Before starting the day I read the newspaper online. Now I have lived all over Australia, and one of the joys of the internet is that I am able to keep up with the news in my home state of Victoria, which admittedly generally is limited to my football code, but this morning I read the report about expected school closures tomorrow with the strike action… Thousands to join teacher walkout… One of the “joys” of the online newspaper is the comment section – where the reader gets to speak their mind. I generally avoid them, the comments making me angrier than the article, but this morning there was only one comment when I read it (they are up to 90+ now)… and it was the one we (as teachers) dread…
Can someone please remind these disgruntled teachers that they get 3 times the amount of holidays as the rest of the Australian workforce! Once upon a time teaching was a vocation, now it appears people are just in it for the money, like everything else.
Now whenever I hear this particular criticism of teaching I always think back to my first teaching position and an exchange that happened in the staff room. We were all there, eating lunch, marking essays and trying to figure out what to do about a situation which had developed with some of the students, while supporting a new staff member who had been sworn and spat at, and figuring out the planning schedule for the upcoming student break. There was a moment of absolute quiet after one of the staff members (who had been there for a while) asked noone in particular, “Why do we do this job?”. As we sat there and reflected on our workloads, the literacy plans to be written, the reports, grading, and student management, calling parents, reporting to admin about calling parents, updating the student file, and somewhere in there teaching students something about English, our Head of Department told us, in this lovely bright and cheery voice, a fake smile plastered on her face… “We do this job for the holidays and the enormous paycheck.”
We all laughed, knowing that wasn’t the reason why.