Archive for the ‘Education Union’ Category

Is the Education Union Good for Education?

January 30, 2014

education union

My personal view is the Education Union is great for teachers but poor for progress in education. I don’t like how the union have tried to bully me (a non-member) to sign up by refusing to represent my colleagues until I and other non-members paid the $500+ yearly membership. I also don’t like how they spend members money and are resistant to most proposed changes and innovations in education.

Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, makes the same point to the ABC’s Leigh Sales:

LEIGH SALES: How much of a barrier or otherwise have teachers’ unions been in countries that have undertaken major reforms?

AMANDA RIPLEY: A big barrier. I mean, this is one of the surprises, is that everywhere you go in the world, pretty much teachers’ unions are powerful, there are contracts in place that principals and school leaders complain about, there are real limits to the ability to dismiss a teacher for performance all over the world. So, you know, be that as it may, it is a challenge in every country.

It is important to mention that:

a. Teachers often require union support because their job is incredibly difficult and stressful

b. Unions play a positive role in teachers’ lives.

c. Assessing the performance of a teacher isn’t easy to do and often such an appraisal deserves to be contested vigorously.


Click on the link to read Guess What Percentage of Teachers Considered Quitting this Year

Click on the link to read The Classroom Shouldn’t be a War Zone for Our Teachers

Click on the link to read Remember When Teachers Were Shown Respect? (Video)

Click on the link to read If You Think Teaching is so Easy You Should Try it for Yourself

Click on the link to read Teachers are Extremely Vulnerable to False Accusations


Guess What Percentage of Teachers Considered Quitting this Year

December 22, 2013


What percentage of British teachers considered quitting their job this year?


Not even close!


Keep on going.


You’re not even trying.

How about 45?

Keep going.


Correct! According to the Teaching union NASUWT, almost half the teachers in England were considering giving their jobs away. Whilst I don’t take union figures as gospel, the survey results point to two very severe problems.

  • Teachers are not happy. Increased Government funding and standardized testing are not going to sufficiently impact student performance when the most important piece in the puzzle, the teacher, are not committed to seeing the year out. A teacher that isn’t happy is more than an impediment to learning – it is a fatal blow.
  • The latest trend in education policy is to put more pressure on teachers. Paperwork has become ridiculously onerous, constant changes to curriculum have left teachers in a tailspin, the deterioration of classroom behaviour has left many teachers suffering undue stress and assessments by government, school administration, peers, parents and even students have made teaching one of the most critiqued professions around.

My experience with teachers is that they join the profession largely from a desire to make a difference. The fact that so many enter the job with idealism and passion that becomes eroded so quickly is cause for great alarm.

From all the ideas and methodologies surfacing in education there seems to be one crucial policy area that continues to be avoided:

What policies can we put in place to support teachers rather than judge them, to assist them rather than to overwhelm and suffocate them?

If public policy doesn’t show concern for teachers, it stands to reason that many teachers wont get the job done.

Click on the link to read The Classroom Shouldn’t be a War Zone for Our Teachers

Click on the link to read Remember When Teachers Were Shown Respect? (Video)

Click on the link to read If You Think Teaching is so Easy You Should Try it for Yourself

Click on the link to read Teachers are Extremely Vulnerable to False Accusations
Click on the link to read Top 10 Ways of Dealing with Teacher Burnout

Click on the link to read Tips For Teachers for Managing Stress

The Four Hour Teaching Day Proposal Makes Us Look Lazy

April 3, 2013


Teachers asking for reduced working hours have to be careful that they aren’t falling into the trap of appearing hypocritical. You can’t ask for reduced contact hours on one hand and then complain that there isn’t enough time to properly teach the curriculum on the other.

I would never be able to sufficiently teach my students in just 4 hours a day and I don’t believe there are too many teachers who can guarantee that standards would soar if such a system was applied. Moreover, those who are looking for better pay must realise that they are largely at the mercy of public perception. As the taxpayer foots the bill for every pay rise, it is essential that teachers are seen as professional, hard working, caring and meticulous in the eyes of the public.

Frankly, this proposal makes us look lazy and selfish:

Teachers demanded a 20-hour a week limit on classes yesterday to maintain a healthy ‘work/life balance’.

Union members called for a rigid 35-hour week, with little more than half given over to teaching children.

Five hours would be used for planning, preparation and assessment ‘at a time and place of the teacher’s choosing’ – meaning at home in most cases.

