No Teacher Left Behind!

This is a poster for the ‘connected’ teacher. While many talk about ‘students being left behind’, or ‘preparing kids for the 21st Century’ etc., Then why not a poster to reflect the thousands of teachers who are totally insane and working towards a shift in education – that even governments and institutions recognise as vital (they just don’t want to pay all the direct costs for it).

Personal Costs for teachers

Teachers in my view need to at least have their home internet use funded in some way. Many teachers are having to buy their own laptop or use their home desktop, most I know have to share a desktop computer at home – and bandwidth with family members.

Australia’s personal tax laws don’t help. Writing off hardware over 3 years is dumb. Why should a teacher be treated the same as a business – who are using the computer for far more lucrative purposes. Teachers should be first in line to get a Rudd laptop in my view – then at least its one less cost for them to bear while they are learning how to use it to better effect.

Instead we see this recently from the Teachers Federation.

“Although teachers in many public schools in NSW spent many hours preparing their school’s applications, significant issues relating to infrastructure and support need to be addressed by the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) before the Federal Government’s “Digital Revolution” arrives in public school.

As a consequence of this, unlike private schools in the first round, no DET school is likely to see any computers under the program before the 2009 school year.”

I prepared my schools application – no one paid me to do it, and I am not alone in yet another ‘cost’ that is avoided by government.

If we want to get more teacher engaged in reading, learning and participating in the exponential growth in the use of social networks as professional development vectors, then there is a significant cost to those teachers – in addition to their normal workload.

This is a personal, not school or government burden. They do it at home – and may are awake at ridiculous hours to do it – because they see the benefits for the kids – not just talk about them.

This cost needs to be recognised, these people need to be recognised! – with more than a pat on the back.

I suggest that teachers keep a record of this (personal) time. Post it somewhere, so you can remember all the hours you put in. Make sure you value the time, even if ‘they’ don’t. Make consious decisions NOT to help – if that will incur a higher personal cost that you can afford.

Technology is pushing the boundaries of teaching and learning. Judy commented that bloggers should be joining professional bodies to lobby for change. I think she’s right.

I’m not sure how I’d articulate the poster’s message – but old habits die hard.

8 thoughts on “No Teacher Left Behind!

  1. Great poster and rant- and you know I’m one of those awake at ridiculous hours doing this. Too tired to log the hours! There’s the irony.

  2. I love some of the points that you make and it is sometimes how I feel… although I do have an internet addiction (and the iphone has not helped me).. But I think that your hours spent could be higher.. what about the teachers that are not “Net Savvy” and spend 3 times as long looking for things on the Internet.. and I know there are a few teacher with dial-up still.. the internet does not work anymore on dial up.. So I say free laptops, broadband, wi-fi and iPhones for all teachers… least that way you can spend time on the couch with your family.

  3. Hey that is a picture of me right now!! On the computer doing school stuff, researching a ICT PD program for next year and totally ignoring my kids 2 and 7 on the school holidays. I was talking with my husband the other and wondering what my school would do if I got rid of the internet at home?? They rely heavily on me having it at home and using it for work………would they pay for me to have it at home? I had to buy my own laptop as Head of ICT. What would they do if I refused to spend my money on one or refused to use my personal computer for work??? Governemnts and schools have a long way to go in recognizing the true workload and expenses of teachers.

  4. thanks Lisa, the more comments on this important issue the better. I do wonder about the home internet too. Given the emails I get at night that are work related and need solutions the following day. Excellent point.

  5. I am not a clasroom teacher, but have students working online, and my personal learning network (which directly benefits my govt education employer) is also all online. I also work with a team of teachers working with a large number of students online, and sometimes have to pick up some of that load due to illness and leave.

    I believe that if I have students working online, it is my duty of care to maintain contact with those students. This means that I run a large broadband account at home.

    However, as part of my job I also have to travel a lot. This makes home broadband inaccessible, so I also run a wireless broadband account.

    This is a very large monthly imposte, but the only employer reaction has been concern that their network security may be compromised by me being stupid enough to use the wireless access while connected to said network.

    Enough said.

  6. I have reflected in the past about how to legitimise our online work as teachers.

    Along with many others, I read blogs, participate in online conferences, tweet, listen to podcasts, undertake self-directed learning with web2.0 tools, prepare materials for my students, and invest time and money above and beyond my job requirements on other people’s children.

    I don’t have children of my own, and have wondered if my online time would be diminished if I did. But I see many in my network balancing the lot. I also see many in my rl network not doing it at all, not doing anything beyond the 2 after school meetings/week.

    In the DET ‘ePotential’ surveys, I come out as ‘Innovative’ or ‘Transformative’ in the various measures that the survey covers, yet my colleagues are derisive about the amount of time that I spend ‘playing’ on the Internet. The professional value of PLNs is NOT recognised, except by the people in them.

    I receive so much professional knowledge from my network that I want to promote it as a legitimate form of PD, so much so that I have elected to present at conferences on the topic.

    I think that Judy is on the right track when she suggest advocacy, and Dean, I agree that we need a tracking tool. I track all of my ‘real’ PD as part of my teacher registration requirements, surely we can develop a tool that reflects the way that our learning has moved beyond the framework (again, why WE have to be the ones developing it is problematic).

    What about an Excel spreadsheet, with formulas that calculate hours based on number of blog posts read (easy with a reader), podcasts listened to, online meetings engaged in, etc. Who’s an Excel wiz that can develop this, and how can we promote it within Oz/NZ educators to ensure that it has some credibility?

    On money, my tax return this year included several thousands of dollars of personal technology purchases to support my teaching. Sure, I gain personally from these purchases (as I do from professional learning), but the primary motivation is to support my work.

    Yet as you say, Dean, we’re treated like a business, taxation-wise, yet hardly stand to gain as much. Because I purchased a personal laptop for school use I am entitled to no technical support, beyond the installation of a wireless certificate to connect to the school network. This has meant more self directed learning to learn a new operating system and troubleshoot.

    I could have waited another 18 months for a DET supplied iBook (which, correct me if I am wrong, is a primarily home-user-entry-level machine), but I felt that I could not execute my professional duties effectively with what I had.

    Sorry for the extensive response, perhaps I should have blogged it…

  7. No, don’t be sorry, I think that it’s really important for people to say what is actually happening. If we don’t reflect and share these things, then the work that teacher are doing will remain selectively invisible.

    I think most systems reference for ‘pay scales’ is time served and not ‘current relevance’or activity. It is disgusting that after doing all you have, that you are then not supported in using a laptop that you are using for the benefit of the school community.

    Thanks for taking the time to write back.

Comments are closed.