Shameful reason teacher of 30 years quit

 

A friend of mine walked away from his job as a teacher recently, turning his back on career spanning over three decades.

He told me he was leaving because he was tired of being forced to give good marks to indifferent students, as there existed an unwritten but understood direction that no one was allowed to fail.

He said he was tired of coaching sporting teams to take part in competitions in which there was no scoring, so that everybody was a winner and no one suffered the ignominy of coming second.

If everyone passes and nobody loses, then the students are happy and parents are happy and the headmasters and education bureaucrats are happy.

Little Johnny never acquires the discipline inherent in study, but sails through high school without raising a sweat because the system says he must. He also thinks he's great at sport as his team never lost.

His lack of commitment to learning doesn't matter, because as long as he can sign his name and apply for a student HECS loan, universities will welcome him into their folds.

He spends three lovely years watching online lectures in between playing video games, going to the beach and hanging out with his mates.

His tutors give his barely comprehensible assignments a pass mark because they know that their superiors expect everyone to pass.

Tutors know that if they fail students, particularly those from overseas, they will be accused of having a bias against a particular group.

It doesn't matter that these groups have poor written and spoken English language skills, and engage in wholesale cheating.

It's much better to give everyone a tick and move on, rather than risk a career-threatening confrontation.

Three years and $30,000-plus later, Johnny emerges from the sun-drenched halls of academia with a degree and zero skills.

He has been in the education system for 15 years and learnt absolutely nothing because no one forced him to pursue goals and strive for excellence.

He eventually gets a job in retail or a call centre, and looks at the degree hanging on his bedroom wall and gets angry because he feels the system has failed him.

What happened to that high-paying job to which his degree entitles him?

 

 

Alas, there'll be no penthouse apartments, luxury cars or Rolex watch for him, just the 9 to 5 grind and the long road to retirement.

He's right, of course. The system did fail him. It thought it was doing him a favour by protecting him from the emotional damage he might suffer if he was told that if what he was offering up was his best, it wasn't good enough and he would have to go back and give it another shot.

He never learnt that there are winners and losers in life, and that the difference between the two is that winners try harder.

We know the system is failing these kids because it's evident in the studies that compare the performance of our students with those in other countries.

This evidence is incontrovertible, but no one seems particularly interested in changing anything.

In 2019 almost one in every 10 student teacher university graduates failed an online literacy and numeracy test.

How difficult is the test? Here are two sample questions.

* This year a teacher spent $383.30 on stationery. Last year the teacher spent $257.85 on stationery. How much more did the teacher spend this year than last year?

* A surf shop has surfboards for hire at $15 an hour up to a maximum of $60 a day. What is the cost of hiring a surfboard from 9.30am to midday?

Challenging? I don't think so.

Surely a system that produces high school graduates who then progress through a degree at the completion of which they are unable to perform simple intellectual tasks is flawed.

They then go on to teach others and the process is perpetuated.

Many teachers do great work and it could be, I imagine, the most demanding of professions but that is not the point.

The concern is that far too many of our kids are completing their high school education ill-equipped to make their way in the world, and then drift into meaningless degree courses that qualify them for Centrelink payments and little else.

In a few weeks, thousands of Queensland children will part company with their tearful mothers and pass through the school gates for the first time.

We want these kids - all of our kids - to be winners in every sense of the word, but it falls to parents to instil the understanding that success is hard won because a system that seeks to please all and disappoint none will never do it.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Shameful reason teacher of 30 years quit


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