Stressed teacher speaks out about why she quit
A TEACHER'S Facebook post on why she quit the profession has gone viral after she claimed education in Australia was in crisis.
"Never have I experienced a time in my profession where teachers are this stressed and in real fear for the mental health of not only themselves, but the children that they teach," wrote Kathy Margolis, a Brisbane teacher of 30 years.
The mother of three revealed on the social network why she had taken the difficult step of deciding to look for a different job, which she pointed out was "not easy for a woman in her 50s".
"I cannot continue to do a job that requires me to do what is fundamentally against my philosophy of how it should be done," Ms Margolis added in the letter, which she also sent to the Courier Mail.
She even addressed "people who rabbit on about our 9 to 3 day and all the holidays", writing: "No teacher works from 9 until 3. We are with the students during those hours. We go on camps, we man stalls at fetes, we conduct parents/teacher interviews, we coach sporting teams and we supervise discos. And of course there is the lesson preparation, the marking, the report cards."
Despite all the time they put in, teachers are paid for just 25 hours a week, she added, as if they were part time. Her post has already had more than 20,000 shares, with other Facebook users calling for the government to take note of her words.
"Classrooms are overcrowded," she went on, "filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough."
She also attacked the curriculum, which she claimed is forcing prep school children to try to learn subjects such as history and geography, where they used to be focused on effective play-based learning.
"There is not enough time to consolidate the basics," she said. "Every teacher on this earth will tell you that the early years should be about the 3 Rs [reading, writing and arithmetic].
"I have never seen so many children suffering from stress and anxiety. It saddens me greatly. Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard. I get that teachers need to be accountable and of course we need assessment but teachers have an innate ability to know what kids need. A lot of it is data for data's sake."
As for the national testing program NAPLAN, she said it had become "bigger than Ben Hur".
Ms Margolis said she wrote the letter because teachers were not speaking up for fear of retribution. "Disillusioned" teaching graduates were leaving after an average of five years in the job, she added, and older teachers were seeing "the joy slowly being sucked out of learning".
She finished on a poignant note, describing how she had apologised to her class for pushing them so hard, only to be asked why she still worked in the job.
"I had no answer except that I truly loved kids and it was with a heavy heart that I realised that wasn't enough anymore."