|Posted on October 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM||comments (0)|
Neil Hall : http://www.surgeon-poet.com/book.html
I met Neil Hall at the Writers' Dinner on the first evening of the Festival.
Neil won the 2012 Ubud Writers & Readers International Festival Slam Poetry Content.
Neil Hall is an American eye surgeon with really amazing qualifications.
He completed his undergraduate degree at Cornell University where he achieved All Ivy, All East Coast, and All American Honours.
He Co-Captained The Cornell Track and Field Team and was named Cornell's Athlete of the Year.
He was Gold Medalist in the '78 U.S. National Sport Festival Mini Olympics, was inducted into the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame and became an Inductee, Cornell University Quill and Dagger Senior Honorary Society.
He earned his medical degree at Michigan State University and his opthalmology surgical subspeciality at Harvard.
He is now a physician and surgeon in private practice.
Neil Hall is black.
He became disillusioned when he experienced discrimination even after making the effort to get such outstanding qualifications.
Neil Hall says that much of what we are taught is a lie.
He was taught that education was the key.
But he is still judged by the colour of his skin.
Neil Hall writes about the mass opiate of re-assurance, the dangers of a little bit of freedom (Neil says that a little bit of freedom is worse than the denial of freedom), a system that does not allow people with a good heart to thrive, the powers-that-be who put you in a position of no power, etc.
Neil Hall's message resonated with me.
I had also expected education to make a difference - but in Far North Queensland I found that my education was considered to be 'proof' that I was 'an academic' and not a 'real teacher'.
And then I discovered that non-Labor, non-lesbian, middle-class white English women who were not 'somebody's daughter' were very vulnerable to workplace abuse in Queensland.
|Posted on June 14, 2012 at 3:35 PM||comments (1)|
I have just arrived home from five weeks holidaying in France and England.
On June 3 I may have seen the Queen sail past Battersea Park.
I am pretty sure I saw a white blob, anyway.
Now I am busy catching up with the news and my emails.
While I was away one or two people helped me out by keeping me up to date with the news here in Queensland.
I didn't ask them to do this - they just did it 'off their own bat'.
I'd like to thank them most sincerely - it was a big help.
During the next few weeks I will be working on a submission to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.
Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten announced this inquiry just twelve days after the Department and the CMC found all of the Burpengary allegations had been substatiated.
This suggests to me that Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten may think that Workplace Bullying is an issue in Queensland - and that it may have influenced the outcome of the Queensland election.
And that it might impact on them.
Boy, what a difference a change of government in Queensland has made.
Workplace Bullying has become a political issue at last.
|Posted on November 11, 2011 at 12:50 AM||comments (3)|
Under ACT law, workers who recklessly fail to prevent behaviour that causes serious harm to another can be fined $220,000 and jailed for seven years. Just imagine what a difference it would make to the lives of Queensland teachers if this was law and enforced in Queensland. At the moment bully principals seem to be supported and protected by other administrators. A law like this would pressure them to put a stop to the bullying. Of course the law would need to be enforced - and that would take leadership. Could we lobby local members in the run-up to the state election? Greens push for bullying watchdog, Markus Mannheim, public service reporter, 7 November 2011 : http/www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/greens-push-for-bullying-watchdog/2348676.aspx
Under ACT law, workers who recklessly fail to prevent behaviour that causes serious harm to another can be fined $220,000 and jailed for seven years.
Just imagine what a difference it would make to the lives of Queensland teachers if this was law and enforced in Queensland.
At the moment bully principals seem to be supported and protected by other administrators.
A law like this would pressure them to put a stop to the bullying.
Of course the law would need to be enforced - and that would take leadership.
Could we lobby local members in the run-up to the state election?
Greens push for bullying watchdog, Markus Mannheim, public service reporter, 7 November 2011 : http/www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/greens-push-for-bullying-watchdog/2348676.aspx
|Posted on April 21, 2011 at 10:04 PM||comments (2)|
When I was in Brisbane last November I met a few of the teachers who have been in contact with me through this website.
I was worried about confidentiality - teachers tell me that they are regularly warned at staff meetings that they must not speak to the media - so I arranged to meet the teachers individually.
But, as it happened, two teachers were chatting and realised that they had both 'set up' meetings with me, and they arranged to have a joint meeting. Then another teacher was also invited.
Before this group meeting I had my doubts - but actually it was amazingly good.
Two of us discovered that we had worked with the same dysfunctional principal, just a few years apart!
