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.)

The Hero That A Galaxy Far, Far Away Needs

, , , , | Learning | November 6, 2018

(I am a primary school teacher. This story happens during recess. A random five-year-old has wandered up to me.)

Five-Year-Old: “I like Star Wars.”

Me: “That’s cool; so do I. Who’s your favourite character?”

Five-Year-Old: “BATMAN.”

Me: “…”

Five-Year-Old: “I’m a lollipop.”

That Should Really Get Your Goat

, , , , , , | Learning | August 19, 2018

I am a teaching assistant at my local primary school. While the school used to have a small village school atmosphere, the school was taken over by an academy several years ago. Since then, the atmosphere has completely changed, and the staff morale is constantly at an all-time low. Parents have complained, but they are usually met with indifference at best and hostility at worst.

For the last few years, we have been repeatedly told that the staff cost too much and that the academy is considering redundancies.

Every time a staff member leaves, we are told they won’t be replaced, and parents are increasingly used as volunteers to cover staff shortages.

One day, my headteacher excitedly announces to the children that the school has bought two new goats. Apparently, the school can afford goats, but staff are a luxury!

Unfiltered Story #111457

, | | Unfiltered | May 19, 2018

This story takes place when I’m in Grade 5. We have a substitute teacher during math. I have overheard this teacher loudly telling another teacher that she is rubbish at math so I’m not expecting much. We are doing a math problem about area. I am good at math and it is fairly simple, but I overhear the teacher telling multiple students the wrong thing. I assume I misheard, and carry on until the teacher decides to mark as a class.

Teacher: *Condescendingly* Okay, so does anyone know what the answer is?

Some students put their hands up, and they say the answer, the teacher encouraging them. But the answer is wrong. I put my hand up. The teacher ignores me, and after a couple minutes I grow impatient.

Me: Excuse me, miss! That last question isn’t correct!

Teacher: Don’t call out!

Me: … my hand is up! That last question wasn’t correct, you only did it like [completely wrong way] it is [right way].

Teacher: *smiles condescendingly* No, you don’t understand, it is meant to be like [horribly wrong answer.

It goes back and forth like this for a bit. A couple other people who got the right answer are agreeing with me. Finally she relents, and half the class has to change their answer. A couple of minutes later my computer stops working.

Me: *to teacher* Excuse me, but my computer has stopped working, I have restarted it but-Teacher: *not even looking my way* Restart it.

Me: But-

Teacher: *hasn’t even started speaking to another student yet.* Wait your turn, this person needs something too you know!

I go back to my seat. I restart my computer so many times I lose count, and shut it down and start it up again. Finally…

Me: Excuse me, but my computer still isn’t working.

Teacher: Just restart it.

Me: *frustrated* I have!

Teacher: Do it again.

Me: I have done it so many times I lost count! Can I have a permission slip to go to [computer fixing place in school, that has computer experts that can fix anything in seconds.]

Teacher: *Acts like she doesn’t hear me* Oh, I know! [Girl]! Come here and help this girl fix her computer!

This girl DOES help some teachers with their computers, but she is no expert, and she has no clue. The teacher didn’t even stay long enough for the girl to cross the room, so the girl just shrugs and says to just restart it and then goes back to her work.

Teacher: How’s it going. *notices my screen is restarting* How come you aren’t doing work.

Me: *taking deep breaths* My. computer. isn’t. working.

Teacher: I thought [Girl] was helping!

Before I can explain she has dragged the girl back over. I just give up at that point. Eventually my computer randomly starts working, while the girl hangs around when the teacher is watching, and goes back to work when she is not. I tell her I’m sorry for taking so long, and she goes away. Eventually…

Teacher: Oh! Your computer started working!

Me: Yeah, it just-

Teacher: [Girl]! Come here.

When the girl comes the teacher praises her in every shape and form. When she is done, having now gotten girl WAY behind on her work…

Teacher: *To me* See! You should be more patient! I told you [Girl] could fix it.

Me: … really?

Pink Hats Off To Reading

, , , , , , | Learning | December 22, 2017

(I am about five, and my class is asked to write a story about a sheep being sheared. I am an avid reader and have already decided that I want to become an author, so the story I write is about ten times the length of everyone else’s and briefly mentions that the sheep wears a pink hat. A few weeks later the teacher brings this story up at parents’ evening.)

Teacher: “So, I am a bit concerned about this story. It just seems too fanciful.”

Mum: “Well, she’s five. She followed your instructions and wrote a good story. I don’t see the issue with saying the sheep wore a hat.”

Teacher: “It shows she needs to read more; she should have grown out of this.”

Mum: “Again, she’s five. She also reads every night, so I don’t see how she can read more.”

Teacher: “You shouldn’t let her read all those books. Give her a newspaper, instead. She’ll never do well in English if she keeps reading those books.”

(Thankfully, my parents ignored her advice and continued to let me read what I wanted. Several years later, when I was about nine, I actually had to be put in a class myself for English as I was reading at a high school level. What teacher tells parents not to let their child read books?)

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