This experienced teacher is fed up and has let loose – do you agree with her? 145



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After 30 years in the classroom, Queensland teacher Kathy Margolis has become so disenchanted by modern education that she has resigned and expressed her fears in a candid Letter To The Editor.

“Education in Australian schools is in crisis and someone has to listen to those who are game enough to speak up”, Kathy wrote in The Courier Mail. “This year, after much thought, I have decided to look for another job”.

Kathy said this decision was “not easy for a woman in her 50s” but, “I cannot continue to do a job that requires me to do what is fundamentally against my philosophy of how it should be done”.

The experienced educator said that she loves kids and is passionate about learning, but that her job has become more regulated than ever before. “Teachers have very little professional autonomy”, she claimed.

“We are told what to do, how to do it and when it has to be done by. Never have I experienced a time in my profession where teachers are this stressed and in real fear for the mental health of not only themselves, but the children that they teach”.

According to Kathy, the growing number of children with behavioural problems also takes a toll on teachers. “Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social”, she said.

“Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care”.

Kathy also believes that modern education pushes kids too far, too fast. “The curriculum is so overcrowded”, Kathy explained, “I fear those little ones who are not ready are going to be left behind”.

“Prep teachers who used to run lovely play based programs (which might I add work beautifully) are teaching children sight words and how to read and write alongside subjects like history and geography”.

She also let loose at the amount of assignments, exams and assessments that children undergo. Kathy believes regular testing has taken the joy and discovery out of learning today.

“In my teaching career I have never seen so many children suffering from stress and anxiety. It saddens me greatly. Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard”.

“So why am I writing this? I’m writing this because teachers need to speak up but we are often afraid of retribution. We need to claim back our profession but we are powerless”.

“I write this in the hope that we can spark a public discussion”, Kathy concludes.

Read Kathy’s entire letter for yourself below. Do you agree with her powerful stance? Is modern education flawed? What happened to the purity of learning? Were you ever a teacher, and what was the classroom like for you?

To all my teaching buddies and all my friends with school age kids, I’ve written a letter on your behalf to the editor…

Posted by Kathy Margolis on Monday, February 1, 2016

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  1. Totally agree with everything this lady has said. I feel that parents must share some of the blame. My children are 24 and 26 this year. One on 12th Feb and one on 6th April. I saw a lot of parents criticise the teachers for not ‘extending’ their children. There were even children who started year 1 who could already write. The only problem was that the parents taught them wrong. So they had to unlearn and then learn the proper way. Have seen parents arguing with teachers about the curriculum and that teachers teaching method. There was 1 psycho parent who had a standing appointment with the teacher for 4pm every afternoon to go over the day’s work and identify where her child went wrong. Trust me I have seen it all. I feel sorry for teachers and I would strongly have advised my children not to take up the profession. It is a thankless job. The crazy thing is that the children who started out year 1 reading and writing did not finish ahead of the children who started from scratch. So much pressure on young children. Add to this the pressures from the education department and I can understand this lady leaving the profession.

  2. I too am an experienced teacher- now retired. She is absolutely right about everything. Congratulations for speaking out Kathy!

  3. I’m a secondary school teacher who took early retirement due to these issues. We are a society entirely preoccupied with outcomes, not learning.

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  4. PS This article left out the part on teachers’ working hours in the original letter. ( Just in case some readers want bring up the old “What about all the holidays?” argument.)

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    • Of course all those holidays teachers get…ha but you don’t see teachers taking marking home to do over the weekend or staying back till after 6pm preparing lessons for the next day or coming in around 7am preparing lessons. Seriously I have a lot of sympathy for teachers these days.

  5. Congratulations for your letter and speaking up regarding education of our young children today and who will be the future of Australia. A relative gave up teaching at the age of 50 because they were so disillusioned regarding the education system and what was required from teachers who mostly were dedicated to their job. I would also like to write both of his parents were school teachers, an uncle, and two of his children are and were teachers. Dedicated YES, Disillusioned YES. Come on the government of this great country PULL YOUR FINGER OUT AND STOP WASTING TIME AND MONEY ILL SPENT ON HAVING ELECTIONS EVERY 5 MINUTES.

  6. Absolutely in agreeance with Kathy 100%

  7. I was a teacher too! I totally agree with Kathy. Classrooms have become pressure cookers with everyone under enormous strain. I had 54 pupils in my first grade two, no aide or computers or even a photocopier! But we had fun. We learned to read and write and do maths that would prepare us for every day life. I could make modern education better for every one if. We could get rid of the academic idiots that are controlling education now.

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  8. A lot of the fault lies with the parents who themselves are not capable of stricter discepline!

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