The remaining ten hours would be set aside for other ‘non-contact’ duties including marking and going to meetings.

The proposal came at the end of a heated eight-day period during which annual conferences held by three teaching unions were used to repeatedly attack the policies of Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Critics were swift to accuse the union of being ‘out of touch’ with reality. Craig Whittaker, a Tory MP on the Commons education select committee, said: ‘You can’t change these things in the current economic climate.

‘It just shows how incredibly out of touch the unions are with what’s going on in the real world.’

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said teachers should have their hours ‘expanded, not diminished’. He added: ‘In the independent sector it is normal to have 60 hours of contact time a week. They are living in fantasy land if they want 20 hours per week.’

He said the hours of work should be made less stressful by giving them greater powers to suspend or exclude disruptive pupils. The NUT saved its bombshell for the last motion of its five-day conference in Liverpool. Cambridgeshire primary school teacher Richard Rose said: ‘We’re fed up with arriving at 7.45am … and most people are there until 6.30pm.

‘During that time there is no time to go to eat, no time to talk, no time to think, no time even to go to the toilet in many cases.


Click on the link to read Sometimes the Union Makes me Embarrassed to Call Myself a Teacher

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Pressure in the Workplace

Click on the link to read Sick Teachers Need to be Arrested not Fired!

Click on the link to read Teaching Union Wants Porn on the National Curriculum

Sometimes the Union Makes me Embarrassed to Call Myself a Teacher

November 5, 2012

I know that is it very unpopular for a teacher to be criticising the Education Union and I invite my readers who have been assisted by the union to defend them if they wish.

I was angered to hear that teachers through the union have been sending notes home to parents stating that they will not be writing end of year reports for their students. Why? Because they haven’t been paid enough money. Well, any teacher who abides by this nonsensical ruling doesn’t deserve to get paid a cent more!

I believe that teachers should be paid more than they do, but what a teacher gets paid is not as urgent as their duty to put their students first. Teachers and nurses do a fine job and deserve more than what they are earning. But we knew when we signed up for the job that the pay wasn’t fantastic. Yet, we still chose to become teachers and nurses. Why?

I hope the answer is because we felt that making a difference was more important than making a fortune.

The union have blinkered our teachers. Instead of helping us to nurture and inspire our students they have tried to make us selfish and unprofessional. Writing reports is a professional duty. Giving parents current and comprehensive feedback on the progress of their children is of paramount importance. Failing to do so on account of a few dollars is outrageous!

The children are not the ones underpaying us. The parents are not the ones to blame either. Leave them out of this. We are supposed to put them first. We are not supposed to lose sight of what we are trying to achieve here.

The unions are a shameless bunch. They have a record of bullying non member teachers (like myself) and through their greed have turned a sympathetic public well and truly off our cause.

I realise that many (if not all) will disagree with me. I encourage them to do so. This blog is about giving everyone the opportunity to debate the issues that effect education in a robust and thorough fashion.

I just can’t help but agree with the assessment of this parent who wrote of her outrage at receiving one of these letters:

I received late last week from my children’s school indicating that their teachers will not be writing any comments (apart from general behavioural ones) in the end of year reports this year. This means that students will have a very scant record of the year’s work particularly when it comes to specialist areas like LOTE and art. I have a son in prep so his end of year report for this year is pretty important.

I think asking students to forgo feedback for the year so that teachers can get a few more dollars shows a breathtaking lack of professionalism on the part of the teachers and an entitlement mentality that is just extraordinarily arrogant. If I had tried this sort of tactic in the private sector – refusing to complete reports for clients because I wanted more money – I would certainly have been sacked (and rightfully so).

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Pressure in the Workplace

Click on the link to read Sick Teachers Need to be Arrested not Fired!

Click on the link to read Teaching Union Wants Porn on the National Curriculum

Teaching Union Wants Porn on the National Curriculum

October 25, 2012

The Teachers Union is struggling to be relevant. They can shout and scream, but as recent times have shown, they are neither good for students nor education as a whole. There will be plenty of us that have been assisted by the union and others that have had no benefit from the association. But if they were as relevant today as they once were, they wouldn’t see the need to grab for outrageous headlines.

It is important to note how desperate the union is becoming and how stupid their ideas are. Putting porn on the curriculum would have no real benefit for the child and would represent a legal minefield for teachers and schools.

Children as young as 11 are becoming addicted to internet pornography giving them ‘unrealistic expectations’ of sex, according to new research.

