And you are planning to spend several years of your life studying at university?
And you are planning to take on a huge HECS Debt?
- because you want to be a teacher.
- in Queensland.
In Queensland -
You will probably have to spend many years doing day-to-day 'casual' work.
But you probably won't be paid during the school holidays.
To get a permanent teaching job in Queensland you will probably have to spend several years living and working in a remote community.
And you will always work in fear.
UNE research suggests that workplace bullying is 'rife' in Queensland schools.
If you are intelligent, you will be at particular risk -
Intelligent teachers are regarded as "academics' and 'troublemakers' in Queensland.
You may be driven into ill health and out of work.
A secret file of falsified 'records' concerning you can be produced at any time -
- especially if you try to deal with the problems at your school.
Sharan Rai Photography www.sharanrai.com
I began this website in November 2007.
I wanted young people who were thinking about becoming teachers - and their parents - to understand what was really 'going on' in Queensland schools.
And I wanted the true history of Queensland schools to be recorded - because I had become aware that the official records could be extensively falsified.
Many Queensland teachers have contacted me over the past seven years.
Based on their stories, and on my own experience, I believe that Queensland classroom teachers need -
1) An base-line entry standard to the profession.
At the moment the word 'teacher' has no clear meaning in Australia. A teacher could be a person who did well at school themselves - or it could be somebody who failed miserably at school and is semi-literate but who was let into a university teaching course anyway.
It is really, really difficult working with fellow-teachers (and principals) who are poor thinkers, semi-literate, etc.
2) Teachers who are well-qualified need to be protected from workplace abuse.
There is a need for some research (possibly conducted by the Queensland College of Teachers) into the work experience of well-qualified teachers.
Sometimes Queensland principals seem to feel driven to 'prove' that they "can't tell the difference" between a well-qualified teacher and a poorly-qualified teacher.
Sadly, many people in the business of education in Queensland do not seem to value education.
If well-qualified teachers are wanted in Queensland, they must be protected from workplace abuse.
3) A notice at the entrance of each school in Queensland to say that abuse of school staff will not be tolerated.
4) CCTV in all Queensland school offices and classrooms.
CCTV would protect children from abuse.
It would protect teachers, particularly male teachers, from false allegations.
It would enable parents to see how their children and the other children in their child's classroom are behaving.
It would facilitate professional discussion.
It would enhance safety and security.
5) Their own union.
At the moment the QTU represents classroom teachers and principals, Regional Office staff, Head Office staff, etc. The union has a policy of not supporting members who are in conflict with other members. So every school day seems to be 'open season' for bullying and abusive Queensland school principals and senior public servants.
6) Access to unbiased legal advice.
7) A professional body to represent the interests of classroom teachers.
Principals not only have the union, they have several professional organizations.
The Chairmen of each of these organizations can speak to media on behalf of their members.
Even the chairmen of each local branch of these organizations can speak to media.
So the interests of principals are very well represented in the media.
But nobody speaks up for classroom teachers.
8) A better promotion system.
Before teachers are considered for promotion or for 'Acting' positions, they need to be required to pass a written exam to demonstrate that they are able to read and to comprehend Departmental policies - and that they are willing and able to apply those policies to their own behaviour.
And, having demonstrated an understanding of Departmental policies, they need to be held responsible when they are found to be in breach of those policies.
9) Protection from political pressure.
The Code of Conduct should clearly state that principals should not pressure teachers to join a particular political party, or a particular branch of a political party.
10) Free access to Departmental policies.
Some schools seem to restrict access to departmental policies or monitor teachers' internet usage.
So teachers worry that if they look at, for example, the Grievance policy, alarms bells may ring and a proactive 'payback' process may be put in place.
11) A Grievance form with a section that teachers can fill in themselves, explaining their Grievance in their own words.
It is too easy for a principal to record a false reason for a teacher's Grievance and then find their own falsified version of the teacher's Grievance 'unsubstantiated'.
12) An independent helpline.
Teachers all over Queensland are seeking advice on how to deal with difficult situations.
Many teachers are working in remote areas, far from their friends and family.
Teachers who become ill soon run out of money and can't afford legal or medical support.
A teachers' helpline could also collect independent data on the sorts of issues that are stressing classroom teachers.
This data could be used to prompt new policies.
13) Properly run investigations into their Grievances.
In 2001 I was advised by a QTU officer that he had never known a Queensland teacher's Grievance to be upheld.
Abusive Queensland principals must not be allowed to investigate themselves and 'find no evidence' of their own abusive behaviour.
This is like allowing a thief to investigate his own robbery.
14) Departmental investigations conducted by officers with no conflict of interest in the situation.
Every Investigation Report, "Briefing For the Minister", etc. produced by a Department of Education officer should be required to contain a statement that the Departmental officer understands the concept of 'Conflict of Interest' has no conflict of interest in this situation.
15) All documents used / consulted in creating CMC reports, Departmental reports, Briefings for the Minister, etc. to be listed in the body of the report, briefing, etc. and a copy stored with the report - and to be available under Right to Information.
It is too easy for a CMC officer or a departmental officer to claim that he or she 'cannot remember' why he made a particular finding and that he 'cannot remember' what documentary evidence his or her investigation finding was based upon.
This situation facilitates corruption.
It also facilitates abuse of the Right to Information process.
16) Properly conducted WorkCover investigations into problem workplaces.
17) Better classrooms - with proper sound-proof walls, air-conditioning, properly designed furniture, emergency alarm systems, decent pinboards, etc.
18) Better teaching materials.
Teachers can't work effectively if they have to use photocopying paper with holes in it, for example.
19) Evidence-based teaching methods.
Teachers should not be pressured to adopt teaching methods that are based on 'beliefs' or 'philosophies'.
20) A media strategy / posters / workbooks / readers to encourage parents and children to behave in a calm and co-operative manner at school.
21) Special Needs teachers and Workplace Health and Safety Officers need more support.
These teachers seem to be particularly vulnerable to injury and to false allegations.
"I don't think there is any doubt whistleblowers are being bullied. ...
This is a systemic problem ...
The agenda is about controlling the public relations rather than fixing the problems," says Queensland opposition education spokesman Dr Bruce Flegg.
Teachers bullied to hide problems in schools, Bruce Flegg, Member for Moggill : http://moggill.net/media-release/2728-teachers-bullied-to-hide-problems-in-schools.html
Teachers bullied to keep quiet on problem schools, AAP, 30 November, 2009 : http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/teachers-bullied-to-keep-quiet-on-problem-schools/story-e6frfku9-1225805396252
QLD : Teachers complain of bullying, Australian Teacher Magazine : http://www.ozteacher.com.au/html/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=441%3Aqld-teachers-complain-of-bullying&catid=24%3Aworkplace-issues&Itemid=1
Because Queensland teachers who try to discuss professional issues run the risk of being attacked and driven out of work.
Many years ago I read "a teacher's story" on Brian Martin's website http://www.bmartin.cc/dissent/documents/teacher.html .
This teacher's story really shocked me because it was so similar to my own, but it had happened five years before my own story had begun!
This teacher had tried to discuss a professional issue, a "Diminished Workplace Performance" attack had been launched on her - and she had been driven out of work!
What had been done to me was being done to other Queensland teachers!
It was "a departmental process" - a lazy Queensland public service way of avoiding dealing with the problems in Queensland schools.
Read more about what happens to women who whistleblow - or even just try to deal with problems in their workplace : http://www.whistleblowingwomen.com/whatwehavelearned.htm
Listen to Cynthia Kardell talk about what happens to public servants who try to disclose corruption : http://www.frequency.com/video/cynthia-kardell/4567642 Cynthia describes a process of slow, insidious torment that is designed to shut you up and even to drive you mad.
Read this Advice for Whistleblowers.
But you can find out what Queensland teachers really think about their working conditions, because - The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles
Robina's publications and media -
Robina Cosser , Fighting the good fight , An ABC OPEN short story, 25 February 2015
Several members of this website - and Robina herself - were quoted in Trent Dalton's Weekend Australian cover story "Class warfare" (July 19-20 2014) :
Robina's submission to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee's review of the Crime and Misconduct and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 can not be published.
The submission can only be read by searching for 'Robina Cosser' at the TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER of this Queensland Parliament House search page (ignore the PAGE NOT FOUND) : http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/global/search/
Robina was interviewed on Mornings with Steve Austin : Unspoken truths of the teaching profession, Steve Austin, Rebecca Armstrong, 612 ABC Brisbane, 29 November 2013 : http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2013/11/unspoken-truths-of-the-teaching-profession.html
Robina Cosser, The Waste in Our Schools, On Line Opinion, 27 November 2013
Robina Cosser, So you're thinking of Blowing the Whistle?, p10-11, The Whistle No 75, July 2013
Robina Cosser , "Why Cameron Dick's workplace bullying reference group will fail Queensland teachers - again" The Sunshine Coast Daily, 1 August 2011, and the Bullied Academics website, 18 August 2011
Robina appeared in the Today Tonight program Teachers Marching Out Friday 26 February 2010.
Robina Cosser , Dealing With a "Reformed Policy" , p.6-7, The Whistle, January 2010 .
In August 2012, The Teachers Are Blowing their Whistles was selected by the State Library of Queensland for inclusion in the PANDORA Archive, Australia's archive of 'websites of lasting significance'.
Inclusion in the PANDORA Archive will enable public access to this website in perpetuity.
Our stories will live on.
Our children will know the true history of Queensland.
The dysfunction and b-st-rdisation in Queensland schools rarely becomes public.
Queensland schools are better than the Queensland Police at 'covering up'.
We need more whistleblowers in Queensland schools.
Davo of Cairns, Reader's comment 22 of 68, Staffroom turns into war zone as Indooroopilly State High School calls in mediators, Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail : 26 November 2010.