January 19, 2011

The end of Initial Intensive

What a unbelievably intense time it’s been! 


Last night, we attended the closing ceremony where both the Federal and State Education Ministers spoke, as well as the Prime Minister of Australia!  Yes, I was a little star struck by “J Gil'”, and spoke to her for perhaps 2 minutes.  Despite whatever policies she has on other issues, I believe that her education policies, at least in supporting the TFA program, are definitely quite progressive. 


Wonder what new changes this new Liberal premier of Victoria will bring.  I had a look on the website and their platform for education seems to be to increase Victorian teachers wages.  Currently, we’re the second-lowest paid teachers in the country, apart from Tasmania, and this new state government wants to increase pay be significantly higher. 


Will raising pay improve teacher quality?  I used to think it was such a clear-cut answer – of course having well-paid teachers would make them “better”. 


But how do you define what better is?  Hattie (a world-renowned educational academic who I think is in some high up position at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education) thinks that regardless of what a teacher does, a student is going to learn anyway.  The importance thing is to measure what makes a teacher better or worse than just that average.  Is it class sizes?  Is it mentoring?  I wonder if he’s done any research into teacher pay.  Money is a great motivator, but it definitely shouldn’t be the main motivator.  Although given the current state of education, I doubt that the pay will ever feature as the biggest carrot to get into teaching.  Do you really want to attract people who are solely focussed on remuneration anyway?  I would argue no. 


Like most issues in education, there are two equally rational sides to the issue. 


Right now, it’s nearly 4am and it’s probably not the most appropriate time to be engaging to this analysis! 


We’ve had an incredible final two days.  I’ve been trying very, very hard to stay awake in classes, drank a lot of coffee, and now finally… it’s over.  I’m definitely a different person from when I first started this, dragging my heavy suitcase halfway across campus, exhausted already from not eating properly and having uprooted my life in two days to begin this. 


I’ve met such an amazing group of talented people…  It’s going to be exciting to see what happens this year.


We had a limbo competition and I won!  Guess all that yoga really paid off!Winking smile

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