What is the main topic of conversation in most staff rooms now? Yes, you guessed – teacher shortages. Why has this become such a problem one would ask?
You don’t have to look too far to work it out. Salaries, workload and the status of teachers. There are easy solutions, but it seems no one in power wants to fix the glaring problems.
Students completing the HSC do not see teaching as an attractive profession when they can seek careers in the corporate world that provide more lucrative lifestyle and better working conditions.
Once teachers reach the top of the pay scale (after about 10 years), that is where they stay for the rest of their teaching career. Deputy principals and principals are the only ones who can advance their career and salary. However, most people who go into teaching love teaching and want to remain in the classroom.
Teachers deserve and need to be paid a decent wage that reflects the amazing work they do. Work intensification and conditions are not getting any better as more demands are placed on teachersand support staff. Time – or the lack of it – is a major concern. This is affecting the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and support staff.
COVID-19 has not helped over the past few years and is still a problem. Teachers are being asked to take numerous covers for teachers who are absent, robbing them of valuable planning and preparation time.
Students learning is being interrupted when classes are combined, conducted in the playground or in corridors where one teacher is asked to supervise – not teach – far too many students. This situation also raises issues of duty of care for both teachers and students. Our students deserve better, they should be receiving quality lessons from quality teachers.
This problem is not specific to the city schools but also very much a problem in the regional and country schools.
There is a real shortage of casual teachers and governments and employers have an opportunity to fix these problems.
To all teachers and support staff working under these conditions day after day, well done, and keep smiling. You are the heroes because you care about and value the students in your care. We must all continue the ‘Hear our Voice’ campaign, visit local and federal members, write letters and let everyone know we will continue our fight for what is right for both teachers, support staff and students.
I look forward to continuing the campaign and supporting you all.