It is now ‘common practice’ for schoolchildren to access hard core pornography at an early age and become desensitised to sexual images.

A study, published by Plymouth University, said that more children are finding themselves ‘hooked’ on internet porn before they become sexually active, leading to problems in later life.

The news comes as a teaching union said yesterday that children as young as ten should learn about pornography as part of the national curriculum.

Ten year-olds being taught about pornography? Are you serious? For every ten year-old that views pornography there are many who have had next to no exposure to it.

It is not the role of a classroom teacher to offer a ‘realistic expectation of sex’. That is the job of the parent. Parents have the responsibility of raising their kids, setting limitations on what they watch and how much they watch and it is their job to educate on personal areas such as sex.

The union should know this better than anyone.

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Pressure in the Workplace

Click on the link to read Sick Teachers Need to be Arrested not Fired!

Do the Public Really Support Striking Teachers?

August 24, 2012


I agree that disrespect for teachers has reached a new low. However, I can’t see how striking is the solution. If anything, striking creates even more hostility.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis disagrees:

“At this point we need to understand where people are emotionally and where they are in terms of how they feel about the situation at hand, and what they know,” Lewis said in April. “And the issue is, again, I have never, in my 22 years of teaching and being in the classroom, seen this kind of hostility and this disrespect for teachers.”

I’m sorry to break the news to you Karen, but strikes will not make the public think of us any better.

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One
Click on the link to read “Better Pay Leads to Better teachers”: Prove it!
Click on the link to read The Overwhelming Responsibilies of the Modern Teacher

Thje Unions are Great at Protecting Our Worst Teachers

July 30, 2012

Surely it is not the job of the union to prevent schools from ensuring that those charged with sexual misconduct never teach again:

Even Hollywood, famously sympathetic to organized labor, has turned on unions with the documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman'” (2010) and a feature film, “Won’t Back Down,” to be released later this year. But perhaps most damaging to the unions’ credibility is their position on sexual misconduct involving teachers and students in New York schools, which is even causing union members to begin to lose faith.

In the last five years in New York City, 97 tenured teachers or school employees have been charged by the Department of Education with sexual misconduct. Among the charges substantiated by the city’s special commissioner of investigation—that is, found to have sufficient merit that an arbitrator’s full examination was justified—in the 2012-12 school year:

• An assistant principal at a Brooklyn high school made explicit sexual remarks to three different girls, including asking one of them if she would perform oral sex on him.

• A teacher in Queens had a sexual relationship with a 13-year old girl and sent her inappropriate messages through email and Facebook.

If this kind of behavior were happening in any adult workplace in America, there would be zero tolerance. Yet our public school children are defenseless.

The union continually stands in the way of proper reform. Instead of protecting the rights of teachers who need and deserve more support, too much time and resources is devoted to teachers who should never be allowed to teach again.

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Pressure in the Workplace

Click on the link to read Sick Teachers Need to be Arrested not Fired!

If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

March 20, 2012

Another year, another impending strike. I know I am a lone voice on this  one, but I find the notion of teachers striking very distasteful and selfish. The job of a teacher is to support and nurture their students. When a teacher decides not to front up to work, they are robbing children of a day of school.

I have never met a teacher that went into the caper for the money. It is a well-known fact that teachers don’t get paid vast sums of money. Partly, this is due to tradition and partly it is due to the fact that Governments simply cannot afford to offer large pay increases across the board.

Am I suggesting that teachers should not be paid more? Absolutely not. I think I work hard enough to justify an increase of salary (currently 3% less than a public school teacher). There is enough wasted money spent on education, I think it would be quite appropriate for some of that misspent money to be allocated to teachers.

What I don’t agree with is the argument that teachers should be given a marked increase. If that was to happen before I started my teacher training, I never would have become a teacher. A large wage increase would have led to a greater popularity in teacher enrolments. The flow on from this would have been that to get into a teaching course, the tertiary rank (based on Year 12 results) would have been much harder. I simply would not have had the grades to get a place.

Some would see that as a positive. Teachers should, according to many, posses outstanding academic credentials. After all, the smarter the teacher, the better the teacher, right?

Not necessarily. I was a late bloomer. I struggled throughout school. My teachers found me very frustrating. No matter how much I applied myself, simply passing was a huge challenge for me. And yet, it is this struggle that has made me become a decent teacher. It has provided me with patience and it allows me to understand the struggles of students with learning difficulties and confidence issues. I try to be the very teacher I felt I needed, but never had.

