AEU NEWS v o l u m e 16 I i s s u e 8 I d e c e m b e r 2 010
The long road to EQUALITY
My School rebooted | The first year teacherâ€™s story | Election coverage AEU
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AEU Victorian Branch Branch president: Mary Bluett Branch secretary: Brian Henderson
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From December 20–22 and January 4–14 it will be open from 10am to 2pm. Normal office hours resume on Monday, January 17.
ENJOY THE BREAK!
Professional Voice OUT NOW
PV 8.1: THE NAPLAN DEBATE
The latest edition of Professional Voice features contributions from all the keynote speakers at July’s National Symposium on NAPLAN and the My School website. With essays by some of the foremost names in education, including Alan Reid, Brian Caldwell, Allan Luke and Margaret Wu, this issue sets the agenda for the Government’s review of national testing, league tables and the use and misuse of student data. PV is free to AEU members. To subscribe or to order your copy of PV 8.1, email email@example.com. ◆
Contents cover story
The long road to equality
Gay and lesbian issues have never had a higher profile, but schools still face a challenge in providing safe settings for all students — and teachers.
More questions than answers What will the Coalition do now it is in power? Nic Barnard looks for signs and sets out the challenges ahead.
Enter the first year
As student teachers prepare to start their careers, what can they expect? A new teacher reflects on the highs and lows of her first year in the job.
Contrary to claims that Julia Gillard’s NAPLAN staredown of teachers was her greatest hour, a rebooted My School shows just how isolated she is.
AEU News reports from the first green schools conference, and meets a new teacher dedicated to spreading sustainability at his primary school.
Green schools blossom
3 president’s report 4 letters 23 women’s focus 24 AEU training 25 on the phones
27 safety matters 28 classifieds 29 christina adams 30 culture 31 giveaways
editorial enquiries Nic Barnard tel (03) 9418 4841 fax (03) 9415 8975 email firstname.lastname@example.org
advertising enquiries Lyn Baird tel (03) 9418 4879 fax (03) 9415 8975 email email@example.com
Correction An article in the November AEU News, “Preschools under the radar”, incorrectly placed Sarah Court Kindergarten in Traralgon. The kindergarten in question is in Montrose. The error was made during production.
aeu news | december 2010
AEU News is produced by the AEU Publications Unit: editor Nic Barnard | designers Lyn Baird, Peter Lambropoulos, Kim Fleming journalists Rachel Power, Anna Kelsey-Sugg | editorial assistant Helen Prytherch PrintPost Approved: 349181/00616 ISSN: 1442—1321. Printed in Australia by Total Print on Re Art Matt 100% Recycled Paper. Free to AEU members. Subscription rate: $60 per annum. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the AEU News are those of the authors/members and are not necessarily the official policy of the AEU (Victorian Branch). Contents © AEU Victorian Branch. Contributed articles, photographs and illustrations are © their respective authors. No reproduction without permission.
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Questions to answer The new government must make clear where it stands on continuing Labor’s program to modernise every school in the state.
ICTORIA’S new state government has been sworn in and new ministers appointed. The AEU has written to Premier Ted Baillieu as well as relevant ministers Martin Dixon, Peter Hall, Wendy Lovell and Mary Wooldridge and sought meetings. As I write, some have been arranged and others are yet to be confirmed. We have many issues to raise with the ministers and premier. Minister for Education Martin Dixon While Mr Dixon has in the past told the AEU that a Baillieu Government would honour the Bracks/Brumby Government commitment to rebuild or modernise every government school within 10 years, no such policy announcement was made during the election campaign. This is a critical issue for school communities and the future of public education. It will be the number one issue on our agenda at that first meeting. We will also seek details of the implementation of pledges on primary welfare officers, primary maths and science specialists and language programs for all primary students. When it comes to secondary schools, the only Alan Cooper, Geoff Allen Stafffor Coalition election commitment was $5&million rural retention. standsRoad, in contrast to Labor’s Level 3/432This St Kilda Melbourne 3004 policies of $2000 student to fund a special Visit us atperwww.retirevic.com.au Year 9 program, $85m to create 110,000 new VET
in school places (an almost tenfold increase) and Minister for Community Services another $110m to build new VET facilities, $48.4m Mary Wooldridge to support students with disabilities and almost The big question for this minister, and the premier, $5m to support rural schools. is whether they will match the former government’s The Coalition had no policies in relation to commitment to any decision arising from the pay special settings and disability. equity case. There is much to discuss with our new minister. Federal funding review Minister for Skills and responsibility for the The federal funding review is a priority for the AEU. teaching profession Peter Hall It was launched by the then Federal Minister for TAFE policy was the Coalition’s strong point in Education, Julia Gillard, on April 15. It is the first education. This has much to do with new minister such comprehensive review since 1973. Peter Hall who was a strong advocate for a more For advocates of public education, this has inclusive TAFE system. created for the first time in a long while a sense of The reintroduction of concessions for health cautious optimism. Finally