Louise Cleary, Teacher Librarian, Coffs Harbour

What is the best thing about being a teacher? I have been a high school teacher librarian for about 35 years. The reason I came into the teaching profession was because I love the interaction with the students and my colleagues. I also love the fact that teaching and learning is SO important not just in the moment, but in a person’s entire life! I love that!

Are there things that need to change in your view?

Teaching and learning can change lives and it is for this reason teachers need to be able to give their very best. They need to be able to TEACH. I have seen the working conditions of teachers, which were so hard fought for, eroded over the past 20 years. Teachers have no time to teach anymore. Teachers have no time to be the best they can be. I have seen excellent teachers totally burnt out and alienated from a profession they love due to the undue stress that comes with an increasing administrative workload, lack of consultation, unrealistic demands on their time and expertise, all the while their salary does not reflect the hours spent giving their all in a never-ending cycle of increased demands.

What are the benefits of giving teachers more preparation time?

Teachers need more preparation time in order to make sure that they can sufficiently cover the administrative and curricular demands being put on them. They need to have time to properly liaise with their colleagues. They need to be able to have a life outside of school to reset and recharge. Teacher wellbeing is of utmost importance. If a teacher is stressed and burnt out they cannot possibly provide the best teaching and learning experience to their students and the school community.

Why did you sign up for the More than thanks campaign?

I signed up to the More Than Thanks campaign because I believe in the strength of the union, and I believe that people matter. It is time to right the wrongs and make our schools the best they can be. This can’t happen without a concerted effort from us all. It is time.