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Teachers revolting.

By johnboy - 26 August 2011 51

That headline never gets old.

But we do have this email from the Australian Education Union:

Dear Sub-Branch Reps and Principal Members,

The latest offer for teachers or “What’s NOT in it for me?”
A brief summary:
· A salaries offer that will return us to the worst paid in the nation within months. NSW will forge ahead once again next year.
· Prospective “Teaching Leaders” competing not only against professional standards but against each other for up to 50 positions in the first year.
· An underwhelming total of 50 teachers skipping a step on the scale through accelerated progression (out of 1200 eligible teachers).
· A reduction in teaching load for first year teachers that is one-quarter of what was available until the mid-1990s.
· Nothing for our principal members except a salary increase of 3.5% – an inadequate reflection of an increasingly complex role.
· Nothing to increase the attractiveness of school counsellor positions, despite the system’s inability to fill 7 full- time positions, and despite more than 20 schools not having a counsellor at all.
What are we doing about it?
· Stopping work next Thursday morning to consider further action (see previous email for details).
· Mounting a vigorous campaign of community engagement.
· Asking members to write a polite email to the politicians through www.aeuact.asn.au/campaigns/.
· Banning the fortnightly absence record…
ALL MEMBERS: As per a decision of Executive on 23 August, from the morning of NEXT WEDNESDAY 31 AUGUST 2011 (AND NOT BEFORE!), PLEASE CEASE ALL PARTICIPATION IN THE FORTNIGHTLY ABSENCE RECORD PROCESS.
And stay tuned for information about further bans which AEU Executive has authorised to be implemented progressively over the next couple of weeks.

Regards,
AEU Officers

What’s Your opinion?


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Teachers revolting.
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2604 9:39 pm 20 Sep 11

Gerry-Built said :

By all means, anyone feel free to suggest a good way of measuring teacher success… There is probably a reason the Government has put it in the “too hard” basket…

Commonwealth public servants have had performance pay for years – even those doing difficult to measure stuff like basic research, or developing policy – so I’m sure there’s a way of measuring and grading teacher performance.

FWIW, I would structure teacher performance assessment this way. Reduce guaranteed salary increases to a more reasonable 2.5-3% per annum. Then have three bonus pools:
– First bonus pool is for individual bonuses based upon surveys of parents, students (if a suitable age) and peers, who are asked to award the teacher an effectiveness rating out of five based upon how effectively students have learned. Effectiveness ratings are averaged out for each group so that an overall score for each survey group is achieved. Each survey then has an equal weighting towards the bonus. Bonuses of up to 5% of gross salary available.
– Second bonus pool is based upon NAPLAN scores. If a school shows an improvement of more than 10% in overall NAPLAN scores, everyone in the school (including admin and support staff) gets a bonus equivalent to 3% of gross salary. If the improvement is above 20%, this bonus is increased to 5%. Any school caught fudging NAPLAN forfeits the right for its staff to receive this bonus for two years.
– Final bonus is a lump sum bonus of 1.5% of gross salary payable to every teacher teaching at a school with an ICSEA of less than 1000, to provide incentives for teachers to teach at disadvantaged schools.

Watson 9:32 pm 20 Sep 11

AzzACT said :

Ok, I’ll bite.

I am a card-carrying AEU member and a new teacher.

We get paid more as graduates because we do more. I teach the same number of classes/students, do the same administration, duties, etc.etc. to the same professional standards as someone who has been doing it for the past thirty years. From my first day.
A graduate lawyer, to quote the example, does essentially nothing compared to someone who has been in the game for 30 years.

The “9-3” image people have of us is wrong. We officially work from 8.30 to 4.51 Monday to Friday. We are supposed to get an hour break in the middle. We don’t. I have a half hour break every Friday, apart from that I am teaching, administrating, on duty, preparing, calling/emailing parents, marking or caring for students because we have HALF of the directorate mandated cousellor allocation. I get sworn at by teenagers almost every day. Once I get home, I continue with some combination of these things until I go to bed. Most nights I have trouble getting to sleep because I am worried about some of my 124 students. Come week 6 or 7 of each term I will be writing 15,000 words of report comments that have to be perfect. I have absolutely no oppertunity to do this inside of my 37.5 hours of work time. Adjusting for the eight extra weeks of stand down time I have over a “normal” ACTPS employee, I still work an average of 43 hours a week. Where are my RDO’s? Not many teachers keep up this pace, the average retention is 4-5 years for a new teacher.

I gave up a significantly higher wage, and much greater earnings potential to become a teacher. I’m never going to earn a lot of money, and the profession would attract the wrong people if I could. I teach for the feeling that I get when my kids succeed, and when they and their parents thank me – I’m on top of the world but that doesn’t pay the bills.

The ACT LA loves to brag about having the strongest economy in the nation – which is great… Except with that strong economy comes a high cpi, high rents and a high cost of living. We are the lowest paid but highest performing teachers in the country, living in the most expensive jurisdiction to live. The ACT is bleeding quality, experienced teachers because we can live in the major NSW centres cheaply and get paid 8-15% more. What would you do if you had a family to provide for? I would be out of here tomorrow.