there is a possibility at PREFERRED PROVIDERS card holders for diplomas AEU and advanced diplomas least that a federal government will recognise the at $100 rather than $2000 is strongly welcomed. value of public education by matching a rhetoric of However, there is still more to be done and we social justice and opportunity for all with the funding look forward to dialogue with the new minister. to make those things happen. Many schools have already taken the opporMinister for Children and Early Childhood tunity to have their say. We want all schools to tell Development Wendy Lovell their stories of what they need to deliver for their The AEU met with Wendy Lovell when she was the students. Please make sure your school makes a shadow minister and we look forward to our first submission to this review. ◆ meeting with her as the minister. It must be acknowledged that early childhood did not feature in the Coalition’s platform. However, this Retirement Victoria is the of financial may be because ofAEU’s the preferred drive inprovider this area fromand theretirement planning services to members. Retirement Government. Victoria Pty Ltd is We an authorised AEU Vic branch president Federal will waitrepresentative and see. of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Lts AFSL 244252
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letters Letters from members are welcome. Send to: AEU News, PO Box 363, Abbotsford, 3067, fax (03) 9415 8975 or email email@example.com. Letters should be no more than 250 words and must supply name, workplace and contact details of the writer. Letters may be edited for space and clarity. Next deadline: 2 February, 2011
YMAP: Getting the big picture
HENEVER I complete PD provided by the AEU, I always think of a small child spending time at a friend’s house. There’s that mild shock when you discover that your friend’s family doesn’t eat the same ice cream that your family does. As a teacher, you get the same feeling when you discover that another school’s Where is disability? MONTH after month the AEU News arrives and having just read through the November issue I must again question the decreasing relevance that the AEU has in representing workers in the disability sector. I was extremely disappointed in your election special. There was not
aeu news | december 2010
operations are so different from your own. Talking with union members from other schools is always an eyeopening experience. Most PD for educators focuses on pedagogy whereas the Young Member Activist Program offers its participants the opportunity to examine the framework where our teaching takes place. It is true “big one mention of any of the issues facing your members working in the adult disability sector. The AEU appears to be hanging its hat on the outcome of the pay equity case whilst members continue to wait for resolution of any kind of agreement to be signed before it is once more out of date.
picture” stuff, a detailed examination of our working conditions, a study of the politics of leadership and a chance to investigate the realities of an education system that caters for all. During the one-week program, Shelly Benoit and I managed to attend leadership meetings including sessions with union and DEECD leaders. We participated in AEU Active and local agreement training, spent a whole day observing the AEU
council and visited Trades Hall to find out about climate change and the campaign for equal pay. We also managed to have long conversations with many AEU representatives who welcomed us and shared many stories about their experiences. The program was an immensely rewarding one that I would recommend to anybody with an active interest in the important role that the AEU has in our education system. — Luke Day, Koonung SC
I know members from the disability sector are very very small fry when it comes to the AEU but be aware: stay relevant or members will look to the other unions representing this sector. — Catherine Baker Radius Disability Services
Editor’s note: Apologies for the omission of disability in our election coverage — although this partly stems from the absence of policy from the parties for the sector. The AEU and AEU News take the issues facing disability members seriously.
Hall takes hot seat in new Government
Portfolio split between two ex-teachers but education has low priority in new government. Nic Barnard AEU News
HE AEU will serve its schools logs of claim on the new minister with responsibility for the teaching profession, Peter Hall, after the Baillieu Government split the schools education portfolio. Minister Hall, the Minister for Higher Education and Skills will be the senior minister in the education department, with education minister Martin Dixon as the other minister. As minister responsible for the teaching profession, he will oversee pre-service teacher education as well as ongoing teacher professional development. The change of government sees TAFE and skills return under the umbrella of the Department of Education (whatever its new name will be) — where preschools will also remain. The appointments see the key education portfolios remain in former teachers’ hands. Like their Labor predecessor Bronwyn Pike, both Hall and Dixon have served their time in the classroom. Hall is a former state secondary teacher and was a member of the VSTA, one of the AEU’s predecessors; he has proudly said that he took stopwork action whenever called out by his union. The Nationals MP has a particular interest in rural education. Dixon is a former Catholic primary principal. Hall will also be responsible for carrying out the pledge to bring back concession fees in TAFE and skills training. Health care and other concession card holders will pay $100 instead of the current $2000 fee for a diploma or advanced diploma.
