Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday Three.

1) There has been an overload of babies this week. F sent a picture of baby J the other day that actually made my womb cry until my brain told it to shut the hell up. It's ridiculous, everytime I see a baby I want to give it cuddles but everytime it does poos I want to give it back to mummy. Do men EVER feel that *want* to have babies? I don't think they get it (anything) at all.

2) I caught up with a few friends for casual drinks the other night. One of our distant acquaintances only addresses the boys of the group. It sounds hard to believe but it's true. If one of us girls said anything the woman would ignore it, but if one of the boys said anything remotely human sounding she'd giggle and make a comment. Being a girly girl myself, women like this make my skin crawl a bit. They always cite the excuse for not getting along with other women as "they're jealous of me" but really we're not. We just think they're rude and unfriendly.

3) I read an article the other day about how "talented" teachers should be paid more - ie: performance pay. The reason why they wanted to do this was to keep teachers in the industry - apparently 1/4 of all teachers quit within their first 5 years. I'm in my 5th year. I've considered quitting. In fact every single teacher I know who is starting out has also strongly considered quitting. Hell #1 is excited about having a baby, and she's over the moon about not having to go back to teaching next year. It doesn't really have *that* much to do with the pay - it has more to do with the working conditions in relation to pay.

I don't have any kind of issue with being paid more (because we're one of the only industries where you're required to have a degree for and yet still get paid below average wage) - but I'm questioning the assessment of "talented" teachers. There was mention of teachers who raised the grades of their students or teachers who have exceptional planning should get more pay, but who decides? The article mentioned that principals would be given a certain amount of extra money that they could distribute as they saw fit. This worries me. It worries me because in my experience teacher's pet extends beyond the classroom. I've yet to hear of a school where the principal doesn't have her/his little minions who are rewarded with public recognition for doing the same thing we all do. If a prin has a say in who gets paid then surely if you're on the outer with prin then you're fucked for pay. Now with the new IR laws - workers don't even have the right to complain when they feel they've been wronged.

The most talented teachers I know (and I know a few) have been the ones who have had a tough time out there. They were the ones who weren't recognised for their hard for for many, many years. They were the ones who found it hard to get stable positions. They had to fight really hard in order for people to realise just how good they were. I've seen so, so many teachers be "recognised" for their hard work that really don't deserve to be. If you are heaped with recognition and praise for doing not very much then why would you bust a gut to do better? When teachers who have worked their arses off get no recognition, it makes me despair. When teachers who work their arses off and don't get PAID then that makes me really bloody angry. The whole thing makes me question whether I want to stay in an industry that is turning into the epitome of a private corporation.

The other thing that worries me is that I really believe that children need more than just good results in order to feel like successful learners. What the hell is a good teacher? Is it someone who inspires learning or is it someone who gets good results? Are they the same thing? I know some scary as hell teachers that get great results because they push their grades to breaking point. Of course the kids are crying that they don't want to go to school but hey, there are some great results there. I know a teacher in the early years who did nothing that special in terms of what prin sees but 5 years down the track the children from her classes are the ones thanking her for inspiring them to learn. Well, 5 years later does that teacher get back pay for giving those children an invaluable lesson in life and learning? I don't know many teachers who went into teaching just to lift grade results. We all want that of course, but that was never the point. The point is getting mighty hazy...