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Posts Tagged ‘Education Union’

Finally, a Step Forward in Education

February 19, 2014

pyne

I have been saying over and over again that something has to be done about the poor quality of teacher training. I have written to education ministers and tried to sell the message through this site, that improved teacher training was a must. Even though I was certain that an overhaul of our teacher training courses would bring immediate results, I felt that no politician would have the courage to even look at this area, let alone actively take the project on.

I am overjoyed to be proven wrong:

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne will announce on Wednesday a far-reaching review into teacher training in a bid to make education degrees less ”faddish” and ”ideological”.

Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven – a vocal opponent of minimum entry scores for teaching degrees – will chair an eight-member advisory panel to report to Mr Pyne by the middle of this year.

An eight-member ministerial advisory group will report by the middle of the year on how education degrees at universities can better prepare new teachers.

“There is absolutely no reason at all why Australia, as one of the wealthiest countries in the world … shouldn’t have the best teacher training in the world,” Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.

“I want it to be more practical, I want them to have better experiences in the classroom rather than in universities and I want it to be less theoretical.”

Mr Pyne said the only way the federal government could influence teacher quality was by looking at university courses.

He suggested the standard was too low because very few people failed teaching degrees.

But he said imposing minimum entry scores for teaching degrees was a “blunt instrument” that would not guarantee quality.

Instead he wants the advisory body to have a particular focus on in-classroom training.

“My instinct is that the more a teacher is in the classroom learning on the job about how to teach people how to count and to read, the better,” he said.

Amen to that!

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

Click on the link to read, ‘Teachers Trained Very Well to Teach Very Poorly

Click on the link to read my post 25 Characteristics of a Successful Teacher

Click on the link to read my post 10 Important Tips for New Teachers

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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

gove

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

10%?

Not even close!

25%?

Keep on going.

35%?

You’re not even trying.

How about 45?

Keep going.

50%?

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

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!

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.

Sometimes the Unions Don’t Help

June 26, 2011

There are times when the Education Unions just make me shake my head.  At a time when respect for teachers is at an all time low, unions have the opportunity to help promote the good work teachers do.  Instead, they often make things so much worse.  Take this story for example:

Students will not be allowed to enter teacher training in England if they fail basic numeracy and literacy tests three times, under tougher rules to raise teaching standards.

At present students are allowed to take unlimited re-sits while they train.

The Department for Education said one in 10 trainees takes the numeracy test more than three times, while the figure is one in 14 for the literacy test.

The National Union of Teachers said it considered the tests “superfluous”.

The aim is to improve the standard of students entering teaching.

From September 2012, candidates will have to pass the assessments before they are permitted to begin their training courses.

The tests are the same for both primary and secondary school teacher trainees, who must also have achieved a grade C or above in GCSE maths and English.
What is “superfluous” about ensuring that teachers have basic skills in the areas they teach?  What profession would allow trainees to practice without the requisite knowledge or skill?  It’s not as if the questions are so hard.  Here are a sample of the questions on such a test:

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

  • Q: Teachers organised activities for three classes of 24 pupils and four classes of 28 pupils. What was the total number of pupils involved?
  • A: 184.
  • Q: There were no ” ” remarks at the parents’ evening. Is the missing word:
  • a) dissaproving
  • b) disaproveing
  • c) dissapproving
  • d) disapproving?
  • A: d
  • Q: For a science experiment a teacher needed 95 cubic centimetres of vinegar for each pupil. There were 20 pupils in the class. Vinegar comes in 1,000 cubic centimetre bottles. How many bottles of vinegar were needed?
  • A: 2
  • Q: The children enjoyed the ” ” nature of the task. Is the correct word:
  • a) mathmatical
  • b) mathematical
  • c) mathemmatical
  • d) mathematicall
  • A: b

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!

Pressure in the Workplace

November 26, 2010

I feel under extreme pressure in the workplace.  My colleagues want us to join the Education Union so we can make a new enterprise agreement with the school.  My colleagues want improved work conditions and the union wont represent them unless the whole staff sign up.

I am not a huge fan of the unions.  I don’t like what they do with the money they have, such as splurge on campaign donations.  I don’t like the unfair rule that staff who have paid their fees will not get full representation from them unless they get their colleagues to do the same.  I hate the lack of scrutiny they have for current Government legislation because of their political leanings.

Yet, I am faced with a conundrum.  Do I give into the pressure and pay the thousand dollars a year membership fees, or do I stand my ground?  I do feel conditions aren’t up to standard.  I do want my colleagues to be well served and looked after.

Would not joining the union be selfish?


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