Professional dialogue. Professional learning. Professional development

A few things piqued my interest this week: equally vexing and satisfying, and part of my ongoing professional learning. It began with an opinion piece by Jenna Price (SMH 1/8) that caught my eye by its headline, Why are teachers struggling? Because your children are awful.

While a few might ascribe to the dictum, ‘every child is sacred’ and tut-tut in quiet disapproval, I thought, isn’t this, to an extent, true? Some students are becoming empowered by a sense of entitlement and unequivocal support by permissive parenting. I’m witnessing this in my classroom, as are my peers.

I read on, “It’s not just rudeness or a lack of cooperation or even respect. It extends all the way to violence. We have record levels of assaults at schools and violence both within and outside school,” writes Price. Absolutely! Evidenced by recent attacks online and social media, closer to home. Schools are becoming dangerous workplaces in some respects. So, where is this heading?

Where does an early career teacher or an experienced teacher find support to deal with issues in classrooms, when the channels at school are exhausted, and leave them disillusioned, if not unsafe?

The union. The IEU provides excellent workplace and industrial support that ensures protections, conditions and rights. Moreover, the union fills an important space in the professional landscape of teachers. Just check this semester’s range of professional development opportunities for our members – All on behaviour management: getting it right; keeping it right; making it right and upholding the right. All NESA and TQI accredited. A practical, and union-timely way of tackling the ‘awfulness’ in children that Price opined.

The most satisfying learning experience I gained in the same week was another exceptional professional development opportunity provided by the union: Getting a handle on the Voice Referendum. The dialogue between Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien and the IEU (namely, Mark Northam and Pat Devery) was grand (Thanks, Mark). See p3.

Thomas Mayo made an important link between the union movement and unions generally to the campaigning around the Voice to Parliament. As a trade union, we share in the understanding that campaigns take a lot of work, time, meetings, explanations, strategies, to shift the discourse and to bring along the people on the right side of justice. That we stand for fairness and equity, and we represent the vulnerable, the downtrodden. Mayo and O’Brien implored participants to have conversations with individuals who are ambivalent about the referendum. Change their minds.

Turn the tide

In Kerry O’Brien’s words, to paraphrase, that there is a richness waiting to be developed and experienced; it will enhance democracy and strengthen the nation. O’Brien is right, “It’s a no-brainer. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain.”

Mayo concluded stating, “The union movement is vital to this. We will be on the right side of history.”

What a week of Professional dialogue. Professional learning. Professional development.

Thanks IEU!