Posts Tagged ‘Australian Education Union’

Perhaps There Should be a Standardized Test for Teachers

January 3, 2015


Of course I am not in favor of persecuting teachers even further by subjecting them to standardized testing, but you can’t help but shake your head at the lack of skills some of us possess:


Many would-be high school teachers reportedly have worse spelling skills than their prospective students, raising concerns within the education union.

The union is seeking to have entry standards on new teachers raised after a study revealed many teachers had trouble with spelling and had a limited vocabulary, News Corp has reported.

In a study of more than 200 teaching undergraduates, none were able to spell a list of 20 words correctly, with some not getting even one word right.

Among the more frequently misspelled words were “acquaintance” and “parallel”.

The university students also had trouble with word definitions.

Some believed “sanguine” was a type of pasta, while others defined “draconian” as having something to do with dragons.

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said it was evidence standards for new teachers needed to be raised.

The federal government will soon release a report in how to improve teaching standards.


Click on the link to read Reasons Why I am Forced to Teach to the Test

Click on the link to read There is Nothing Wrong With Testing Young Children

Click on the link to read The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing are Exaggerated

Click on the link to read Standardized Tests for Teachers!

Click on the link to read Oops, We Seem to Have Lost Your Exams


Our Pay Isn’t the Problem

August 22, 2012

Teachers have more to complain about than their pay. Sure, it would be nice to get paid more, but let’s face it, our nation can’t afford a substantial pay rise and we are not being completely ripped off. No teacher enters into the profession with the intention of making a sizeable income.  We know that we will always be paid less than the ideal amount.  

It is the conditions we face that we should be most concerned about. The obsession with changing curriculums every two years without any apparent reason, the increase in planning paperwork that robs us of time to devote to other aspects of our job and the crazy overregulation which has shifted the focus from quality education to lawsuit damage control.

Rita Panahi is right to point out that a teacher’s pay is no reason to strike:

Why, one wonders, do presumably intelligent people study for four years to enter a profession where they find the pay so unacceptable?

It’s akin to buying a house near an airport then complaining about aircraft noise.

If money is what motivates you then teaching is probably not the job for you.

Higher pay comes with greater scrutiny but teachers have fought hard against attempts to link their wages to their performance.

Under the current system, which the Australian Education Union desperately wants to retain, almost all teachers automatically move up the pay scale every year regardless of their ability, effort or suitability for the job.

This absurdity helps to explain a 2009 survey of teachers which found that nine out of 10 of them don’t believe their school would acknowledge improvements in the quality of their work, while seven out of 10 believed their consistently underperforming colleagues were in no danger of losing their jobs.

Actually, despite the persistent whingeing we’ve grown used to from teachers, they are hardly surviving on the breadline.

A first year teacher can expect to earn around $57,000, which is more than graduate paramedics, accountants and substantially more than nurses. This can rise to more than $90,000 at leading teacher level.

Not bad for a job with enviable hours and holidays of which most of us can only dream.

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

Pushy Parents and those Awful Standardised Tests!

May 13, 2012

So it turns out that some parents are so keen to have their children perform at the NAPLAN tests (Australia’s standardised tests) that they have started preparing them as early as kindergarten age. I couldn’t think of anything more dispiriting for a child. It’s bad enough I have to teach my Grade 3’s based on the questions they are bound to encounter during the tests, what could be worse than being subjected to it, up to 5 years in advance?

PUSHY parents are training kindergarten kids for Naplan – four years before they have to sit the controversial literacy and numeracy tests.

About a million students – in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 – will sit this year’s tests over three days next week.

But the pressure to perform is beginning years early, with some parents forcing their four-year-olds to take grade 3-level tests at home.

Dr Les Michel, from the Senior Students Resource Centre, said pre-school parents had joined the soaring demand for practice Naplan tests.

“This year we’ve even been getting kinder parents,” Dr Michel said.

“We would have had dozens, I’d say.”

Dr Michel said kindergarten parents bought the grade 3-level booklets, costing up to $24.95 each.

“They are really pushing their kids,” he said.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said Naplan practice for pre-schoolers was “highly alarming”.

“It’s putting more pressure on kids at such a young age that they really don’t need, and it’s usurping the role that teachers in the classroom play, which is completely unnecessary,” he said.

However schools are also increasing the pressure, with “teaching for the test” now beginning as early as grade 1.