Education barely flickered on the radar in the week following the shock change of government, on rating hardly a mention by ministers or media. Minister Dixon set out his priorities to AEU News as “increasing the number of welfare officers, cutting the red tape burden on teachers and principals, meeting our capital funding commitments and better servicing the needs of schools rather than managing them.” AEU branch president Mary Bluett welcomed Minister Hall to the role: “He certainly has a passion for education and training. He’s maintained that throughout his political career. “He’s been very supportive of our issues throughout the TAFE 4 All campaign.” The first item on the agenda of any AEU meeting with ministers will be to confirm their commitment to completing the Brumby Government’s school building program. “There is a lot of community nervousness awaiting that,” Ms Bluett said. But the AEU will also be pressing its Education for Everyone’s Needs agenda, in particular a focus on rebuilding confidence in public secondary education and supporting disadvantaged and disabled students. Both the log of claims and the AEU’s 2011 budget submission will land on ministers’ desks before Christmas. The no-show party AEU members were unable to quiz inner city Liberals about their education policies before the November 27 poll
— the party failed to attend the union’s election forum on November 18. Labor and Greens each sent three candidates, including Melbourne candidate Ms Pike. But despite invitations, Liberal candidates in Melbourne, Richmond, Northcote and Brunswick either declined the invite or simply failed to respond. The event heard Ms Pike defend her party’s record on education in the face of some tough questioning. The Greens spoke up for higher spending and an end to the reliance on school fetes and selling chocolates to prop up our schools. The most interesting revelation came from Ms Pike, who said she believed elite private schools should not receive taxpayer funds. “If we could unscramble the egg, I would much rather our funding system to be closer to the UK and Canada and Finland where elite private schools don’t get any public funding,” she said. Sadly, despite holding her seat, she can no longer put this view to the federal funding review with the full force of a Treasury Place address. ◆
Mary Bluett opens the AEU’s public education forum where the Liberals’ seats remained empty.
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Contract action pays off Nic Barnard AEU News
HOUSANDS of contract teachers have won ongoing positions under new rules introduced in the current Schools Agreement. The agreement shortened the qualifying period for contract teachers to become eligible for ongoing status, and tightened up rules on advertising fixed-term vacancies. Since it came into effect in mid-2008, 4000 contract teachers have become ongoing. Dozens of wrongly-advertised positions are picked up each week in AEU monitoring of Recruitment Online, leading to many being withdrawn. The union trawls every new position posted on ROL, and raises potential cases with the Education Department. The union also looks at advertisements for ongoing positions to check whether any contract staff at the school could be eligible for translation. “We’re pulling up some of the
really clear breaches of the contract system,” said James Rankin, primary sector deputy vice president. “Over the past couple of years, every school will have had a call from the department to ask them why they’re advertising a position in a particular way.” But he warned that sub-branches still needed to be vigilant, and report any contract positions they thought had been advertised inappropriately. There are only three reasons a contract position can be offered: to backfill leave; to fill a position created through dedicated, fixed-term funding; or in cases of potential excess. A contract teacher can be translated if they have worked more than a year in two or more contract positions. ES contracts and eduPay ES staff who move between contracts over summer should make sure they do not miss out on pay in January under the new eduPay payroll system.
Vale Rosanne McGuire
EU colleagues have paid tribute to long-serving Horsham member Rosanne McGuire, who died aged 63 on October 31 after an illness. A union member for over 30 years, she held numerous elected positions at school and regional level. An English and humanities teacher and student welfare coordinator, she began her career in Melbourne but taught for almost 40 years at Horsham College. Regional organiser Erich Sinkis said that Rosanne never brushed a problem aside. “I could always count on Rosanne’s thoughtful contribution and tenacity to set things right
aeu news | december 2010
where she saw injustice,” he said. “Even when she was in Melbourne receiving treatment for her illness she came across a young contract teacher who had missed out on holiday pay. Rosanne rang the AEU for help on her behalf. She was the epitome of defending the union adage, ‘An injury to one is injury to all’.” Colleagues remembered her as a stylish dresser and tireless campaigner, whose causes included asylum seekers and Amnesty International. ◆
Schools must now pay out entitlements at the end of a contract; some have become wary of rehiring staff from the day after the end of term and are offering contracts from day one of Term 1. ES staff should make sure they are rehired the day after
their annual leave runs out. More detailed advice can be found in the ES section of the AEU website at www.aeuvic.asn.au/es; or call the membership services unit on (03) 9417 2822. ◆
