Teachers and Abilities December 10th, 2011

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I wasn’t always a teacher. Left school after year 10, then an apprenticeship in the NSW Government Railways and Car and Wagon Builder. After that I did another trade course at TAFE while working for a firm as a Cabinet Maker and was awarded my Cert.III in Cabinet Making. The Railway job allowed me to roam about the countryside doing odd jobs and anything work related I wanted and when sick of that, go back to my trade in the Railway. Eventually moved to Newcastle in 1980, new home in Killingworth, a suburb of Lake Macquarie, built a home and worked in the Railway in Newcastle till retrenched in 1991.

After 2 years on the dole (went for over 400 jobs in that 2 years), never once interviewed for a job in that time, then one day on my way home in the car from a day I had off each week fishing, an add on the radio “study at the University of Newcastle”, “all you have to do is put your name down and do a Student Tertiary Admittance Test and this would allow a degree to be obtained. Well, I’m somewhat of a betting man, I then went in, put my name down and next day sat a test I began to wonder why I ever sat for it … it was way past my understanding, all statistics and math style questions, and having never passed maths in my lifetime, didn’t give myself much hope. But my head nearly span backward the following week, as a letter came in saying I achieved 85% and gained entry into the University of Newcastle.

I put my preference down for a communications Degree, duly waited for confirmation of start date and Student Card, which none of ever came. Heard on the radio that Uni had started and thought I’d better go in and see what had happened. The Uni had lost my application, the Communications Degree was full, so they stuck me in a Visual Arts Degree … I was not a happy chappy.

To cut a long story short and to get to the point .. I finished the degree and then did a Diploma of Education, was invited back to do another shortened degree (18 months) a Bachelor of Design and Technology, an education degree. Was exhausted after all that study, but loved the teaching I managed to come by as a Casual for the next 3.5 years. In this time I bought a computer (DOS run) with a huge 7.5k modem, fast for those days, spent time learning about what I could do with Bulletin Boards and the such, then onto Windows 1, then Windows 3, Windows 95, Windows 2000, XP and now Windows 7. In this time I also started a computer business selling and maintaining computers, as well as that I’d learnt from an old master photographer all about Wedding and Portrait photography and was booked up nearly every weekend photographing weddings, selling computers and Casual Teaching.

Fast forward to 2001, a new college opened up in Dubbo, after a series of calls from the DET I was offered a job as a Visual Arts teacher, teaching years 7-9. First day on the job I was called to the top office, there sat the Principal, two Deputies and two Head Teachers. One old HT “heard your good with computers, well, you now have one computing class” …. ‘hang on’ I sang out, ‘I was hired as an Ar..’ “never mind what you were hired as” came from the Principal, “we can have teachers placed where ever we feel they will do the most good”. I was a bit perplexed, then came this old HT, “and besides that, I’ve also heard you are good at electronics, well, you now have one class of electronics”. To this I said ‘but I haven’t told anyone about these things’, to which he said “don’t worry about that, but you also have a background in timber, so you have a woodwork class and one Design & Technology class”, to which I said, ‘I’m one class down’ to which the poor dismayed HT Art came back and said “you have one Yr7 Art class”. What a mess of classes I never thought I’d have to teach.

Well, the next year and 3 months was hell, torn between two faculties with 2 meetings each week and so on and so forth, till it came to a point I put my resignation forth. The old HT TAS said “well, to which faculty do you want to belong to”? I retorted ‘TAS’, to which to the end of Term 3 2011 I’ve been a happy member of ever since.

So, what has the title got to do with this story I can hear you ask. Come 2010 the Union began a campaign to spit the College structure even more, the Government gave in the the Union demands and took one Junior campus and left it as 7-9, the Senior campus at 10-12 and one stand alone 7-12 high school. Decimating the college structure and making a lot of teachers, students and parents unhappy.

Change of Government; in 2011 the college was changed again (before it had a chance to go to the 1st lot model) and changed it to two Junior Campus’ of 7-10 and one Senior campus 11-12.

Won’t go into the politics of this mess up, as much to say it has left a lot of teachers without a school to teach in.

In my case, having now built up Computing at the Senior college (was sent up there in 2006) I have now taught Software Design and Development, Information Processes and Technology, Information Technology VET (been a World Skills coordinator at Regional level for 5 years and had one student win Gold at National level in 2008 and one win Silver in 2010). I have also taught Industrial Technology Multimedia Technologies, and with all these now authorised to teach by the DEC.

Come start of 2011, I had built up so many classes it was decided by the Principal to hire another teacher to take on the extra classes.

Come the end of Term 3 when a lot of us had been told we no longer had any classes to teach at the College, it left me with this question: “If I have built up all that experience in teaching at the Senior level, in a subject that may I say isn’t easy to teach (especially IPT and SDD) then what about the students this may affect by taking me away from those classes and giving them to someone who has no computing experience at all? Am I wrong to think that it is the students who are going to suffer by taking the experienced teacher off those subjects?

What I am eluding to is this: what has happened in the education department to allow me to lose out on a job at a coastal school as I didn’t have my subjects approved to teach, but this person was hired without even teaching them (I just hadn’t filled in the required information on the Dept site yet), as I had to have the qualifications to gain another job at another high school, but this person didn’t when hired at this school from elsewhere?

It would be interesting to find out from others what they think about doing this in the education system, answering the anomalies in the decision making process to allow one to teach in an area not qualified in but not allow another the same thing, and also to get rid of the teacher with all the qualifications and keep another on to take the classes.

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 10th, 2011 at 3:10 PM You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site..

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