Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Teachers, I salute you, far holes and thoughts on life in general.

Okay, the thoughts on life in general are probably not really cohesive thoughts as such, more like random dribble and some cute stuff from the kids.

Yesterday I put a long sleeved shirt on Dragon because it was actually cool enough for it (at least at the time it was) and I hadn't done a lot of washing lately. He shoved his arms through the sleeves and started tapping his arms saying "fawows, fawows" I couldn't understand him so I got him to slow it down... "far wowes, far wowes" okay, still not getting it... "far what?" "FAR WOWES" (read - "are you stupid woman, I said far WOWES"). Okay mummy subtly distracts him "look something shiny". A few minutes later he had pushed his sleeves up and was talking to daddy about something, the phrase "arm holes" comes up... "OH, FAR HOLES! I get it now, your long sleeves have far holes!" "YEAH, FAR WOWES" Does anyone know where I can download Toddlertranslator v2.7?

Dragon got all upset when he was informed that daddy was going to work (I'll wait while you all go "awwww"... done? okay back to the program) "But he id my daddy, he need to tay home wid me!" "but sweetie he has to go to work" and mummy's brain starts working... we have to go out first thing anyway so if daddy agrees Dragon could ride in the ute to work with him and I could pick him up after he has got his little thrill but before he destroys the shop. Daddy thinks it's a great idea so we run with it. It meant I got some rare alone time in the car with Lion...

L - "Mummy, in the olden days"
MMcT - thinks, this'll be good...
L - "Mummy in the olden days there was just pirates.... and sea monsters"
MMcT - "was there?"
L - "Yeah, and the pirates threw their swords into the river and the sea monsters got them and they died"
MMcT - "okaaaay"
L - "So that's why there's no sea monsters now."

Bet you didn't know that.

Midnight last night, I hear a noise in the house, "eh, probably just Lion coming in here" someone is bumping into furniture, Lion doesn't bump into furniture when he does his midnight wanders in, I watch the bedroom door as I listen closely for the next noise... Lion COMMANDO CRAWLS into view, mummy can't contain her laughter and her love for her ever surprising little man. He has been told that he should stay in his room and the mattress is only for if he has nightmares. His theory was that if he commando crawled in that daddy wouldn't take him back. Um... it worked.

We are having some issues with sleep at the moment. They still need a nap. If they could make it past 4pm without having a meltdown I would consider letting the naps slide. But they just can't. Days they skip their naps they can't even make it to 2pm without turning into sobbing, hysterical puddles on the floor over silly things like getting the wrong biscuit or having to wear clothes. But nap time is PAINFUL. Bed time is PAINFUL. It can take ages to get them to go to sleep with threats made, carried out, more made and carried out, tears (theirs and mine), meltdowns (yep, theirs and mine), thoughts of selling them on eBay etc. You know, the usual stuff. We are often at the end of our rope by the time they actually do fall asleep. I am tired of it, REALLY tired of it. I hate my kids going to sleep when the last thing I did was yell at them or discipline them. I have tried moving nap time around, making it later or shortening it (mmhmmm, I hear ya Mrs Bear, "Don't wake the monkey") but none of it works. I want to give up and get a babysitter for the middle hours of each day and then again for the evening hours it takes to get them to sleep. Consistency, persistence, all those other words that are bandied around in parenting circles and all the books are all well and good but THEY AREN'T WORKING!

That was my rant for tonight. Oops, hang on, no it wasn't... (feel free to skip to the end if you want, I just need to get this off my chest)

Queensland state school teachers were on strike today. I try not to soapbox on here but I had the most frustrating conversation with a friend this morning and I couldn't get my point across to her so I'll get it out here. The strike came up and she said in a rather loud I-want-people-to-hear-me-voice "teachers are just lazy". Now, I dislike ALL blanket statements (hehehe, funny aren't I?). But as the daughter of a teacher I REALLY get bent out of shape when people lump ALL teachers in one lazy basket. So, her points were...

  • teacher's shouldn't get more pay because they don't really do all that much.
  • teachers get 13 weeks holidays in a year.
  • child care workers should be given a pay rise first because they are paid less even than retail employees and kids learn the most in their first 5 years than in the rest of their lives and that is when the CC workers have them. But this wont happen because they don't have their own union.

My rebuttal...

  • This strike isn't entirely about pay, it's about working conditions too. Guess what, if the teachers are complaining about rotting floor boards in their classrooms and asbestos in their classroom ceilings I think we probably should take notice, you know, since it's our kids that will be falling through the floorboards and breathing in the asbestos. But back to the pay, all they are asking for as far as I am aware is that their pay is brought into line with the other higher paid states (pretty much all the other states). Sounds fair to me.