Others swapped ideas on how to make a living after you have been driven out of teaching.
It was a wonderful experience.
Then the next day I met a man who told me that he had had to fight off two other men who also wanted to come along to talk about workplace bullying at their school.
So I have been wondering ever since how I could set up a bigger meeting in Brisbane for teachers.
A time when they could talk safely about what is going on at their schools.
And then I saw this video -
A group of American teachers got together and talked about their jobs - but with bags over their heads!
Now wouldn't that be amazing!
I will let you know when I will next be in Brisbane.
Maybe we can organise a "Bag Lady Teachers" meeting in Brisbane.
Do you think the press should be invited?
|Posted on May 27, 2010 at 7:32 PM||comments (1)|
Women in Iran are treated bady.
We all know that.
We often read about it in our newspapers.
And we will soon see a film about it - The Stoning of Soroya M.
So we women in Australia are all fully aware that women in these other countries are treated badly.
And that we are lucky to live in Australia.
Because women in Iran can be falsely accused of adultery.
An Iranian man may make a false allegations against his wife because he wants to get rid of her so that he can marry a younger woman
An Iranian man may blackmail the local mullah.
Iranian women are sentenced to death by stoning.
In Iran "Adultery" can simply mean smiling at another man.
Iranian women beg "don't kill me", "don't kill me" as they are buried in holes up to their neck.
And then stoned to death.
The Koran makes no mention of stoning but it has become part of Sharia law in some islamic countries.
So, Queensland women classroom teachers, watch The Stoning of Soroya M and reflect on how fortunate you are to be living and working in a civilised country.
|Posted on April 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM||comments (0)|
Tonight I phoned a male teacher who had contacted me through the website.
Once again I found myself speaking with an intelligent, rational male teacher who had been driven out of work.
In about 2004 I was shown some unpublished research that suggested that male secondary teachers felt safest at work.
Female secondary teachers felt less safe than male secondary teachers, but still felt pretty safe.
Male primary teachers felt reasonably safe.
But female primary teachers felt very much at risk of workplace abuse.
These findings seemed to be logical at the time.
But nowadays I am often contacted by male secondary teachers, particulary men teaching maths, science or computing - areas in which there is supposed to be a shortage of teachers.
These male teachers describe to me a long chain of events in which they say that they tried to do the "right thing" - what seemed to them to be the logical and rational thing - and yet they find that have been driven into ill health and out of work.
Other groups that I feel may be at particular risk of workplace abuse are -
Because they have so little experience of corruption.
And because they take the Education Department inservices seriously.
Aussie teachers seem to know that the in-services are purely ceremonial.
Aussie teachers seem to know the real policies.
I remember when I first began teaching in Queensland, I worked with a teacher who was always advising me to "go with the flow" and "don't rock the boat".
Now I realise that these are the real official policies.
These teachers seem to be very much at risk of false allegations.
Or of being atacked by a child, injured and retired on the grounds of ill health into a life of poverty.
1. He urges Queensland classroom teachers to take complaints about workplace abuse to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission ( QIRC ).
He found that the QTU, the CMC and the Ombudsman would not help him.
But he feels that the QIRC is "outside the system".
He feels that the QIRC commissioners have integrity.
2. He advises that teachers who are outside Brisbane can access no-win-no-fee solicitors in Brisbane by phone.
He has done that himself and he found it easy.
|Posted on November 17, 2009 at 7:37 PM||comments (0)|
The Australian Education Union's 2008 survey of new teachers ranks student misbehaviour before concerns about pay and class sizes, and second to workload as the chief source of concern.
Secondary teachers rank it as their No. 1 concern at 71.4 per cent.
Primary teachers rank it second at 66.1 per cent.
It is interesting to note the similarity between this AEU research result and The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles results.
Surely Education Departments must have a duty of care - to teachers who want to teach and to students who want to learn - to deal more effectively with disruptive students?
When I was in Bali recently, I noticed that many housewives were producing wonderful little items for sale to tourists - interesting headbands, hand-made dolls and toys, children's clothes, etc.
The people of Bali achieve so much because there is no employment benefit and they need to work really hard to make money.
And the people of Bali really value education.
When you take away the need to work, you take away the need to learn.
And children lose interest in school.
Maybe we should consider providing unemployed people with free accommodation, shopping tokens for fruit, vegetables, basic food and basic necessities, transport tokens and free health care.
But take away their power to choose to spend taxpayers' money on junk food, smoking, gambling, drinking, etc.
This would re-establish the relationship between work, money and freedom of choice.
