Margolis was a primary school teacher in Brisbane for 30 years, but “after much thought” she decided to quit the profession, and she’s since penned a passionate letter about why she “cannot continue to do a job that requires me to do what is fundamentally against my philosophy of how it should be done.”
She continued her letter, raising much needed awareness for teachers and students who are reportedly being failed by the Australian government.
“Teachers have very little professional autonomy anymore. We are told what to do, how to do it and when it has to be done by,” she wrote. “Never have I experienced a time in my profession where teachers are this stressed and in real fear for the mental health of not only themselves but the children that they teach. The pressures are enormous.”
Margolis went on, explaining how much work teachers put in behind the scenes, yet despite the extra hours, “full-time teachers are paid 25 hours a week … In any other job that would be considered part time.”
She then shifted the focus from the teachers to the children and how they, too, are suffering.
“Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible, and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care,” she explained.
“The curriculum is so overcrowded. Prep teachers who used to run lovely play-based programs (which might I add work beautifully) are teaching children sight words and how to read and write alongside subjects like history and geography. As a teacher and a mother of 3 sons, this scares the proverbial out of me. We all know that boys this age need to be moving around doing things that interest them, not sitting at desks.”
“And what about the notion of readiness?” she continued. “I fear those little ones who are not ready are going to be left behind. And here’s the problem with our crowded curriculum. There is not enough time to consolidate the basics.”
She also explained how she has witnessed firsthand how so many children are “suffering from stress and anxiety” and how it has left her deeply saddened. Concluding her lengthy post, she said she is writing this open letter because teachers need to speak up, and they don’t for fear of retribution.
Margolis’ hopes were to create a public discussion, and she has certainly done that, as her post has been shared over 29,000 times and has been flooded with comments of support.
Fellow teacher Delappe Russell weighed in on the post …
And many mums agree, too.
People are clearly feeling inspired by the post, with many hoping it will create change.