How to improve education: Just ask the teachers (2023)

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How to improve education: Just ask the teachers (1)

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How to improve education: Just ask the teachers

I read with despair'Learning at risk as teacher shortage hits schools'(The Age, 3/2) which is similar to the headlines for the past two years. I have been teaching for 20 years and left the public school system last year to work in non-government after-school education.

If I had become permanent in the state school system (rather than yearly contracts) I would still be there because I love teaching. Instead, the Department of Education believes that spending the fourth period each weekend evaluating students' work, writing reports -- and applying for next year's jobs -- is a best practice.

This is after a year of working one day every weekend and a few nights a week, endless meetings, sacrificing all your energy to the students, coming home emotionally exhausted, and attending school camps where you are lucky enough to be to sleep four hours a day. Night. The reward is that you will have to apply for another job at the end of the year and there is a good chance a recent graduate will get it as it costs less to hire.

More pay, time instead of school camp, more preparation time during the school week, and smaller class sizes will not keep teachers or encourage them to return to class. Treating them like valued employees rather than employing a "fast food franchise" employment model would be a good start. Ensuring that public schools receive significantly more government funding than private schools would also change things.
Rohan Wightman, McKenzie Hill

Focus on administration rather than students

Well I'm not surprised there is a shortage of teachers. I recently left secondary school, as did many of my peers. I'm sure some of us would have stayed longer and some would have liked to fill the current gap if it weren't for the excessive administrative burden. Valuable time that could have been spent planning, teaching and supporting students and mentoring less experienced employees has been eroded by a focus on performance appraisals, excessive and time-consuming meetings and the next “novelty”, data analysis. Teachers used to have a degree of autonomy and respect, but sadly that's gone. I am currently working at a private tutoring school. The administrative burden is relieved for me, my experience is valued and valued and I can concentrate on what I really enjoy - teaching young people.
Georgina Manger, Hawthorn East

Australia needs a non-partisan approach to education

State education is run by the states, but it is definitely a national construct. Secretary of Education Jason Clare's contribution to the teacher shortage crisis is the latest in a long line of failures over the past 20 years. The last federal politician I can remember passionately defending the government's school system was Mark Latham.

Since Latham's brutal electoral defeat by John Howard, Canberra politicians of all stripes have been silenced by the neoliberal mantra of "choice" for families, an oft-repeated kick in the guts of the system of government. Too many gut kicks for too long lead us to the current scarcity. The chickens return to the roost. Schools need a bipartisan Canberra that politely stops playing football and respects and recognizes the importance of the profession.
Simon Williamson, West Footscray


towards reconciliation

The divisive scenes surrounding St Mary's Cathedral in Sydneyfor the funeral of the late Cardinal George Pell (The Age, 3/2) were inevitable. He was a divisive figure in life and a divisive figure in death. Hopefully the Catholic Church in Australia will be spared another cardinal as it seeks to promote reconciliation and the well-being of the many people whose lives have been marred by clerical sexual abuse at the hands of some of its religious leaders.
Robert Humphreys, Croydon Hills

Maria, the really big one

As it should be, Tony Abbott was wrong when he declared George Pell to be "the greatest Catholic Australia has ever produced". Abbott apparently forgot Mary MacKillop, now Saint Mary of the Cross, who was born in Fitzroy in 1842. She founded the religious order of nuns, Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. She was only a woman, but I believe there are more saints than cardinals.
Kerry McInerney, Mornington

Against the Pell haters

NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet's failure to attend Cardinal George Pell's funeral mass in Sydney reeked of political cowardice. To Peter Dutton's credit, his presence showed that he was not intimidated by Pell's haters.
Dennis Walker, Nord-Melbourne

United in our own tribes

Tony Abbott's heartfelt speech for his fallen hero inside the cathedral contrasted with the anguished Rainbow protesters outside. What did we learn? Who was right and who was wrong? No, we just found out that we are a tribal people, either on the inside or on the outside. This ends the lesson.
Paul Johnson, Clifton Hill

The truth about Pell

As the idolization of George Pell continues, the families and survivors of the horrific abuses endured under his watch can only think that none are as blind as those who choose not to see.
April Baragwanath, Geelong

Low base for comparison

Let's put Tony Abbott's description of George Pell into perspective as "the tallest man I ever knew." Abbott has spent most of his professional life in the company of professional politicians.
Nick Jans, Princes Hill

case of racial discrimination?

I arrived at Melbourne Airport this week after a pleasant family reunion in Goa and a tiring Air India flight from Delhi. As an older black woman, I might come across as someone who flouts quarantine rules and hides smuggled Indian food.

Despite signing an official statement that should have allowed me to exit the airport via the green runway, I was ushered into a brightly lit room where I joined a line of weary travelers of color. A well behaved dog soon walked in, circled us twice, sniffed our luggage and found nothing suspicious.

