Month: February 2019

Where Have All The Teachers Gone?

A friend posted an interesting Article on Facebook today about the drain of experienced teachers in Australia. So, where have all the teachers gone?

Experienced teachers are disappearing into the sunset

They Have Retired!

Or at the very least, they’re thinking about it. Years of experience and skills walk out of the classroom every day, leaving a void that is hard to fill.

I retired almost three years ago from a teaching career that spanned the eighties, nineties and more than the first decade of the 2000’s. My career took me from Jelly Pad to iPad, and everything in between.

Why did I retire?

The pace of teaching has increased to the point where it is hard to keep up. We’ve gone from teaching the three R’s to teaching so much more, including how to function in the modern world of technology (cyber-safety). The curriculum is at breaking point and I shudder every time I hear ‘why aren’t they teaching that in schools?’.

I loved my job and gave it 100% of effort, but I found it hard to sustain the long hours.

It was time to go.

When a teacher retires, they hand in their laptop and their identity. A teacher’s world is contained in the files on the Government issued laptop; when they hand it back, their teaching world ceases to exist.

Departure time

But the retired teacher goes full circle – they embrace retirement with the same enthusiasm and passion they had for teaching when they were a new graduate. The difference is – they are now the boss and work to their own hours.

I’ve come full circle

But my heart is still back there in the classroom, wanting to help just one more student, or another parent battle the maze of paperwork to have their child diagnosed and accepted as having extra needs.

Should we try to lure retired teachers out of their new comfort zone and back into some kind of meaningful relationship with classrooms?

A lot could be gained:

  • We could salvage some of the knowledge and experience that walked out the door with the retiree
  • new graduates could be mentored – something new graduates identified as an area of need
  • the agility of mind that took teachers from Gestetner machines (if not, Jelly Pads) to Smart Boards and iDevices could be put to good use in the busy classroom in a meaningful way

Supply teaching is available to retired teachers, but it doesn’t offer the opportunity to pass on the experience of years of teaching. And it doesn’t highlight the depth of skills of the older teacher, especially in managing difficult behaviours and diverse classrooms.

New graduates start their teaching careers with enthusiasm, passion and a lot to learn – as we all did. They are the first to arrive at school each day, and usually the last to leave – at least for the first few years. The smart ones take advantage of senior teachers on staff and ask lots of questions – others prefer to learn the hard way.

Was it easier back then?

  • How did we go from Jelly Pad to iPad?
  • How did we move from chalkboard to Smartboard?
  • Where and how did we learn ‘the look’ – you know, that look that stops a wayward student in their tracks – without a single word?
  • How did we manage a classroom of over thirty students, many with Special Needs, without a teacher-aide or Special Education support staff?
  • How did we cope with thirty 4 and 5 year olds in their first year of school – on our own?
  • What could retired teachers teach new graduates that would help them over the five-year hump?

If only there was a way to bridge the gap between retired and newly graduated teachers – it would be a win-win, and the children in today’s classrooms would be better off.

Our Prime Minister surprised me yesterday when he gave the Closing the Gap Report. To get better results, Mr Morrison offered to wipe the HECS Debt for new graduates who offer to teach in remote areas.

I applaud the offer to help new teachers find a job, but our most vulnerable students deserve the expertise of our most experienced teachers. An ideal way to marry experience – with the exuberance of youth – would be to offer incentives to retired teachers to mentor new teachers in remote areas.

Mr Morrison – I’d go!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Teaching, 0 comments

The Sewing Fairy!

Thank God for the Sewing Fairy! I don’t know where they normally hang out, but one of them found their way to my house recently. And I’m so glad they did.

Image from Pixabay

It’s kind of a long story….

A couple of weeks ago I was sorting out a container of fabrics and I came across a piece of colourful stripy fabric. I thought at the time – wow!, this is good – I’ll make a skirt out of it. And because that day was just ‘sort-out’ day, I put the fabric back in the container.

Stripy fabric with arrow type designs, mostly orange, yellow, green, red and blue colours.

Meanwhile….

Move forward a couple of weeks to a lazy Friday afternoon. I had been doing a few chores that day and by late afternoon I needed some therapy. Since I didn’t have any chocolate in the refrigerator, and I didn’t want to go down town to buy some, I headed for the sewing room.

Sewing machine and overlocker sitting on colourful striped fabric on top of table

The aim was to drag out the orange and yellow stripy fabric and make a start on the skirt. I shook the fabric out to see just how much I had, but it was in a ‘tubular’ configuration. In other words, it wouldn’t actually ‘shake-out’ because it was a ‘tube’, as in doubled, or cylindrical.

Whoa!!!

At that point my imagination raced ahead of any logical thinking, and I figured this was going to be a quick and easy project. Since the fabric was stretchy, all I had to do was add a waistband (with elastic) and a hem. I don’t do zippers. If fabric doesn’t come with a zipper already inserted, my projects don’t have zippers. But I’m working on that void in my sewing skill repertoire.

When I turned that stretchy stripy fabric inside out, I was shocked to find it not only had been sewn into that tube-shape, but it also had a pocket inserted. When did that happen?

I kind of remember buying the fabric, maybe a year or so ago, but I don’t remember having started the project, and I certainly don’t remember inserting the pocket. The only explanation is:

The Sewing Fairy!

Perhaps they (using the gender-neutral form for Sewing Fairy) saw the mess I had made of the last project I tried to put a pocket in, and decided to bestow their kindness on this project.

God Bless That Sewing Fairy!!!

By Friday night I had added a waistband, complete with elastic, and hemmed the bottom of the skirt. Voila!, my new skirt was ready to wear – all I needed was somewhere to go to wear it.

Striped skirt hanging on a white mirror against a wall background. The skirt is mostly yellow and orange colours.
Not bad, for a few hours work….

And thanks to my lovely neighbour, Joan, I found the perfect excuse. On Saturday morning, Joan and I decided to go out for a coffee. As we drove onto the main road, I got the urge to go to a great little coffee place at Dungay, not far from home. So off we went.

There’s nothing wrong with my navigation skills!

The best thing about being navigationally-challenged is that I find the best places, by accident. By the time I realised that I was going the wrong way, I remembered another great coffee place in the direction we were heading.

Trees in the background and a table in the foreground
The Rainforest Cafe was peaceful, and so serene…

The Rainforest Cafe

What could be better than sitting at the base of Mt Warning, sipping on a great coffee and indulging in a little slice of pure decadence.

Cup of coffee and plate with cake, strawberries and cream
You can’t beat coffee and Persian Cake for brunch – any day….

Thanks to the Sewing Fairy, my new skirt took no time to make, and I was able to wear it to one of the best coffee places on the planet.

Oh, and by the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my memory. If I had inserted that pocket and sewn that side seam, I would have remembered doing it…

It was the Sewing Fairy!!!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments