June 02, 2014

Teaching for 30 Years

by Douglas Tait

Dear Sir,

As a representative of the people of Queensland and current minister in the Queensland government I call on you to justify the actions of your department in attempting to negotiate working conditions that devalue the professional status of my role as a teacher.

I have been teaching for over thirty three years. I have numerous teaching qualifications. I am a registered teacher with the Queensland College of Teachers. I have taught overseas in London, in France and in French Polynesia.

I am qualified to teach in primary schools, adult literacy and numeracy and English as a Second Language. I have worked in special needs classes for the deaf, in remote indigenous communities, in Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, in private schools and training organisations, in universities and language schools.

I am a qualified, skilled and proven teacher. I have made a difference to thousands of people by guiding them in their learning experiences. Teaching is about empowering people and enhancing their value in society. Very few people achieve their greater potential without the help of teachers.

I am currently working as a teacher in a Queensland TAFE Institute. I deliver a programme of education that is funded by federal government money. This funding contributes substantial revenue to the Institute. The state budget is healthier for it. The human resources requirements for this programme specifically demand teaching qualifications and post graduate qualifications as well as minimum experience. A simple 'trainer' would not be compliant with the contract requirements.

I would like you to confirm for me that you are aware of the content of the department's offer to the teaching staff of TAFE Queensland and that you believe it is fair and justifiable to propose conditions that do not match the role of a teacher nor value the work done by teachers. My peers in schools and universities are not required to be present in front of a class for 36 hours in a week. They are not required to be available for classes for 47 weeks in a year. They are not called upon to be at work from six in the morning until ten at night.

If your department succeeds in implementing the terms of the agreement as described in recent offers, I believe the high standards and quality of the learning in our Queensland TAFE Institutes will be lost. Teacher burnout and demoralisation are certain.

Please reassure me that the current Queensland government respects the professional status of teachers no matter where they are employed to teach. Please confirm that you are aware of the demeaning offer being made by your department to TAFE teachers. Please offer me some hope that the value of the teaching done in Queensland TAFE Institutes will be appropriately recognised.

Thank you for your attention to my correspondence

Yours sincerely,

Douglas Tait