Whilst I believe that teachers do a wonderful job and they deserve to be paid accordingly, I would like to reach that point without strikes and without Education Unions (they shouldn’t be allowed to be called the Education Union – they aren’t representing what is best for education). I would like potential teachers to join this wonderful profession more for the passion and dedication they have for the job than the money.

I expect that I will be critcised roundly for my stance. I look forward to reading your take on this.

Teacher’s Union Stuck on Viagra

March 10, 2011

I can see a sharp witted comedy writer pitching  a mockumentary to the studios about the inner workings of a teacher’s union.  While teachers are being layed off in their thousands, these unions defy logic with their soft approach and crazy fixations.  Never have they been so needed.  Never have they been so utterly useless.

Take what just happened in Milwaukee for example:

The Milwaukee teacher’s union has dropped its lawsuit to give male teachers access to free Viagra.

The union sued the Milwaukee district school board in 2010, with the aim of forcing them to include erectile dysfunction drugs on their free health insurance plan.

The union argued that, by excluding erectile dysfunction medications from this document, the board was discriminating against male employees.

However, union members were accused of having the wrong priorities, at a time when many teachers in the region were losing their jobs due to school cuts.

At the time the State Representative Jason Fields said: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

The Milwaukee Democrat added: “The fact that is the point of contention is kind of frightening. What are our priorities? I’m all for love and peace. But almost 1 million dollars? [the estimate cost of adding Viagra to the bill] And you go to court over this issue?”

Lawyers for the school board also said that Viagra is mainly used for recreational sex and not to treat any long standing medical condition.

On the other hand, the counter argument went that erectile dysfunction is a genuine and widely recognised medical condition that affects millions of men, particularly older men. It was also argued by the union that male teachers suffering from the condition deserved access to Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. Impotence is associated with serious health problems such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and heart disease, and union members argued that ignoring the condition was therefore inappropriate.

This is an indictment on good, hard-working teachers on low saleries that pay big bucks every year to be part of what is arguably the most soft, useless union known to man.  To take a school board to court over Viagra when their members risk losing their jobs is insensitive, out of touch and just plain dumb.

Excuse the pun, but the teacher’s union has to harden up or refund their memberships!

Education New Years Resolutions

January 2, 2011

These are some New Years resolutions I suggest the Education sector should take on for 2011:

1. Stop Putting Unnecessary Pressure on Teachers – Sure it is important to scrutinise teachers and ensure that poor teachers don’t preside over a classroom.  But if you base whether a teacher is good or otherwise on a test you run the risk of the following consequences:

  • Teachers teach to a test rather than typical authentic teaching
  • Inexperienced teachers will be frightened off from continuing in the profession due to the pressure to perform
  • Teachers will be labelled in a manner we have never seen before
  • Some good teachers will be mistakenly called poor based on circumstances partly beyond their control.

2. Continue Fighting Bullying – 2011 has to be dedicated to making students feel better about school, by striving to create an environment that is tolerant and bully-free.  School cultures must change where necessary.  Exterior programs are fine, but they are often at the mercy of endemic school culture deficiencies.

3. Stop Playing Public and Private Schools Against Each Other – The media has been chipping away at this one.  Comparing public and private schools for funding and achievement can be counter-productive.  Instead of pitting them against each other, Governments should be trying to improve the quality of all sectors for all people.  Let both Public and Private schools flourish.

4. Pressure the Education Union – The Education Union needs to step up and show us they are relevant.  Of late they have come across as pussy cats, giving in to big issues without even a fight.  The rule that all teachers in a school must be Union members before they even consult with the staff about conditions and wages, puts teachers under pressure from colleagues to sign up whether they want to or can afford to.  This is not acceptable.

5. Lessons Must Come Alive – The trend towards direct instruction teaching means lessons are becoming more turgid and less engaging.  Similarly, there needs to be a greater emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking.

6. Forget about the National Curriculum – The draft was a huge disappointment.  New curriculums don’t change outcomes.  Improved conditions and support does.

7. Look After New Teachers – This includes improving the quality of teacher training, which at the moment is not up to scratch.  New teachers require more support.  The idea of filling holes by putting new teachers in remote schools is just the tonic for scaring away potentially phenomenal teachers.  Don’t let them sink or swim, but rather, put structures in place that allows them to be nurtured and supported in the crucial early years.

Please feel free to add some of your own suggestions.

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