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Workshop 7

 Learning about these challenges is about preparing us, not
scaring us.
 Teaching is & always has been very difficult, but immensely
rewarding.
 Challenge #1 = Won’t always be held in the highest regard;
o People will question your expertise unlike any other
profession
 Challenge #2 = Teaching is work;
o Don’t be trapped by the Hollywood myth of teachers
o First & foremost you are doing a job and are restricted
by realities
 Challenge #3 = Teachers can feel alone or unprepared
o Lots of support exists – colleagues/help etc – but I have
to use it
 Challenge #4 = A changing policy environment
o Educating was administered by educators, but now (’71)
minister
o Federal government is now also squeezing out the
states role
o Result is more regulation (good) and standardised
testing (bad)
 Challenge #5 = Geography
o Australia and WA especially has some of the most
remote people
o Independent of where you live, you will need to be
educated
 Challenge #6 = Conflicting demands
o Teachers are cast in the roles of; disciplinarian, carer,
academic,

social

worker,

mediator,

health

carer,

rsearcher & learner
o Borders on impossible to balance these roles, which to
prioritise?
 Challenge #7 =
o Teaching used to be linear, we had a textbook and so
did students
o Information & Communication Technology (ICT) came
along and suddenly everyone has access to everything
at their finger tips
o Teachers are now expected/required to be experts in ICT
 Challenge #8 = Student social, physical & emotional health &
wellbeing
o Obesity and depression are rising, how will we combat
this?

 Challenge #9 = Increasing student diversity
o
Increasing numbers of these student

will

need

accommodating
 Challenge #10 = The teaching workforce
o Teachers are getting older while student numbers keep
growing
 Challenge #11 = the workplace
o
Expectations/demands rising while students stay out
year 12
 Challenge #12 = Expectations of the student-teacher
 Challenge #13 = Resilience
o Burnout/resign rate rising & opinion of teachers
declining

I will continue on the strand of reflection I’ve been teasing since I
changed my attitude and that’s the ingrained ‘anti-math’ attitude of
many people and my fears of turning math lessons into calculator
operation training sessions. I see these as the challenges that will
inform me most in my early career, and while the larger challenges
discussed in the lecture and readings are significant; they are a
concern for experienced and practised teacher Tim, not graduate
teacher Tim. Hopefully the final workshop can draw these strands
together and leave me walking away feeling as ready as I can be for
Monday. I’m optimistic though!
Another reflection I want to make quickly, prior to the last workshop,
is the use of language amongst us potential teachers. We will talk at
a level commensurate with the average and I’ve noticed in others,
and then myself as a result, increased use of language that could be
unacceptable in a school setting. We have to be very careful to
always present the best practice to students, meaning language
that isn’t even close to questionable. An easy way to set up a
negative prac is inadvertent, and then unacknowledged, use of
inappropriate language. Balancing the need to speak to our students
in language and terms they understand against the need to be
politically correct is in my view one of the largest challenges we will
face in the 21st century. Children are increasingly adopting language,
or even whole dialects, designed to restrict who can communicate
with them. How can we teach kids if we can’t communicate with
them?
The workshop was not what I expected, as the entirety of it was
consumed with putting on a performance piece on the challenges of
teaching in the 21st century. This put me right out of my comfort
zone, but we have such a strong collegiate atmosphere amongst us
fellow students that we powered through everyone’s concerns. All
the performances were unique and entertaining, but I struggled to
think what this meant to me. The idea wasn’t simply to entertain
and then it hit me; we were highlighting the absurdity of the
challenges that teachers face! We were demonstrating to each other
just how insane it is to dwell on the challenges themselves as a

barrier to rolling up our sleeves and getting to the task at hand –
teaching. All the performances were pitched at a comedic level, ours
included, and the unilateral response was certainly laughter. So
what am I ultimately taking away? If you don’t laugh you’ll cry! It
will never stop being hard, but it will never stop being rewarding
either. So when it all seems too hard and crazy, I’ll plaster a smile on
my face and bear it; it will be worth it.