Prins push workload claim T HE AEU is to put proposals to cut principal workload to the incoming Baillieu Government in a bid to stem stress and burn-out among school leaders. The union has drawn up a list of initiatives that could be implemented at no cost, including better consultation, support with strategic planning, support in dealing with complex Workcover cases, and greater flexibility over meetings. Model school policies and a cost and workload analysis for each new government initiative would also make principals’ lives easier. The union will also pursue changes which affect the bottom line, including earmarked funds for an administrative assistant for the principal and funding to cap the teaching hours of principals in small schools. The department should also conduct the management (with the AEU) of unsatisfactory performance
by staff — a job currently handled by principals alone. The package has been developed in consultation with principal class members and parts of it are likely to be pursued in the next Schools Agreement. Stressors that need to be tackled include the excess staff process, described as “onerous, timeconsuming, bad for staff morale” — and ineffective to boot. AEU Principals organiser Jeff Walters said this year had been among the busiest yet for principal Workcover claims. After years of increasing workload, the introduction of regional network leaders had been a watershed. “It’s a combination of losing control of their networks and the increasing accountability through those networks that has just made their working lives so much more complex.” ◆ — Nic Barnard
HE World’s Greatest Shave, the Leukaemia Foundation’s annual fundraiser, will take place on March 10–12 next year with schools once more urged to get out the clippers and hair dye. Participants can shave or colour their hair to raise money for the f oundation’s free support services and research. Register to participate at www.worldsgreatestshave.com. ◆
Your stories reveal harsh reality Submissions to the federal funding review show some schools scratching for funds to support their most vulnerable students. Rachel Power AEU News
HE need for greater welfare support and funding for special needs students is the overwhelming message from Victoria’s public schools in submissions made to the federal funding review. Government schools around the state report that far too many students are missing out on the basic support they need to succeed at school. Almost all have pressed the need for lower requirements for special needs students to access aides, counselling, welfare officers, psychologists, speech therapists and reading recovery programs. The AEU is urging every government school to make a submission to the first comprehensive review of federal schools funding since 1973. Schools are asked to tell the expert panel exactly what they could do for students if they had fair funding. Submissions can be made through the AEU’s campaign website, forourfuture.org.au. The review has extended the deadline for submissions to March 2011. “We have a large number of diagnosed disability students and a number of undiagnosed disability students,” says the submission from Mossgiel
Primary School, where only half the children needing speech pathology are funded. “We deal with them the best way we can in our classes and in our school environment, but without further support and funding, these children will fail, and it breaks our hearts.” Avoca PS’s submission says that every classroom in the country will have students who need extra assistance but don’t meet the stringent tests for special funding. “These students take up so much of a teacher’s time that the average and above average achievers tend to miss out,” it says. Delacombe PS has trained its own staff to run a speech therapy support program, as speech pathology is unaffordable and difficult to access. Many schools, especially in rural settings, struggle to provide specialist classes, such as LOTE, art, music or PE. Adequate facilities, ICT equipment and buildings maintenance are also high on the lists of needs. Despite being identified as needing new buildings back in 2001, Rosamund Special School is still waiting on funding for its Building Futures project. Moyhu PS reports that parents maintain the grounds and have a weekly cleaning roster for the
Make your submission now: www.forourfuture.org.au
multi-purpose room, so that money can be saved for curriculum purposes. “… The buildings are years behind in maintenance; furniture is antiquated and ergonomically unsound; equipment is dated but we do not have the finances to replace it,” its submission says. Its main source of funds for extras is the annual school Easter fair, which nets around $14,000. Woori Yallock PS says teachers are forced to spend time planning and running fundraising events that should be spent on teaching and learning. Teacher-librarians, extension programs for gifted students and travel costs for excursions are among the other things that state schools struggle to provide. Among high schools, Princes Hill Secondary College has arranged VCE classes to be four rather than five periods a week in order to staff a sufficiently broad range of subjects for its students. “We now see students … educated in the most expensive private schools consume three or four times as much of the available education resources as children from the most desperate circumstances who are educated at the local state school,” its submission says. ◆
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Primary schools are not the only ones spreading the environmental message. A Swan Hill TAFE is teaching the builders of tomorrow to think green.
Rachel Power AEU News
HANGING the attitudes of those who have worked in the construction industry for many years isn’t easy, says Alan Gammond, educational business manager for trades at Sunraysia TAFE in north-west Victoria. The institute came to the conclusion that, when it comes to sustainability, the best way to re-educate designers and tradesmen was through those coming through for the first time. The Tower Hill Eco Demonstration Centre in Swan Hill is Sunraysia’s latest sustainability initiative — a showcase for the best in green design and construction. Every carpentry, electrical and plumbing apprentice at the TAFE has had a hand in its construction over the past three years.