And children might become more interested in learning.
|Posted on October 14, 2009 at 10:14 AM||comments (1)|
I have just arrived home from a Writers' conference in Ubud, Bali. The conference began with a tribute to the late WS Rendra, an Indonesian performance poet. It was an amazing and very memorable ceremony in the Pura Dalem Ubud - the Temple of the Dead. Imagine a long, winding entrance to the temple, a wide stairway lit by candles, and then hundreds of people sitting around the magnificent entrance gates to the Pura Dalem.
The Indonesians do performance poetry so well. WS Rendra protested about social injustice and during the ceremony we listened to a tape recording of him speaking to a crowd of people in a cafe. What struck me was the audience - they were listening carefully and cheering, yelling, clapping his words of protest. We do not seem to have that level of public engagement in protest in Australia.
But as I type this blog I will imagine a crowd of abused teachers all listening and cheering, yelling, howling their support for my words of protest.
Interesting points made by writers at the conference included :
(A western writer made this statement. It seemed odd to me. But maybe the political control of funding grants, awards, etc. in Australia discourages writers from criticising a certain political party.)
When I was younger, I believed that history concerned facts. But now I realise that what we call "history" may actually be an entirely falsified version of what was really "going on". We who know what is going on need to write it down. We need to battle against the falsification of the official histories.
How often do you have doubts about the people who are given special awards?
Have you noticed that people seem to be given special awards to distract public attention away from bad things that they have done?
These horrible people are then held up as role models for us to follow.
A frog fell into a well - think Education Queensland - and the frog thought that the bottom of the well was the whole world. The frog thought that it knew everything, and believed itself to be a pretty smart frog. But to the people who were standing outside the well looking down on the frog, the frog seemed like a pretty sad character with very limited experience of the world.
Would you say that there is doubt and reason in Education Queensland?
Or just one "correct" thought?
There were some bloggers at the conference and there was a session on The New Frontier - Blogging and Dissent :
Changing the subject slightly, thank you to those teachers who bogged while I was away. I was reading your comments with interest while I was in Ubud!
I was contacted by a few teachers (and one parent) while I was away. Today I phoned one of those people - a male teacher - and had a chat.
He gave me permission to share this with you:
He is a 22-year veteran teacher who moved to Queensland and applied for work.
For eight years he took contracts while he waited for a permanent teaching job.
He noticed that whenever he tried to behave in what he believed to be a normal professional manner - for example, by sending poorly behaved children to the office in accordance with the school behaviour management program - his teaching contract was either immediately terminated or not renewed.
And finally he told me about his last school -
"A kid hit me and I thought, 'I know what's going to happen' "
And it did.
|Posted on August 26, 2009 at 11:49 AM||comments (9)|
3000 pages of The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles have now been read.
If you have found this website you are probably -
How can I be reasonably sure of this?
The following stats are based on the last 919 pages, read between 22 July - 27 August, 2009 -
These are the only two pages that are linked to other websites - to the best of my knowledge - so they act as a filter to "weed out" people with no real interest in the working conditions of Queensland teachers.
If you accept that people would want to read about issues that are of concern to them, then the number of times that a page has been read would seem to be an indication of the level of teacher concern about that issue.
Which seems to suggest that classroom behaviour problems, workplace bullying and being sent out to work in the remote areas of Queensland are of greater concern to Queensland teachers than their low pay.
(And if you consider the high profile of pay issues at the moment, you may wonder if pay would normally be of such concern to classroom teachers.)
The last three pages were not on the website for the full period, so they may actually be of greater concern than the results indicate -
Obviously I have made a few assumptions here, but I think these results are interesting.
I would welcome comments on the conclusions that I have drawn from the stats.
|Posted on April 16, 2009 at 12:41 AM||comments (2)|
The story told by the young male teacher -
is interesting for so many reasons.
I had read unpublished research that suggested that women primary school teachers felt the most exposed to workplace abuse.
And that male secondary teachers felt safest at work.
But it seems that older women teachers are not the only ones being driven out of work.
My own guess would be that this young male teacher may have replaced a popular contract teacher mid-term - always a tricky situation.
And he had the deputy-principal's child in his class - another very tricky situation.
So it would seem that the risk factors for teachers could be-
But, of course, what is most amazing about this young teacher's story is the way that the abuse prompted him to move to London and to a much more interesting life.
If this teacher had not been driven out of work, he would probably have been "rewarded" with a very remote posting for several years.
London looks like a good option.