[Offtopic] Revisited: Points to consider including in VITReview Response

Stephen Digby digby.stephen.p at edumail.vic.gov.au
Mon Oct 8 14:17:47 EST 2007

Thanks Jim.

I think the DET agenda here (http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/09/14/1189276985702.html) if NOT a sincere desire to give
teachers more control (and consequent responsibility) for their work practices.
It relates more to creating a mind set where a worker can be conned into accepting responsibility for aspects of their job over
which they have NO control.
E.g. nurses industrially agree to certain staffing ratios based on current levels of support.  Hospital admins then remove the
support to save money.  Nurses (and doctors) feel responsible to fill the gap regardless of the unreasonableness of the load.
E.g. call centre workers are rated on customer complaint resolution ratios and are thus encouraged to find ways of diverting
customer complaints from being passed up the chain.  If they pass valid complaints up the chain they are considered o be less
effective at their job (or resolving them) and thus may be sacked.  i.e. they are required to accept responsibility for, and fix
problems over which they have no control.
Teachers are being asked to implement curriculum and administration systems that many KNOW are poorly designed and inherently more
time consuming YET the employer wants us to feel that we have the responsibility to make them work whatever it takes.

A "real" professional teacher would be able to :
- reject students (children of clients) where they felt that they were unable to help (as used to happen in the past)
- select and implement curricula that met the goals of the client (parent) 
- use (or not use) support systems available within a school as they see fit
- negotiate all aspects of work practices and remuneration individually with the employer
- etc.

Can't see much of this happening with teachers.....

PS: some will object that the child is our client.  The transparent fallacy of this statement is easily seen in almost any
interaction with students.  Would you like to sit down ?  No ? O.K. Would you like to do this work ?  No ? OK. Can I suggest that
you accept this criteria for passing as part of our contract ?  No ?  OK.  I would advise that this approach is best for you.  No ?
The client is the parent (1) and the funding system (2).  Both of these "know" what is best for the student and contract teachers to
implement it.  Yes, it IS a helpful strategy (in the classroom and out of it !) to build "referred power" (see
http://ezinearticles.com/?Release-Your-Power-in-Negotiations&id=690439) by giving limited choice opportunities.  But this is not the
same choice that the real client has i.e. accepting or rejecting ANY aspect of advice, or even dispensing with the services of the
teacher !

Stephen Digby, Learning Technology Manager
mailto: admin at cheltsec.vic.edu.au 
Cheltenham Secondary College www.cheltsec.vic.edu.au
Ph: 613 955 55 955  Fx: 9555 8617 Mb: 0431-701-028
"The true character of liberty is independence, maintained by force."  Voltaire

-----Original Message-----
From: offtopic-bounces at edulists.com.au [mailto:offtopic-bounces at edulists.com.au] On Behalf Of Jim Maunder
Sent: Monday, 8 October 2007 9:43 AM
To: Information Technology Teachers' Offtopic Mailing List
Subject: RE: [Offtopic] Revisited: Points to consider including in VITReview Response

At 12:39 PM 27/08/2007, you wrote:
>Professionals generally negotiate the terms of their contract with 
>clients (even the "oldest profession" !).
>Modern employment practice (e.g. AWA) is working towards the mandating 
>of all employment conditions by the employer with only the very scarce 
>or very highly valued labour able to undertake any real negotiation.
>Teachers have little chance of becoming a profession in this real sense.
>We will remain skilled workers - a valued trade.

Our VIEU rep sent us this link - it reminded me of this earlier discussion quoted in part above.

>To view the entire article, click on: 


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Jim Maunder
Ruyton Girls School
Melbourne, Australia

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