“We’re aware of it happening, even though people won’t admit it on the record, and why would they?” Parents Victoria executive officer Gail McHardy said.

“It demonstrates the desperation of some schools – their reputation hangs on it.”

Victorian Independent Education Union secretary Deb James said there was an “increased and unwelcome” focus on the tests in schools.

Australian Education Union state president Mary Bluett said: “Kids sitting down and practising tests is not the way to learn.”

Lucky for these pushy parents, I have some suggested exercises for them to set for their children.


To prepare them for the persuasive writing exam, you could set your child some of the following topics:

1. What is more fun, studying language conventions or playing outside with friends?

2. Is doing practice tests with mum and dad considered quality time?

3. Is learning for fun overrated?


To prepare them for the maths paper, I have the following suggested activities:

1. Count up the blisters that you have accrued from all the writing you’ve done and round the number to the nearest ten.

2. If Johnny went to school from 8:00 a.m until 4:00 p.m. and then spent the next 2 hours completing timed reading comprehension exams, how much time does he have to relax?

3. What percentage of pushy parents ends up rearing appreciative kids?

Good luck parents!

Sending Children Home With Nits is Appropriate

February 26, 2012

As inconvenient as it is for a parent to pick their child up early from school, there are times when it is necessary to do so. Yes, there is a stigma with lice than can potentially embarrass both child and parent. There is no doubt about that. But schools that are sensitive to the needs of their students will make the necessary arrangements in a discreet and private fashion.

The political correct police obviously don’t trust schools to deal with internal issues themselves. Like in other instances, they like to overrule and impose themselves:

VICTORIAN schools have been accused of discriminating against students with head lice by sending them home from school when their nits are detected, the Herald Sun can reveal.

Federal and state guidelines say schools must not send children home if they have head lice, but merely send a notice home at the end of the day telling parents to treat their child’s hair that night.

Guidelines also say teachers should “exercise sensitivity” towards children with nits for fear of upsetting them.

But schools, preschools and childcare centres across the state are flouting these policies by immediately asking parents to collect their children. Children are often isolated from classmates until they are picked up.

One Melbourne primary school has been asked to change its approach after a complaint from a parent. In a letter to the principal, obtained by the Herald Sun, the parent said any child with head lice should not be “singled out, sent home and denied valuable education, only to return the following day to be reinfested”.

 The parent, who did not want to be identified, said it was “discrimination to pick out one child and send them home when they might be in a whole class of kids with nits.”

Whenever Government regulation overrules schools you know it will end up bringing undesirable results. Lice spreads so quickly and the children suffering with lice are uncomfortable and unable to concentrate. I will continue pressing my school for the right to send children home with lice. That doesn’t mean that I am unaware that children with lice often feel humiliated and ostracised. What it does mean, is that I will handle the matter in such a way as the child receives my care and support and the rest of the class is never made aware of the child’s condition.

Teachers Cautioned Against Venting

February 1, 2012

There is no other job in a democratic country that is legally cautioned against venting or giving political opinions. Unfortunately, teachers have become the focus of regulations that are sensible for the most part, but contain some over-the-top directives.

TEACHERS have been warned against contacting students online amid fears too many are befriending their charges on Facebook.

In a major crackdown on social media use in schools, the State Government has released new guidelines designed to protect teachers’ reputations.

Educators say online smear campaigns by students have put teachers’ careers at risk, with some being forced to move schools.

The Government says the guidelines will also help protect students from inappropriate conduct by teachers.

“That boundary between being a teacher and a friend is one which teachers have to sometimes tread very carefully,” Minister for the Teaching Profession Peter Hall said.

“It’s important to provide parents with the confidence that their teachers have the knowledge available for them to do their job well.”

 Under the online directives launched today, teachers are also cautioned against:

CONTACTING students by mobile phone or email “without a valid educational context”.

POSTING any “offensive or slanderous” material about students, parents or colleagues.

SHARING content from personal social media sites, such as their Facebook accounts, with students.

UPLOADING images of themselves that have “potential to negatively affect their reputation”.

“VENTING” about their work, or posting personal or political opinions.

I have no issue with most of these directives. What I don’t appreciate is being told what I can say and do by somebody else. Teachers have the right to exercise discretion without having to be regulated to do so (I am not referring to inappropriate contact with students). Being told I can’t express my personal or political opinion is not appreciated.

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