It's time to Reclaim the Profession
Teachers' professional judgements have far reaching consequences for students — their views on education direction will be heard.
Joining with our colleague IEUA branches across the country, our union will lead the way in a national push to return autonomy and trust to teachers who must be free to exercise their professional judgements inside the classroom.
Our union Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the exclusion of teachers from key decisions impacting Australian education – and the deference to boards and bodies populated by ‘experts’ with little real experience of the classroom – had eroded teachers’ autonomy over the years.
“It is no coincidence that teachers’ workplace stress has greatly increased in recent years; many feel lost under an overwhelming workload which has coincided with a increasing lack of respect to make key decisions in their classrooms,” Mr Burke said.
Mr Burke said a marked increase in the amount of accountability measures mandated for teachers – including standardised testing such as NAPLAN – has set teachers a near-impossible administrative burden which detracts from the true nature of teaching.
“Teachers have an immeasurable duty in their classrooms and that is to craft, differentiate and deliver learning strategies for each individual student.
A standardised test cannot measure the impact of this duty and indeed when administrative exercises become too onerous it is at the expense of true teaching practise.
“The impact of increasing workloads and declining teacher autonomy is so stark that up to half of beginning teachers leave the profession within five years.
Mr Burke said those who are leaving the profession are not doing so due to a lack of passion for teaching.
“A recent survey of NSW teachers revealed that while 20% of teachers considered leaving the profession in the previous three months, an overwhelming 96% still found the profession rewarding.
Mr Burke said teachers would join together within their unions to reclaim their vital autonomy.
“The voice of our union and its members will not be silenced by those seeking to dictate what should happen in a classroom from the distance of closed boardroom doors – several degrees away from any educational environment.
“We will call out any and all attempts to diminish the professional standing of teachers.
“We will take back what is ours – we must reclaim the profession,” Mr Burke said.