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Thanks to Hestia's Larder for this delightful award.
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Sunday, 4 July 2010


After recovering from the rigours of the week, and the term, with two weeks of R & R to look forward to, it occurred to me that any reader who is not involved in teaching, would think that we teachers have a pretty soft life.
Think about it.

  • Never work on weekends.
  • Start at 9
  • Finish at 3
  • All the public holidays
  • 12 weeks holiday a year
  • Good pay

The reality is slightly different.

For most of us, the day starts at 8, so we can get the rooms ready and attend morning appell or briefing. This is where we learn of any planned/unplanned changes to the normal school routine.
We don't always get our coffee or lunch breaks, as we have to supervise the kids having their breaks, or we're running detentions or catch-up classes
Most of us finish by 5, but HOFs and Deputy/Principals are often in school until 6 or 7. This is not a choice. There are committee, faculty and other meetings most afternoons.
Many teachers come in on weekends to support an extra-curricular activity (coaching rugby, netball etc.)or to get some administration done, or new assessments set up for the new curriculum. When I arrived in Nuova Lazio from Scotland, I must have spent every weekend for 6 months getting the courses and assessments set up.
We do get a lot of holidays, and by God we need them. Teaching/supervising about 600 kids per week is exhausting. Think about your own experiences. Even looking after 2 kids for an afternoon is fun, but how tired are you at the end? Multiply that by 300 and you will get close to our levels of exhaustion. Remember that most of the kids would rather be doing something else, so we have to motivate, inspire, berate, lead, demonstrate, assess, give feedback, praise, warn, threaten and care for all of these kids, every hour, every day.
Finally pay.
A new teacher, coming out of a 3 or 4 year degree course, plus a year doing a post-graduate certificate/diploma, has about $20,000 of debt to pay off, and they start at $30,000 per year. This is about $14.50 per hour. Is this enough. Do people want their primary children's educator to get paid less than the cook at the local cafe?
We're just starting a pay and conditions negotiation with the Ministry of Education, and I don't foresee an easy ride.
Mind you if we start having random strikes, and start sending kids home for whole days, what's that going to do to the country's overall productivity?
Ah well.
I'm going to enjoy the next two weeks off. Recharge the batteries.
Don't even think about school for at least a week.

Yes Mary, this is a penis.


  1. Where did you find the picture?!?

  2. Off of a teaching web site. It's actually some kind of writing impliment for kids with poor grip.
    Doesn't look like that, does it?

  3. Richard (of RBB) I got the picture from here:


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