Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fly In, Fly Out

Two years ago, my now husband worked about 8 hours away from home. He worked on a fly in-fly out roster - 11 days at work, 3 days back home. It was particularly hellish, put strain on our relationship, but made it possible for us to pay for our wedding and buy a house. And he got a lot out of the actual work he was doing.

Why am I talking about this? Well yesterday, the Queensland government announced 'flying squads' of four, led by a school principal and 'elite' teachers will go into the 300 worst performing schools for a week to make suggestions of how they can improve. (BTW, the article has an error, we came 6th out of 7 states and territories, not last, but that's another story)

One week.

Yesterday this made me very angry. How dare they suggest someone can fix something in one week that we struggle year in and year out to fix! Today I'm less angry and want more information. How are they going to choose the principals? How are they going to choose the teachers? How will they persuade the teachers to participate - after all they're having trouble filling coach and summer school positions.

What makes an elite teacher? Will it be taken from NAPLAN (National testing) results (like everything else seems to be)? Our best state schools in NAPLAN were from higher socio-economic areas, so are the teachers there really better, or do the kids come to school more prepared to learn? Will they take it from individual classes? What does this mean for teachers with gifted and talented classes who can get good results without pushing the children anywhere near their real potential?

I really want to email my local member and ask her these questions, but frankly, I'm a little scared. If I email her, am I going to go on some sort of 'pesty teacher' list? Am I going to get a letter fom district office telling me to mind my manners?

There's the real problem in this state. We've been put into a constant state of fear by our government. Fear over pay rises. Fear over the next statement in the media. Fear over the next set of hoops we have to jump through. We're tired and scared and that makes us feel we can't stay in this job anymore, that we just can't take the next thing they throw at us, no matter how much we love the classroom and the students.


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