Fitted out with low-energy and water-efficient technologies, Tower Hill demonstrates practical, affordable sustainability solutions and ecofriendly products. It is also a learning and resource hub, where courses, events and seminars on everything from wind turbines to sustainable design concepts and drought-tolerant gardens are held. Funded by an EcoLiving grant from Sustainability Victoria, the centre opened on April 30 with a nine-star energy rating. “Learning for sustainability” is the centre’s theme. “We employed a principal building contractor and then all the apprentices — carpentry, electrical, plumbing — worked on site, and we introduced sustainability into all units, rather than having one
separate unit,” Alan says. Sunraysia’s apprentices have already started influencing their bosses as a result of their training at Tower Hill. “The change in mindset is the biggest influence of the whole thing. They saw things being done differently to what was happening at work — a totally different concept to standard building practices — and they were going back and asking ‘Why are we doing it this way?’” Local new-home builders are now considering sustainable features. “It’s an open house, so people can turn up whenever they want and we’ll give them a full rundown of everything. “So many of the costs are the same, and we show them how they can save 40%-plus on their energy bills.” TAFE teachers will be involved in a
“Keep up pressure” on asbestos Nic Barnard AEU News
NIONS must keep up the pressure for the safe removal of asbestos from buildings in Australia, an AEU forum was told by the head of a new federal review. Geoff Fary, chair of the Asbestos Management Review and former assistant secretary of the ACTU, delivered the message at an AEU event held to mark Asbestos Awareness Week. Setting out the timetable for the review — which will see draft recommendations issued by December 2011 and a final report by June 2012 — he said ministers must be made to feel the pressure to act. “We don’t want to have an excellent report and an excellent set of recommendations received with
aeu news | december 2010
thanks and then left to gather dust on a shelf in Canberra. It’s very important we create the climate so that something happens when we deliver the report.” Brian Boyd, Victorian Trades Hall secretary and a former OHS asbestos officer, outlined the key role unions had already played so far — including stop work actions and campaigns that had led to the banning of asbestos as a building material in the 1970s and 80s. “I remember inspecting school after school with the AEU’s predecessors, the VSTA and TTUV, when … renovations were going on, to get asbestos removed from those projects. There were pickets outside the gates not only from building workers but teachers.” But AEU organiser and former principal
constant round of informal and formal sessions for builders and trades people, with the centre’s design consultant Brent McKnight providing information on passive solar design. All Sunraysia TAFE staff members will undertake a PD session, Sustainability at SuniTAFE, at the centre, while all building, plumbing, engineering and electrical first-year apprentices and building pre-apprentices will complete the unit Workplace Procedures for Environmental Sustainability there. Alan says the range and variety of these sustainability programs were not available in the region before now. “We want to be at the forefront of these things. The more that us teachers are in the know, the more we can pass on to the young guys and learn from each other.” ◆
Peter Hendrickson gave an insight into the dangers still present. Only he and one other person had been trained in asbestos management at his former school, he recalled — “and I’ve retired and I can’t even remember who the other person was.” There were horror stories reported of students sweeping up material containing asbestos from renovations or minor repair works. Most schools’ asbestos registers were either incomplete or hard to locate. A re-elected Labor government had been expected to announce a removal program for every state school, and to maintain a schedule of approved contractors — something for which the AEU has long been calling. The Coalition position is not known. ◆
PHOTO: LINDA GALLO, SUNRAYSIA TAFE
Tower of POWER
Logs of claim hit the table
Workload, class sizes and laptops top the list of claims as teachers, principals and ES members prepare for negotiations. Nic Barnard AEU News
he AEU will press for pay rises of 10% per year, smaller classes, and reduced teaching loads and workload when it negotiates new agreements for teachers and principals next year. For ES members, the union is expected to press for access to the teachers’ laptop scheme, and the scrapping or reduction of recall days during school holidays. The schools log of claims — the document compiling the AEU’s claims for a new agreement for teachers and principals — was passed by joint primary and secondary council on December 3 and will be served on the Education Department before the end of term. The ES log will be finalised at February’s council meeting. It follows sub-branch meetings around the state, almost 40 regional meetings, and a string of meetings for special interest groups. Negotiations are due to begin in March ahead
of the expiry of the current agreements in December 2011. The schools log calls for a new externallyassessed “highly accomplished” grade at the top of the scale, to attract more teachers to the profession and keep the best practitioners in the classroom. It also proposes a maximum class size of 20 students in primary and secondary, and a cap on face-to-face teaching hours of 20.5 hours per week for primary and 18 hours for secondary teachers. The union will negotiate for additional pupil-free days to allow schools to address new initiatives such as the Ultranet, and for schools to be given greater flexibility over when those days are held. Pupil free days were among the most commonly raised issues at member meetings. A cap of 21 on the number of 50-minute extra lessons that secondary teachers can be called on to teach in any one year is also included. The AEU will push for the Government to adopt a best-practice clause on domestic violence, granting
victims special leave to attend to issues such as court cases or housing. And the union will ask the Government to bring the new federal paid parental leave into the agreement. In the ES log of claims, the union is expected to press for an end to recall days — the power that schools have to call some ES staff in for up to five days during school holidays. Improved and more secure holiday pay for contract staff also features. But the biggest demand from ES members has been for the sector to be included in the teachers’ laptop leasing scheme. The call has been given added urgency by the move to the eduPay system and online payslips, and the launch of the Ultranet. The union could also pressing for classroombased ES staff such as integration aides to be given preparation time. Some ES staff attend meetings and prepare for lessons in their own time. Rules around supervision should also be tightened up. Copies of both logs will be produced by the union and distributed to members. ◆
Sun, sand and Santa T
rue Blue Santa, a picture book launched at Readings in Port Melbourne last month, is the realisation of a dream for AEU designer Kim Fleming. Kim illustrated the text by Anne Mangan, about two kids who decide that Christmas needs an Aussie makeover, and call on Santa to help them do the job. The result is a true-blue Christmas, including an emu-led sleigh, a multi-cultural Christmas feast and the obligatory backyard cricket match. Kim says ever since she got into book illustration, her dream “was to get to where I am right now — have my first children's book published by a major publisher, in bookstores, selling well.” True Blue Santa is published by HarperCollins, RRP$14.95, and available in all major bookstores. ◆
ESPITE three changes of principal during the process, Berwick Secondary College rep Linda Bourke has managed to negotiate a local agreement at her school. Linda returned to a “rather weak” sub-branch following her maternity leave during the Kennett years. Since then she and treasurer Megan McDonald have “built it up to be very strong and active”, due in part to the action taken on behalf of teachers on contract.
