Amelia, High School Teacher, Sydney
Amelia is a high school teacher from northern Sydney who is committed to the profession. Read more about why Amelia believes teachers like her deserve More Than Thanks.
What is the best thing about being a teacher?
The best thing about being a teacher is watching students have those “ah ha!” moments where a concept just clicks. It’s a joy to talk with students about their ideas for imaginative writing pieces and to guide them through their creative process. English is such a great subject because it traverses language, literature, philosophy, history and cultural studies. Helping students to see the big picture of how all these aspects come together to shape our world today, and into the future, is really exciting.
Are there things that need to change in your view?
The complexity of teachers’ work has changed enormously over the past 17 years. Student and parental expectations around accessibility to teachers has also changed significantly with teachers receiving a huge amount of correspondence with an expectation of a response within 48 hours.
So many teachers are burnt out by the end of a term or get very sick mid-term as a result of workload. The average teacher works 55 hours per week, which is simply unsustainable. A dramatic improvement in working conditions is necessary to attract and retain teachers, particularly with student numbers set to significantly increase in coming decades.
What are the benefits of giving teachers more preparation time?
More preparation time is absolutely essential to ensure teachers can meet the ever-growing complexity of students’ learning needs without sacrificing their own wellbeing. A teacher should not have to give up spending time with their own family, or time for exercise, in order to differentiate programs and lesson plans. Collecting and entering copious amounts of data and standing at the photocopier for hours scanning student work samples to meet compliance requirements are tasks that have no bearing on teaching but take time away from it.
Why did you sign up for the More than thanks campaign?
I’ve joined the More Than Thanks campaign because we need to attract the teachers of tomorrow as well as retain the teachers we have in schools today. If the state government is serious about meeting the educational needs of all students in our public schools, including rural and remote, they need to provide teachers with sustainable working hours and a competitive salary that acknowledges the incredible emotional and intellectual demands of the job.