This has never happened before. As Australians of Indian descent and Indian tourists, were we respected and trusted? As a researcher studying white privilege, was I overly sensitive, or was this unconscious racial profiling inexplicable?
Michele Lobo, Hampton Park

Make AUKUS friends happy

Penny Wong says the rule of law must be appliedFall Julian Assange(The Age, 2/2), signaling that there were no diplomatic negotiations with the UK or US to get him released. Would she say the same if he were a prisoner in Russia, Iran, Myanmar or even China? However, each of these countries proclaims that its judicial system is fair and treats everyone according to the law. I suppose we don't want to upset our AUKUS friends, do we?
Daniel Cole, Essendon

The struggle to see Mary

I wish I could stop by Her Majesty's Theater to see itMary Poppins(age, 3/2) with my grandchildren. After hours on the site I gave up. Seems like getting tickets to take my kids to shows in Melbourne was frustrating in the 80's. So no computers and no cell phones, only the landline for a long time. Living in a rural town didn't help as there were no local ticket offices. Good luck to anyone who snags a Mary Poppins ticket.
Pam Mount, Parkdale

The Invisible Diseases

As a person with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) which severely limits my ability to work, socialize and enjoy life, I am used to the fact that medical science still has no cure. But having a disabled parking permit was very helpful.

However, the criteria for this permission have changed and I am no longer entitled to it. Instead, I am only entitled to an extension of the parking period. This is a significant backward change for those with the full license. It's a perfect example of someone making decisions without knowing what it's like to live with an "invisible disease" like ME/CFS.
Matthew Hamilton, Kew

unwillingness to pay

"Somebody has to pay" (Economy, 31.1.)it was very interesting. Insurance companies have been accepting premiums for years, make very good profits in good times, but are somewhat reluctant to pay out. They hire companies to search your home with a fine comb and provide a reason for dismissing your claim.

We somehow have to know the building codes and the intricacies of building to realize that our house, which we thought we'd kept in pristine condition for years, doesn't live up to the mark.
Eleanor Prout, Ringwood Leste

eternal double standard

For Jane and Joe Citizen, ignorance of the law is no excuse. However, when former Liberal Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge claims he was not told robot debt was illegal, that statement does not appear to be true. Well, what's new?
Robert van de Groenekan, Malmsbury

the broad statements

As a longtime politician, Peter Dutton certainly understands that the substance of the Constitution cannot be changed without passing legislation proposing the change and then getting the people's approval through a referendum. Therefore, it is necessary that the constitutional statements are broad.

Including the operational details of the vote in the constitution would block processes before they were carefully developed. It is much better (once the referendum is successful) to put the details in separate, well-designed legislation, to allow flexibility for adjustments if necessary, to improve the effectiveness and cultural adequacy of the workings of this body.
Linda Cusworth, Armstrong Creek

go with the mood

For all those people who want more detail about the words of the voice, they don't know that it's the "vibration" that counts.
Bill Proctor, launch site

lack of transparency

Details on The massive donationsfrom fossil fuel companies and organizations linked to political parties (The Age, 2/2) makes for depressing reading. But what's really depressing is the effectiveness of these donations.

In the face of overwhelming evidence that new coal and gas projects will lead to more floods, fires and droughts, the federal government is allowing new fossil fuel projects.

And the planned advancement of the protection mechanism that will allow our biggest polluters to continue polluting the environment through a questionable carbon credit scheme sounds about as effective as a smack with a wet lettuce leaf. Evidence-based policies on big issues like climate will only be implemented if we have dramatic improvements in the transparency and integrity of our donation laws.
Matilda Bowra, Fitzroy North

very badly spent money

Imagine what Clive Palmer could have done with $117 million instead of spending it on political donations to secure a senator's election in the last election.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh

balance the extremes

As unusual as it is, I can take a 13 degree day in February. Although, to make me happier and for the sake of balance, maybe we could somehow arrange a 35 degree day in June?
Simon Flint, wanted


How to improve education: Just ask the teachers (2)

Georg Pel

If Pell is the best man Abbott has ever known, then it's time for him to reevaluate the company he keeps.
Kerry Lewis, Williamstown

Archbishop Pell was not a martyr or a saint, but he was an arch career.
Mike Toomey, Rowville

John Howard and Tony Abbott: "Apelologistas".
Margaret Lothian, Mittlerer Park

Abbott is wrong, Australia's largest Catholic is St Mary of the Cross (aka Mary MacKillop).
Ian PowellGlen Waverley


Let's put an end to the anachronism of treating MEPs as 'honourables'. They rarely are. I'm looking at you, Mr Tudge.
Stephen Farrelly, Donvale

Bill Shorten's push to use mygov as a personal data appa “one stop shop”(1/2) smells like the reborn Australia Card.
Anne Krüger, Rye

The "One Stop Shop" is exciting news for hackers and identity thieves.
Marina DobbynGlen Waverley

The Prime Minister's claim that The Voice will unite Australians is on par with Hawke's promise that by 1990 there would be no child living in poverty.
Martin Newington, Aspendale

Besides that

It would be perfectly fitting if the face of Charles III. appears in our fifth while swiftly throwing himself into his fate like a historical relic.
Tony James, Batteriepunkt

It was time. Off with your head.
Philipp West, Jan Juc

Qantas(Comment, 3/2). An unreliable flight service.
Peter Cooke, Warnambool

Why officials needTikTok on your work devices(2/2)? I know these could also be your personal phones...but really?
Chrissie Schubert, Windsor

Compensation of Artists. When I am invited to donate my sculptures or works for free with the promise of "exposure", my response is that "people die from exposure".
Michael Meszaros, alpha tone

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