NRL star’s wife slammed over comments against teachers

Phoebe Burgess, wife of NRL star Sam Burgess, ignited a firestorm of criticism when she weighed in on a recent

Phoebe Burgess, wife of NRL star Sam Burgess, ignited a firestorm of criticism when she weighed in on a recent decision by a high school in England to ban homework so that teachers can spend more time planning lessons, as she made her debut with social commentary on the Today Show.

In what appeared to be a smug judgement, the blonde beauty told the other Today Show panelists that the teachers are ‘lazy’ and declared that all teachers clock off work at 3pm.

“I’m actually old school education,” she said. “I think that there is a place for homework, in terms of you know, discipline, work ethic, cementing what they’ve learned for the day, independent learning.

“And my little sister’s a Latin teacher, and so much of the work she brings home to do at night… I think it’s plain lazy to say you don’t have time. You clock off at 3 p.m. You do have time.”

Her comments did not sit well with viewers, who wasted no time venting their outrage across social media.

Mrs Burgess was inundated with protests from teachers and their supporters, with some questioning her “contribution to society.”

Amid the backlash, Mrs Burgess has made a public apology on her Instagram account in a comment.

She pointed out that in the context of live television, it is easy to mess up – but claimed this was the worst response she had ever endured.

“I have minutes to form an opinion to generate discussion and never have I so badly been misinterpreted, or caused offence, with years of doing this.”

Read her full post below.

“Hey all,
Thanks to those of you took the time to express your frustrations and more so to those who took the time to engage in a conversation with me privately.
I am deeply upset, and embarrassed, that my poorly expressed point and, I accept,Ā flippant remark has lead you to believe I don’t hold the teaching profession in the highest regard.
This response is not to justify my comments but to hopefully clarify them in the genuine hope of silence not causing further offence.
With multiple teachers in my family, and you’re right, being about to start my own family, the short clip you saw was not an accurate or fair reflection of my true opinion of how damn hard teachers work (this true impression is from working with educators at the top of the education system myself and through said family).
In the short time I had to express myself, I was making or attempted to make a point about homework and the importance, in my opinion, of it when it comes to learning.
I am not an expert – agreed.
I have minutes to form an opinion to generate discussion and never have I so badly been misinterpreted, or caused offence, with years of doing this.
My point, and the topic being discussed, was simply about homework which after speaking to many teachers following this experience, is the cornerstone of learning. In my mind I thought I was in the corner of those teachers who do the extra work when the children leave at the end of the day (the dismal referral to “clocking off”) to ensure their students are taught to upmost.
Extra work which most agree is required by a tough job. My issue was with the reasons given in our referenced article to dismiss homework completely.
I accept your frustration, though I do not accept I am calling all, or any, teachers lazy.
I was referring to the topic in discussion not the work ethic of an entire community.
I’m going to learn and grow from this one!

Back to it @fluidformpilates @loveyourform šŸ’„ #Pilates

A post shared by PHOEBE BURGESS (@mrsphoebeburgess) on


Share your thoughts below.

  1. Pamela  

    Few teachers ‘prepare’ lessons or homework, as it is all available for download from the web!

    • Liddy  

      Are you a teacher Pamela? If so can you please send me a link for all the lessons and homework online? Please ensure that they are linked to the Australian Curriculum and differentiated to meet the ability, needs and learning styles of all the students in my class. I have 25 Prep to Year 4 students with a reading/writing ability ranging from below 5 year old level to 13+. They must also cover all learning areas of the curriculum: English; maths; science; history; geography; civics and citizenship; health and physical education; the arts – visual arts, dance, drama & music; technology; language other than English. They also need to ensure they meet the needs of those students in my class who speak a language other than English, the two autistic students, the hearing impaired student and the student who has experienced multiple trauma and is now in foster care. I look forward to receiving this information and I know my husband will be too. Now I’ll be able to come home from school earlier each day and spend time with him after dinner rather than preparing lessons and homework. You’re a life saver!

    • Deborah  

      Of course they do and they only work 9-3pm – NOT!!! You have no idea!!!

  2. Greg Hills  

    Teachers do not, as is the perception, clock off at 3.00pm. They spend the hours between 3 and 5 and then again after dinner at home, preparing lessons and correcting homework.
    I can see their point that homework is superfluous to a student’s education. That is not to say that senior students should not use home time to study for examinations- that is essential to get a good rating at HSC level in order to achieve their job expectations.
    However, the job of disciplining and teaching responsibility is that of the parent, not the teacher.
    Schools are not meant to be a cheap child care facility.
    Homework is not and never has been a useful tool of learning. Home study of what you have learnt at school is.
    The school day can be satisfactorily organised to provide students with all the knowledge they need for their education – all slotted into a school day curriculum, without the need for homework.

  3. I have never been a big fan of teachers even though my best man many years ago is now a deputy head.One school one of my boys went to had a teacher who at the sound of the bell was off out the door running to get the train home or work under his arm to do later.Many of us see teachers who have four weeks holiday on top of term holidays, that comes close to 3 months worth over a year, been very well looked after but are seeing poor results with our children.

    • Suzanne  

      Did you consider the teacher also had responsibilities at home? Children to attend to or other things. ‘Work under his arm to do later’ perhaps gives a hint of reasons for leaving – long journey home- children in daycare. Perhaps you could have asked him? Offered help? I gave up school teaching many years ago – the parents drove me crazy!!

    • Rose  

      And did you seewhat time that teacher arrived at the school in the morning? I am a teacher and have often seen some teachers leave as soon as the siren goes in the afternoon…but i also know that they actually arrived at 7 am, almost 2 hours before schools starts….so this man might have already put in a few hours as well as the work he is planning to do at home on the evening.

  4. Kerry Brain  

    Her comments are typical of those who have never known a teacher well, or seen the work that is done ‘out of hours’. My partner could not believe the amount of work which was brought home with me at night and on weekends. Comments such as these are typical of people who either don’t know what teachers do, or don’t want to know, or admit it.

  5. This is a debate as old as time. Being in education for over 30 years I learnt to say to those who scoffed at holidays (which by the way were often spent in planning) and hours of work (there are those who abuse the system – but most teachers work long hours) -” okay if you think we have it so good – why don’t you do it?” It is one of the most unenviable jobs and it has become more difficult with more behaviour problems. I absolutely loved teaching in the 60s. The children were respectful and the parents very supportive. I remember getting laryngitis very badly and was so distressed that I was letting my pupils down (I had 50 year 4’s my first year out of college).Many years layer as a consultant in the system – I was able to see the struggles that many teachers endure. Certainly some of them were not suited but there are many out there trying so hard to work in an ever more demanding system with little or no support.

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