney but being unable to afford to do so.

The previous generation wouldn't have expected their first property to be a palatial pad sited a craft beer bottle's throw away from the CBD. They would have worked hard, bought their first place, saved -- and then upgraded.

It is time for a reality check. A possible long-term solution may be micro apartments. Where we are prepared to sacrifice some space and privacy, we could afford to be home owners. And, when we upgrade, we free up housing to be cycled back onto the market.

In Sydney, 35m² is the minimum for studio apartments according to the NSW planning department. In Japan, where there aren't minimum limits on apartment or housing sizes, the smallest apartment is around 9m². I am not saying that we should go right down to that size, but if the trend in the small house movement is anything to go by, it may be worth exploring.

This would free up capital for us young 'uns to spend on fancy space-saver furniture. Or smashed avocado on toast. Whatever takes our fancy -- and meets our more realistic expectations.


The Africanization of Melbourne again

Four Essendon football players have reportedly had their cars stolen during a home invasion in Melbourne.

Police say the offenders broke into the Maribyrnong house early on Friday morning and stole wallets and keys before driving off in four cars- a Mazda, two Holden Commodores and a Volkswagen.

Four footballers live at the property- AFL listed players Shaun McKernan, Jayden Laverde and Connor McKenna, and VFL player James Ferry, The Age reported.

The four intruders, some armed with baseball bats, were of African descent, police investigators were told.

One of the residents woke up after hearing one of the vehicles, a Volkswagen, crash nearby and saw a man getting into another vehicle.

It’s believed the offenders arrived at the property in a stolen Toyota Camry, which has since been recovered dumped in Maribyrnong. The Volkswagen stolen from the property has also been recovered nearby.

The other three vehicles, a Mazda and two Holden Commodores, are still missing.

None of the players were harmed but are reportedly shaken from the incident.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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