Nominate your REP!
“They see that we’re very good at negotiating the transition to ongoing, and that it’s only members getting this support,” Linda says. AEU organiser Helen Stanley nominated Linda for rep of the month for her “passion for supporting her staff and her commitment to making conditions better for everyone. “Linda has worked hard gaining ongoing [positions] for staff, reducing contracts and reviewing
consultative structures,” says Stanley. Megan agrees: “Linda is great at organising meetings which are very well attended. She is a good AEU leader and a sympathetic support person.” Linda says the most important qualities in a rep are “a lot of patience and the ability to see both sides of the story”. But she adds: “I think the main thing is teamwork, though.” ◆
Berwick Secondary College
Does your school or workplace AEU Rep deserve special recognition? Email firstname.lastname@example.org telling us who you’re nominating and why. The Rep of the Month receives a limited edition AEU leather briefcase.
Supervision pay gets boost T
he AEU has had a major breakthrough in its campaign to increase payments to teachers who supervise student teachers. For 2011 Victoria University will pay a new rate of $30 per day for supervising teachers who take a student teacher in primary schools or in secondary schools for a double method. This is a 41.5% increase on the existing award rate of $21.20 per day. Supervising teachers who take a student for a single method in a secondary school will see their
TLN gets WISE
payment rise from $12.45 per day to $17 — an increase of 36.5%. VU has already won recognition for a range of innovative school partnership approaches for the placement of pre-service teachers. In 2011, schools which take part in their site-based teacher education initiatives, where students spend two days a week at the school over a year, will receive an additional $3000 per 25 pre-service teachers. Teacher supervision payments made by the university to the school should be passed on to the supervising teachers unless there is an alternative agreed through the consultation process which
LN, the AEU’s professional development and training arm, has launched the second of its new series of books: Wisdom and Action: A Leadership Handbook. Wisdom and Action is a practical handbook for leaders across all school settings. It contains templates, processes and exercises that you can use daily in your role as a leader and manager. It sets out core skills and knowledge for those who are starting out on a leadership journey and practical reminders for those who are already there. The concepts in the book are informed by research and have been tested in schools. The book is the second in the new TLN Press imprint and follows the popular teachers’ handbook And Gladly Teach, now in its second printing. Olwyn Gray, executive officer of the Council of Professional Teaching Associations of Victoria, called Wisdom and Action “particularly timely” given the ageing profession and need for generational change. “The handbook gives those … aspiring to leadership positions, the vocabulary for leading, the metacognition to reflect on situations and people, insights into workforce planning and the Big Picture of change management,” he said. “It is engaging, never patronising and refreshingly clear of clichés. It is a handbook for all educators.” ◆
aeu news | december 2010
Wisdom and Action is available from TLN Press on (03) 9418 4992 or www.tln. org.au for $19.99 plus $5 postage and handling — or just $16 + $5 postage and handling for TLN members.
pools these funds for professional development or similar purposes. Award rates for teacher supervision have been the same since 1992, despite major cost of living and wage rises. The AEU believes principals, school practicum coordinators and supervising teachers should take account of the new VU rates when they decide which university to go with in 2011. If you are interested in taking VU pre-service teachers, contact Bill Eckersley at email@example.com. ◆
Flagships run aground T
HE AEU has welcomed delays to the relaunch of the My School website — despite it coming after complaints from private schools. As AEU News went to press, there were reports that the national curriculum was also to be postponed, following the NSW Board of Studies’ conclusion that it could not support its introduction. Private schools complain that My School’s updated socio-economic index and new financial reporting make schools and students appear better off than they really are. The union was part of the working party that recommended improvements to the site, but more remains to be done. Financial data for non-government schools does not include details of many holdings and investments. AEU branch president Mary Bluett said: “ACARA just doesn’t seem to be able to get it right. My School doesn’t have any credibility as tool for either parents or teachers.” The union also has long-standing concerns about the national curriculum, which has been pushed through without adequate consultation with teachers. ◆ My School rebooted, remodelled: p18.
