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Casual Teachers In Not-So-Casual Conversation

, , , , , , | Learning | November 19, 2018

(A few decades ago teachers were able to sign up to a lucrative retirement plan that would come into fruition in the 2000s. The government expected and thus preemptively advertised a shortage of teachers to entice school-goers to aim for teaching as a career path. At the same time, universities lowered their entry requirements and steered towards a profit-based program, advertising the shortage and near guarantee of a job at the end of your studies… and fools flocked to the industry, myself included. I had the scores to get me into other industries, but I fancied teaching because I love kids, and the shortage side of it didn’t hurt. Fast forward to the end of my five years of university. The shortage never came to fruition, so I was essentially competing with 44,000+ teachers in my state alone to find work that didn’t exist. Nevertheless, I enjoyed teaching and was generally pretty chipper about it, happy to accept any casual work that came my way. I figured that I’d just do the best job that I could and hard work would eventually pay off. I was naive. Here’s some examples of real conversations that I had that contributed to my decision to leave teaching. They were all in different schools with different teachers.)

Full-Time Teacher: “This is my first year out of uni. I got this class straightaway.”

Me: “Well done; that’s fantastic.”

Full-Time Teacher: “Yeah, I was a butcher before and ran my own business. My wife is a teacher in [Very Affluent Suburb in the city] where we live. But she said male teachers get a job straightaway, so I did it, and here I am.”

Me: *cringing* “That’s great; it must be a nice change for you.”

Full-Time Teacher: “Yeah, but I do miss the extra $45,000 more I earned each year there.”

Me: *thinking I earn half of that alone* “Yeah…”

(Another time…)

Teacher #2: “I thought teaching would be easier. I’ll admit it.”

Me: “Yeah, I guess so. I mean, there is a lot of prep work to do, even as a casual without the planning and marking those with a class would need to do. But it’s so rewarding.”

Teacher #2: “Oh, no, I meant because I hate children.”

Me: “…”

(Another time…)

Teacher #3: “Oh, I am 77. I don’t need to teach, but it’s nice to come in.”

Me: “You look very well for your age. Teaching must keep you young.”

Teacher #3: “No, dear, I am just rich. I can afford good makeup. I don’t need to teach, but I like gossiping in the teacher’s lounge.”

Me: “…”

Teacher #3: “Getting teaching work is hard, though, isn’t it, dear?”

Me: “Sometimes, I suppose.”

(Another time…)

Teacher #4: “Where do you live?”

Me: “[Area].”

Teacher #4: “Why don’t you work there?”

(I don’t know how to answer this, but [Teacher #4] walks off before I can reply, anyway. The next day I walk into the office, and that same casual teacher is talking to a full-time teacher. I overhear this gem.)

Teacher #4: “Did you hear her music? Are you really going to call her back for more work?”

(I sign in as they looked over at me. I turn around and walk straight to the classroom. She looks embarrassed as h***. The stupid thing is while she is trying to boycott my casual work at that school, I’ve only ever taught there while she, too, was at work. She was obviously given work before me, and since she can’t be in two rooms at once, I’ve not taken any work that could have been hers. And finally…)

Teacher #5: *after telling me I’ll get full time the next year and a class of my own* “So, you just have to put your preference down for which stage you’d like to work with, and then we can assign the full-time teachers for next year. You’ll be great with stage three, I think, but you can be anywhere.”

Me: “That sounds excellent, thanks.”

(Fast forward a month over the school holiday break. I haven’t heard anything from the school. I decide to call and ask so that I can make other arrangements and update other schools and so on…)

Teacher #5: “Oh, sorry, I thought they told you. We hired a new teacher because she’s [ethnicity] and the school gets extra funding.”

(I quit teaching soon after. I miss working with kids and the job itself. I do NOT miss working with many of the teachers I had to deal with.)

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