Teaching and Workplace Stress LO28810

From: Alan Cotterell (acotrel@cnl.com.au)
Date: 07/09/02

I was talking to a retired teacher the other day. She commented that it
would only be under very extreme circumstances that she would ever set
foot in a classroom to teach again. Two people who worked for me as
Technical Assistants in laboratories expressed similar sentiments about
their experiences in Victorian High Schools.

Studies by Professor Michael Marmot of the London College of Surgeons
revealed that the most stressed British public servants were those at the
'bottom' of the hierachy, and the coronary heart disease and mental
illness were more common in this group than the supposedly 'more stressed'
executives. It is relatively well known that the major issues in stress
related illness are powerlessness and control.

The situation where a teacher cannot remove a troublemaker from his/her
class seems to be the ultimate in powerlessness. To make an issue of any
situation a teacher puts livelihood and career at risk.

It seems to me that workplace occupational health and safety is a joke
when teachers don't have control over their work situation.

The posts about the need for goals when learning pale into insignificance
when teachers are supposed to do the motivating.

I suggest a better solution would be to allow students to leave school at
age thirteen, provided they can pass a literacy and numeracy test of a
fairly high standard. I think most of those who could pass the test would
be interested in staying at school, those who couldn't pass the test would
make an effort. Anyone who really didn't want to be at school would have
the opportunity to leave.

I consider it is a complete waste of time trying to teach people who have
no interest in learning. When I taught at tertiary level I was appalled
to find these types still sitting in lecture theatres (usually forced to
be there by their parents), some of them were older than twenty years of

This really staggers me - I was married with children at twenty -three
years of age, and attending night school to try to get ahead.

Best Regards,
Alan Cotterell


"Alan Cotterell" <acotrel@cnl.com.au>

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