  • Boy, imagine the fun our family could have had with 13 weeks holidays a year! The reality was more like a few weeks over Christmas. Easter is really only 10 days long less student free days and then most of that was used to get ready for the next term and report cards. Mid year was 2 weeks, usually with some sort of training days and student free days and again, preparing for the next term. September was again 2 weeks less student free days and preparation for the next term, end of year assessment, report cards, etc. Christmas I think is about 7 weeks. There is a lot of work to do at the wrap up of the year, and preparing for the next year, changing classrooms if that's needed, etc.

  • Child care workers are great, and really should be paid more since a lot of people are using them as replacement parents! But they are not educators. They have a much lower teacher to student ratio say 7 to 10 kids per teacher compared to up to 35 kids per teacher and those 35 having all different levels of desire and ability to learn. Kids do learn the most in the first 5 years but it's how to feed themselves, hand eye coordination etc. And they say most of it is in the first year when more children are at home with their parents than any other age. It's mostly play based learning, and learning by mimicry not what is traditionally called education. Also, CC workers training requirements are nothing like that required of teachers.

I say pay teachers more. Use that to get more people studying education rather than lowering the entrance standards at uni. Don't accept every dropout from every other degree, "oh, you didn't make it in your chosen field, well you could always do education, you know they always need more teachers". Please don't get me wrong, there are heaps of great teachers out there! Good on you if you got into it for the right reasons. If you got into education just because you could count to 10 and tie your own shoes and no other degree wanted you then please, stay away from my kids. My 3 bridesmaids were all figuring out how to organise their teaching prac around my wedding (and I love them for it) so I am kinda surrounded by teachers in my life. When I made my point this morning about how much my dad worked and it was the teachers that weren't worth what they are paid that gave the impression that teachers only work 8:30-3:00 with loads of holidays, I was shot down with her sister being a teacher and she goes to work a half hour early and stays a half hour late and never has to take work home with her because of that. Oops, perhaps I shouldn't' have actually voiced that comment, still, I stand by what I said.

If parents are expecting teachers to take responsibility for whether their child gets into medicine at uni or for teaching them manners, social responsibility, and other things that I thought were a parents job then parents need to back the teachers and get them paid for what is expected of them. I wish that striking wasn't the answer but it's been years of talking this through that has lead to this action which has unfortunately had to impact the kids and detract from their learning. So, I hope the teachers do get better paid, I hope they start attracting a better class of teacher where the standard is raised from "keep one step ahead of the kids" to providing a top notch education. To all the great teachers out there I say "Thank you, keep up the good work". To all the less-than-great teachers out there I say "stop giving the good teachers a bad name, upgrade your skills, educate, don't babysit. You are educating the kids that will one day find the cure for cancer, develop technology we can only dream of and possibly of more concern to you they will be making decisions that will have a big impact on your retirement"

Congratulations if you made it this far...I know this has been haphazard and ranting but I had to get it out or I would have gone back and started the conversation with this friend again next time I saw her. So now to distract you from my soapbox... "look something shiny!"

Okay, that didn't work, how about a cute photo of my boys actually cooperating!

Awww, that worked. We had fun at the park for playgroup last week!


  1. Far Holes!!! I LOVE it! How cute is that?!? He'll be a writer, an artist with words!--oh, and I love the commando crawl!!


  2. One more thing to add to that...

    Qld Teachers are only trying to get the same as what other states teachers do. If this person you were talking to is a Qld parent, then surely they want their child taught by the best which isn't going to happen when the best are moving to other states because other states offer better pay !!!!!

  3. I am having such a difficult time with Toddler-ese myself. And my darling two year old will repeat his mispronounced phrase at least thirty times in various degrees of agitation until I finally prove I understood what he said. It's exhausting. I mean, it's sooo much fun.

    I can't imagine what I'd do if I couldn't put him down for a nap at least once...

    I'm with you on the teacher salaries. Here in Florida there's been quite a bit of dissension, particularly in our county. Teachers do a tough job, the good ones at least, I challenge your friend to spend a month in their shoes and see if she can emerge with her convictions in tact. ;)

  4. I know what you mean about not understanding the toddler. I have a similar issue. If anyone does find a dictionary, let me know. The only problem is that every toddler is different, so all their words and how they say them are different.

