Masters of Teaching Mind Dump 32: Slogging slogging slogging

in Education10 months ago


You can find previous Brain Dumps here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21. Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27, Part 28, Part 29, Part 30, Part 31.

Honestly, I thought that a half time load would be manageable for this first trimester of my second year... but it turns out that the rest of life is proving to be a touch busier (and more interesting, in a good and bad way!) than studying teaching. Of course, that does also mean that I'm now at the end of the trimester, catching up on coursework and finishing off the last of the assignments.

Last weekend, I knocked off the Secondary Maths teaching assignment... and this weekend, I'm hoping to finish up the Aboriginal Education one. Sadly, I'm not really that invested in either of the courses, the Maths one is at best described as uninspiring... and the Aboriginal Education one has lots of interesting information and knowledge that I had learnt quite a lot from... but the main idea seems to be pointing out problems, and solutions to the problems are few and far between, and mostly hot air guff...

Which brings me to two gripes. There appear to be two main problems at the moment that are bothering me about the education system... there are definitely more, but these are the two that are on my mind at the moment. The first is the fact that Aboriginal Education is really screwed... and the absolute lack of teachers.

With Aboriginal Education, we all know the problem.. Aboriginal students are achieving at much lower success rates than the average population. This is due to quite a number of factors, historical and cultural, in addition to the more mundane, access and socio-economic ones. They are all intertwined and so it is best described as a thorny problem with distrust on all sides.

As far as I can see, there have been endless attempts to address the problem... and most of them fall flat. If I was a scientific minded person, I would hazard the guess that most of the attempts have been stupidly top-heavy and policy minded. The sorts of things where people write 5000 word long incomprehensible policy documents that look a high school presentation, and read like... well, no one should be subjected to the horror of reading these things (PS: Why are they teaching kids to write like this as well?). It is all bundled up with pretty pictures, and released for politicians to claim a decisive "action"... and then five to ten years later, a review will look into why it was all a failure.

Part of the problem is that this is deeply entrenched problem... but people will seem to want a quick fix... however, the problem with quick fixes is that there are more like painting over the problem... and even worse, there is blowback from other people. Anyway, griping over...

... and on to the next gripe!

There is a crazy shortage of teachers, and especially STEM ones. There has been an existing opinion from the public that teaching is a cushy job, with 10 week terms, three quarter days, and long summer holidays. Somehow, when all the kids were sent home to do pandemic home schooling... parents started to realise that school was not just supervised childcare.... and that you actually had to be hands on to have students learn anything at all! So, with a collective sight of relief... the parents sent them all back... and then decided that teaching was a worthless profession again, and that things like spinning numbers and shuffling papers was much more important to society than training the minds and intellect of the next generation.

Now that I have had a bit more of an insight into what a teacher's life is... lets just say that every parent thinks that they are an expert, and teachers have to deal with so much crap, from parents, from government, from policy makers, from everyone...

... and this is why the burn-out and turn over is high and real. And those that stay are shattered... so, what are the fixes for this? More pay... well, that might help, but the problem is more structural... but it would be a start. More pay/scholarships to entice the "best and brightest" into the teaching profession? Well, let me say that this is the stupidest thing that I've heard of... the problem is the meat grinder, and enticing the best and brightest into putting their hand into the meat grinder is not really fixing the problem... it is just going to waste our best and brightest!

So... open-ended gripes... no solutions from me... but I'm starting to see that society criminally undervalues professions that have real meaning and impact, and drastically overvalues rent-seekers and time-markers.

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