CARTOON THE CANBERRA CARTOON©©POPE/ POPE/THE CANBERRATIMES TIMES
John Graham AEU research officer
Pressure on TAFE to cut fees Complex rules mean too few TAFEs are using a fund to exempt students from higher fees, while falling rolls prompt redundancies. Nic Barnard AEU News SOUTH AUSTRALIA MEMBERS are being urged to fight cuts to programs or attempts to dilute award conditions following a new funding settlement for SA schools. The AEU SA branch says primary schools are most likely to be the losers from the settlement — although some schools will be better off. The union is urging sub-branches to pass resolutions opposing cuts and says it is prepared to take out grievance procedures in the SA Industrial Relations Commission if workloads that breach the award are imposed on members. “Members campaigned long and hard to win extra non-contact time and other workload protections,” the union says. ACT SCHOOLS are to be quarantined from the effects of a $4 million efficiency drive demanded by the ACT Government, but the AEU warns that students and teachers will still be affected by cuts to the central office of the education department. With enrolments growing in the territory, the AEU has condemned the cuts, which amount to 1% of the department budget, saying they have been rushed through after inadequate consultation with unions. NEW SOUTH WALES A PUBLIC Education For Our Future van has been out touring NSW to drum up support for submissions to the federal schools funding review. The van has been on the road for more than a month, covering thousands of kilometres as it visits schools and sub-branches and sets up street stalls to publicise the crucial review. As well as encouraging schools to make submissions, it has been distributing information to the public about the review and collecting signatures for a petition calling for greater funding for government schools. ◆
HE AEU is to step up pressure to roll back TAFE reforms and widen access for disadvantaged students, with a call for more students to be exempted from higher fees. The new Coalition Government has pledged to bring back concession rates for low-income students in a move welcomed by the AEU. But many older students — who already have degrees or diplomas — are locked out of further study because they must now pay full fees that can reach up to $20,000 to study at TAFE. The move at a stroke locked out thousands of people from further study, including staff in community and other services updating or broadening their skills, and university graduates seeking specialist vocational training before entering the job market. The changes to eligibility for government-funded places is one reason that diploma numbers have
fallen heavily across the state in TAFE. Redundancies continue to spread as a result of falling numbers and the decline in international students. Students can apply for exemptions from the higher fees, but the AEU understands that only 15% of the $5 million exemptions fund has been paid out this year. The Coalition has pledged to increase the fund for exemptions next year to $20m after extensive briefing behind the scenes by the AEU. AEU deputy secretary Gillian Robertson blamed the complex bureaucracy behind the skills reforms for the under-use of the fund. “Skills Victoria did not make the system clear. TAFEs have had huge administrivia to go through; staff have had to try to work it all out and then try to explain it to the students. What’s ended up happening is that the fund hasn’t been used to its full potential. “The craziness of this policy is that the department handed the money for exemptions to each institute — so a student might be entitled to an
exemption at one institute or on one course but not another.” Far from winding down after the promise of a return of concession fees, the TAFE 4 All campaign will ramp up in the new year, calling for all Victorians to have the right to government-supported study when they need it, regardless of prior qualifications. The AEU is also concerned at the spread of redundancies. “We are very concerned about the practice where a teacher is made redundant or their contract is not renewed and then they’re asked to come back as a casual,” Ms Robertson said. “There’s no reason why they can’t be given another contract. The union will act on reported cases of this.” ◆
Chocs AWAY! M
ILDURA Chocolate Company is staffed largely by supported workers from the Christie Centre, a local disability service. Their chocs were rated “exceptional” by judges at this year’s Mildura Show, where the shop took out Best Stand. Workers are trained to use the tempering machine, pour and de-mould the chocolates, and wrap them for sale. “They’ve got great pride in working [at the shop],” said Glenda Hiskins, AEU member and Christie Centre executive officer. “Really, the greatest benefits are the esteem they hold themselves in and in what they’re producing. “Our clients are developing skills and really value being appreciated by the public and being in the public eye. One is now doing a Certificate III in retail. “They’re part of a collective and a group. They enjoy the same conditions as others in the workforce. They have uniforms and feel that they’re somebody.” The company keeps a local flavour with products such as its chocolate-dipped blood orange segments and has just launched a new chocolate ice-cream and a “supercharged, over-the-top” chocolate sauce. The raw chocolate is sourced from Yarra Valley company Kennedy & Wilson. Visit Mildura Chocolate Company at 141 Tenth Street, or go to www.mildurachocolateco.com.au. ◆ — Rachel Power
AEU member June Stevenson boxing up chocs at the Mildura Chocolate Company. PHOTO: SARAH SIMMONS
A long winding road
With a vocal campaign for equal marriage rights and a studentâ€™s highly publicised battle over a school formal, gay and lesbian issues have never had a higher profile. But Anna Kelsey-Sugg finds the journey to a more inclusive school is a long one.