We are trying to gain wage parity with NSW teachers, who are striking over their own wages!!!

National Curriculum, National Standards and inequitable renumeration – we want to see National Wages as well.

Good post. Some pretty sensible arguments in there. I won’t whinge about having to take my child into the office again on Tuesday morning and I hope the strike achieves the outcomes they are after.

2604 9:13 pm 20 Sep 11

Jim Jones said :

2604 said :

schools made less politically correct

What in all hell does that mean?

It means that the practice of teaching, and the school environment generally, have gotten worse for the sake of not offending liberal sensibilities, like being “nice” to children at all costs. For example:
– Kids rarely, if ever, repeat grades any more, because it might “emotionally disadvantage” them to be separated from their peers. Ergo, they can slack off all they want and still pass. Or, they will still be advanced to the next grade despite not having properly learned and understood the subject matter of their current year.
– Some schools have stopped handing out academic awards at the end of the year because they consider it unfair on kids not smart or hard-working enough to get an award.
– The prevailing philosophy is not to blame kids for any bad behaviour, but to excuse it with reference to their background, peers, medical conditions, and so on. Kids need to learn to accept responsibility for their own actions, just like adults.
– Kids from known, “rougher” backgrounds are generally subject to lower academic and behavioural expectations because of their backgrounds, when they should be expected to follow the same rules and meet the same standards as anyone else. Especially because, often, school is the only chance they’ll ever get to break the cycle.

milkman 10:06 am 20 Sep 11

Gerry-Built said :

milkman said :

I’d like to see teachers paid more, but held to a well-defined performance management framework.

While we do have a weak form of this already, we’ve yet to see a model for a fair/acceptable Performance Management Framework; but I’d suggest most teachers would support (or at least be resigned to) this idea. We’ve seen every kind of suggestion from performance measured by; peers, principals, parents, pupils and combinations of those… It isn’t as simple as measuring students test scores, or recording the number of A grades awarded. By all means, anyone feel free to suggest a good way of measuring teacher success… There is probably a reason the Government has put it in the “too hard” basket…

Every other teacher picks up the slack for the poorly performing teachers; we are at least professional enough to be held accountable for our work. But it does require a fair yard stick.

Very well said.

The issue of how to construct a performance management framework is a difficult one, but is definitely possible, I think. Lots of other professions have performance frameworks that include factors that are outside the direct control of the participants, but I think (based on the teachers I know and to whom I’ve spoken about this) that this may be a barrier for some.

Gerry-Built 9:58 am 20 Sep 11

milkman said :

I’d like to see teachers paid more, but held to a well-defined performance management framework.

While we do have a weak form of this already, we’ve yet to see a model for a fair/acceptable Performance Management Framework; but I’d suggest most teachers would support (or at least be resigned to) this idea. We’ve seen every kind of suggestion from performance measured by; peers, principals, parents, pupils and combinations of those… It isn’t as simple as measuring students test scores, or recording the number of A grades awarded. By all means, anyone feel free to suggest a good way of measuring teacher success… There is probably a reason the Government has put it in the “too hard” basket…

Every other teacher picks up the slack for the poorly performing teachers; we are at least professional enough to be held accountable for our work. But it does require a fair yard stick.

Jim Jones 9:28 am 20 Sep 11

2604 said :

schools made less politically correct

What in all hell does that mean?

sepi 9:24 am 20 Sep 11

You can talk about accountability, performance measures etc etc all you want, but if noone wants to be a teacher due to bad pay and conditions, then education will suffer. I’m not a teacher, but it seems pretty basic to me. Pay peanuts, get monkeys.

Gerry-Built 10:45 pm 19 Sep 11

probably worth mentioning that NSW teachers are not the highest paid in Australia, either… So it isn’t like we are shooting for the moon…

milkman 10:41 pm 19 Sep 11

I’d like to see teachers paid more, but held to a well-defined performance management framework.

Gerry-Built 10:20 pm 19 Sep 11

2604 said :

clue us in on how this kind of strike action is helping kids get a better education?

What you won’t see (because teachers are standing up for it and won’t let it happen), is a gradual decline in the standard of education in the ACT, because an education sector that can attract and retain quality applicants is more likely to maintain a higher standard. With the current and previous offers, the ACT won’t be a choice of education graduates; and furthermore, the profession as a whole won’t be able to attract anyone entering the workforce.

Unlike politicians, teachers are interested in the long term future of their profession… not just the popular short-term decisions… you WILL NOT find any occupation more passionate about their field, nor their “products”…

2604 10:08 pm 19 Sep 11

Seems like an awfully hit-and-miss way of getting an outcome Sepi. At the end of the day there’d still be many teachers and principals getting paid regardless of how little education students received.

The following equation would make more sense:

– school leaders made more accountable and schools made less politically correct
= better education for our kids

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