Dear Parents and Carers,
Thank you for all your support and understanding over the year when we have had to split grades or cancel programs. We often have to make the difficult decision in the morning to cut programs to ensure that there is a teacher in each classroom. As you are probably aware from all the newspaper reports there is not only a shortage of relief teachers but also a global shortage of teachers.
Across Australia, including Victoria, there are real concerns
that there won’t be enough teachers for every classroom
for the start of 2023. At Melton West we have already
started the planning and recruiting process for 2023 to
ensure we have the best staff ready to go. However, the
effects of the global shortage are already being felt
across the state, and there are unprecedented levels
of staffing vacancies in learning areas such as Generalist
Primary, English, Maths and PE.
There are a few real problems that we are facing. One is that
young people are not choosing to enter the profession and
two - teachers are leaving the profession. And of course the question is why?
Australia’s teachers suffer from poor professional status. People outside the profession often do not truly understand or trust what teachers do in the classroom. Everyone has been to school, and therefore often assumes they understand what goes on in there, and it doesn’t seem that hard. You show up five days a week for six hours a day, talk for a while, and go home early. A lack of respect, problems with recruitment, poor pay (relative to other professions), high workload, conflicting demands and the effects of pandemic, have conspired to create a perfect storm in terms of the shortage of teachers.
A number of surveys, forums and studies have been conducted both in Australia and overseas and the findings are similar. Teachers are leaving the profession, citing poor professional status, unsustainable workloads and burnout as their primary reason, not pay.
Victorian public school teachers are dedicated professionals. They have a deep commitment to seeing children grow, learn and thrive. One of the great challenges currently being faced is the social issues that have been compounded by the significant disruptions to face-to-face learning in 2020 and 2021.
We should all be concerned that Australia’s classrooms are becoming more disrupted. The OECD school disciplinary climate currently ranks Australia 70 out of 77 countries when measuring the extent to which students miss learning opportunities due to disruptive behaviour in the classroom. Back in 2013, we scored at the international average on this metric.
As a parent you can help by supporting staff, trusting and respecting the Principal and the teacher. A recent survey found that 80 per cent of teachers say they have been subject to harassment in the past year and one in three principals have been exposed to physical violence from students. If parents and carers don’t respect and trust the teacher and Principal, their children won’t either. You’re the greatest role model for your children. Additionally, they learn from what you do. In many cases, when parents don’t agree with a Principal or teachers’ decisions, they take away the Principal or teachers’ credibility. Parents might even get aggressive and angry. It’s always better to make contact and clarify the situation in private.