Respect for teachers now part of the national conversation
The importance of restoring professional respect for teachers was at the forefront of national debate this week.
On this week’s Q&A program, a primary school teacher described how a minority in the community views teachers as “glorified babysitters” who have “plenty of holidays” and that attacks like these on the professionalism of teachers are having a damaging impact.
In a question to federal opposition leader Bill Shorten, the teacher asked what should be done to change the wider general public’s view of teachers and retain our best and brightest in the profession.
The response from Mr Shorten was to change the narrative on the profession by “respecting teachers and mak[ing] it a profession we can be proud of”. Mr Shorten highlighted the need to increase resourcing of schools, improve teacher pay and end the reliance on part-time and fixed-term contract roles.
Watch the excerpt from Q&A below.
The status of teachers was also front and centre on this week’s episode of Gruen where guest advertisers created advertisements supporting the notion of paying our teachers the same rate of pay as politicians.
While approaching a humorous topic, the advertisements powerfully juxtaposed the significance of teachers’ work – that of educating our next generation – with the value society places on this work.
Watch the advertisement pitched on Gruen below.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said it was positive to see the importance of valuing teachers at the centre of public debate.
“For too long, we have seen an erosion of the professional respect for teachers and it is time for that to change,” Mr Hayes said.
“Flawed standardised testing has become synonymous with education in Australia, teachers have a lack of autonomy over many elements of their work and the league table approach to NAPLAN and other test results has significantly damaged the perception of teaching,” Mr Hayes said.
“Our union has long campaigned for enhancing the professional respect of teachers, but we will renew that push through a national campaign alongside our colleague unions across the country.”
Mr Hayes said IEU’s national Teaching: It’s Our Profession campaign will fight for concrete change and improvements to the status of the profession.
“Teachers need to be empowered as the professionals they are to make autonomous decisions about what is best for their students.
“They need to be freed from the unnecessary administrative burden of data reporting for reporting’s sake.
“We need to build greater understanding within the broader community of just how hard teachers work to provide quality education to every student in Australian classrooms.”
Mr Hayes said where governments and others in the community will not listen to our calls for change, we must make them listen by campaigning strongly.
“We must find our professional voice because teaching is our profession,” Mr Hayes said.