The article noted that in 2010, 3.4 per cent of teachers resigned during their first year in the job, while 9.1 per cent resigned during their first five years. Retirements, though, are the bigger threat to teacher numbers. As highlighted in a recent NSW Auditor-General's report, fewer than 10 per cent of the state's public school teachers are under 30. More than 44 per cent are over the age of 50.
NSW Teachers Federation Maurie Mulheron, said the union had been warning the government for a decade that the ageing workforce ''is a crisis that is looming'' and because there's a long lag in time between people's applications and the possibility of them being appointed to a school, their circumstances change.
“A lot of graduates who go into teaching become disillusioned with the wait, seek retraining in other areas … and then go into different professions”. (www.smh.com.au)
There is another issue that was also recently raised with teaching, as highlighted in a News.com article that centres squarely on teacher disillusionment, and that is student misbehaviour.
In this article from a major 'Herald Sun' survey of Victorian teachers, found three-quarters believe parents have unreasonable expectations about the school's role in raising kids. Nearly half of teachers surveyed admitting they had considered resigning over the past 12 months.
The article stated that educators say parents have become too fixated on being "friends" with their children, and are increasingly neglecting their duty to enforce boundaries. Victorian Principals Association president Gabrielle Leigh believes students are increasingly likely to be sent to school without adequate discipline from home.
It went further, that Parents Victoria executive officer Gail McHardy believed the pressure to clamp down on discipline was largely coming from state government policies such as increased powers for principals. (www.news.com.au)
Teachers are at the coalface
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson says that teachers are at the coal face on many different counts and concurs that teaching, while it can be very satisfying, nonetheless, is not a career path that should involve the skills and training of the constabulary.
In Australia there are a multiplicity of school educators such as Catholic Education, Grammar Schools (Anglican), Baptist Schools, Independent Schools, Christian Schools, Jewish Schools, Muslim Schools, Boarding Schools, Home Schooling and others. In any Australian and provincial city you'll find such a variety of schools.
Choice of school is increasingly becoming based not only on scholarly considerations but also on how successful core discipline is applied in the school. Some parents will drive their children significant distances in order to satisfy their personal preferences.
Mark Tronson continued that in Australia it is a natural human reaction to want to be near people you admire, and have your kids taught at a place that values the same things you value. Some schools have a more active parental involvement than others and this too is a consideration.
The Parents and Citizens (P&C) has a long history of engagement at State school level and are not only effective lobbyists for their schools, but often hold either the Government or the School Principals to account. Therefore it's the mix of P&C members and the individual school headmaster and his/her team who make a school an effective learning and social institution.
This is no different in any other country in the world, and works best where parents are well educated – doesn’t work well at some local schools in poorer areas, and therefore some parents will want to be with parents who are similar to themselves.
In one innovative situation, school teachers with “play money” are having much success in helping students understand the value of money. The students pay for the seat they sit on or the area they have when sitting on the floor. Innovation is an art and many teachers explore such ideas. (www.news.com.au)
Heavy considerations for Christians
This poses a dilemma for all Australians especially those who take their Christian faith seriously. Jesus encouraged his followers to mix with everyone, even to the extent of throwing a party. You invite not only your friends but others who unable to return the favour.
He tells His followers to be salt and light in their community, in order to add value and flavour to it. Further back in history when the Jews were in captivity in Babylon they were encouraged to seek the peace and welfare of that city. (Jeremiah 29).
Australian Bureau of Statistics show almost 40 per cent of Australian secondary students attended private school and the ACT Teachers Union has come out strongly against “three new faith based schools” being developed in Canberra. The grounds are that these faith based schools will draw children away from existing State based schools which may require them being closed. In other words, it's about “teacher job” protection. (www.canberratimes.com.au)
Australians when considering these matters will inevitably face challenging decisions about their life style and parenting and future directions. It's never easy. If any preacher tells you that by following Jesus all these issues become easy, pack your bags, and run from that place for the preacher speaks “not the truth”.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html