    As for the teachers stuff, we have issues here too with teachers frequently wanting more money. their problem, however, is not related to the safety of the children. Their problem is they don't want to pay for their healthcare, or contribute a small, small amount to it. About $200 a month is taken from our paycheck -- possibly more -- plus $45 for dental insurance. They are being asked to have about $20 a month taken from their check and they were in an uproar.

    So, I don't feel their pain too much when they cry foul here. Especially if you saw the houses they live and knew some of their starting salaries. I'm not saying they don't deserve it (most of them), but I do wish they'd be a little more grateful for what they have. And some of them, they do not deserve it. At all.

    Wow...did I just go off a rant too? You're rubbing off on me!

  5. Oh, you opened up a can of worms with this one for me. Since I was a teacher in my previous life (the one before dirty nappies and sleepless nights) I whole heartedly agree with you. Until you live with a teacher, you do not understand how hard they have to work. They don't get a lot of appreciation from many parents and have to go above and beyond on a daily basis.

    I used to get to work 8-4 almost every day and if any at all I managed to slip in a combined half hour break at the most throughout the day (not in one chunk). I used to bring home work, buy a lot of my own classroom resources and well, we won't even talk about the number of hours I spent at after school meetings. Report Card times involved several hours each night at home.

    I do know of teachers who don't bring work home and they aren't very professional. They don't keep up with latest information and they don't change their teaching materials year to year. They are often mundane and less effective. I hope this doesn't offend anyone because I am sure some teachers can limit their work hours, but generally all the well-respected teachers at the school I taught at, were the ones that put in a lot of extra hours after work.

    Council workers get paid more to work less, why shouldn't teachers? I agree with Chimera. A lot of good teachers do move interstate because they get paid more for the same job.

  6. My mother is a teacher and is one of the most hardworking and dedicated people I know. I think she should be paid way more than she is now. She really only has one day off a week because on Sunday she spends the day correcting papers and doing lesson plans for the week. And like you said, during the times that kids aren't in school doesn't always mean the teachers are off. My mother had to go in for workshops. Not to mention the nights she would get home around 9 or 10 pm (some of it travel time) after doing student/teacher conferences after report cards went out. So, needless to say after that long explanation, I completely agree with you!

    Adorable picture of your boys!

  7. I never took work home when I was teaching, unless I was behind in my marking or it was report card time.

    But I arrived at school not long after 7 and left just before 6 most days. How on earth can any teacher who is actually doing their job get it done in an hour outside of school hours?!?!?! Whoever you were speaking to yesterday is probably lucky I wasn't there to let them know that I'm GOING OUT OF TOWN for the weekend so that King Rick can have uninterrupted time to write his report cards, and that by the time this set of holidays rolls around he will have already worked off those hours in preparation and marking and report cards and parent teacher interviews and open days.

    However, I am having trouble getting my head around teachers wanting more money, not because I think they don't deserve it, but because we were paid so poorly in Gympie that when we were first married we were earning combined what King Rick earns now! But that's a whole other story...

  8. Your boys are so funny and I loved the picture of the two of them at the end. The perfect way to end it, if I do say so myself.

    So, what is the sex of the baby again.

    Still not falling for it, huh?

    Mrs. Nurse Boy

  9. That is an adorable picture, and i think that you said some other things in your post but...oh look at the bunny, sorry , easily distracted ;0

    I love your boys, they think of the funniest things.

  10. As many know, Mr Sunshine finally resigned from teaching last July. After his first week in his new role he said he felt great and I quote, "...a whole week without being hit, spat at, shoved, scratched, kicked or punched". Tell your friend they are always looking for volunteer teacher aids at that school. She will be welcomed with open arms :)

  11. Hear Hear!!
    Teachers in Australia don't get paid enough to put up with the crap that gets dumped on them!
    13 weeks holiday? What a joke? 'Holidays' are just student free work days.
    Feeling sick - need time off? You may get to stay at home and in bed - but most days you really debate what is more work - prepping all your work for the (usually incompetent) relief, cleaning up the work, classroom and behaviour when you do get back to work, or just suffer through a couple of days sick at work, when you bark at the kids more than usual.
    And then there's the parents!! You don't just have 20-35 kids to deal with, educate and teach social skills to, you have their parents - to deal with, educate and teach social skills to as well!
    I think everyone should give teaching a go to find out how hard it is, to find out what good teaching looks like, what good parenting actually looks like, how to support good teachers and find out how underpaid, how crappy their working environments and conditions are, and how much of our own money we pour into the job.


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