Daniel Witthaus takes his message on the road.
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ELF-DESCRIBED challenging homophobia educator Daniel Witthaus set out to share an empowering message with the 288 schools he visited on his road-trip with a difference: you can challenge and interrupt homophobic behaviour — and you probably already have the skills to do it. Witthaus — an activist who has dedicated 12 years to educating school communities and developing teacher resources on challenging homophobia — sought two things during his mammoth 38-week journey: a snapshot of life in country Australia for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) young people, and an understanding of the challenges teachers face in supporting these students. He wanted to give remote and regional communities, who can miss out on having their voices heard, a forum in which to speak up about sexual diversity. What emerged was not a lack of awareness but a lack of confidence. Teachers wanted to “do better” — and they needed help. From schools in Geelong, clockwise around the country, Witthaus said the opportunity to discuss LGBT issues was overwhelmingly welcomed: “What people invariably said to me was, ‘It’s about bloody time. This is the first time that we’ve had a professional conversation about challenging homophobia and sexual diversity.’” Conversation, says Witthaus, is a powerful starting point for changing school culture. He praised the AEU for its history of speaking about and supporting teachers working with LGBT students, “before it was OK”. “There’s a strong history of education unions around the country being really supportive of those teachers and supportive of this work when it wasn’t cool and it wasn’t OK in lots of places.” AEU Victorian branch president Mary Bluett says the union and its predecessors have always been committed to supporting LGBTI (I for intersex) teachers and students. “The union has a very strong record of supporting both our members and our students in terms of progressive policies and supporting campaigns of inclusion — including the current Equal Love campaign for equal marriage rights. “It’s always been an issue based on the human rights of individuals, with a strong focus on the impact on students and the difficulties they have.” Despite increasing attention for the issue in schools, reflected in recent Education Department policy explicitly prohibiting discrimination against same-sex-attracted employees and supporting sexual diversity in the workplace, obstructions remain. The work of promoting school environments free of homophobia is often left to the discretion of individual teachers, rather than being tasked to the entire staff, and teachers simply underestimate their skill set. “Unfortunately teachers tend to think that this is a different area,” says Witthaus. “They say, well,
❛Research like ‘Writing Themselves In’ showed that schools are the least safe environment for same-sex attracted young people.❜ we can challenge racism and sexism, but we can’t challenge homophobic behaviour because we’re not gay or lesbian ourselves, and we’re not experts in this. “But if you say to teachers, hang on, you’ve had a really good history of challenging racism and sexism, and if a student came into a class and said, ‘That’s so wog’ (or) ‘That’s so spastic’ … in the majority of classrooms most teachers would feel confident about pulling students up. Then why aren’t we pulling students up for ‘That’s so gay’? “What I tell teachers is you don’t have to be perfect in your approach; you just have to send a message.” For some schools, that message might be appending a notice board with information about local LGBT events and information; for others it might be engaging all school staff in ongoing
inclusion training. Whatever the action, schools are eager to learn how to do it better. This thirst for information is familiar to Roz Ward, coordinator of the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria (SSCV) and of the Rainbow Network Victoria, a member network for people working with same-sex attracted, transgender or gender-questioning young people. “For many years our members have been saying that something more needs to be done in schools,” she says. “Research like [La Trobe University’s] ‘Writing Themselves In’ and ‘Writing Themselves In Again’ showed that schools are the least safe environment for young people who are same-sex attracted, documenting all sorts of verbal and physical abuse that takes place in schools.” Findings from these two reports, which surveyed more than 2,500 young people, showed the basic human rights of LGBT young people being compromised in a number of ways. Less than 20% were receiving relevant sex education; over half had been verbally and/or physically abused because of their sexuality, with school the place where abuse was most likely to occur; and continued on page 14 ➠
Out & not out
EU councillor Erin Greaves (right) sees plenty of different practices in the schools she works in across Victoria’s eastern region as a visiting teacher. She has also experienced the issue of inclusion first hand. “I have been very ‘out’ to colleagues; however, on reflection I realise that I am never out to my students,” she says. “While I have believed this is due to a belief that it is not appropriate for teachers to discuss their personal life in great depth with their students — something I still believe — it is interesting to then realise that I have colleagues whose students know that they are about to get married. “I have a female colleague who has a picture of her boyfriend on her desk. These elements of personal life are generally (even by me) deemed appropriate, yet I have never felt I could … mention anything to do with my partner. “I guess this perpetuates the cycle; it means that the students do not see LGBTI role models; do not see LGBTI people in such roles in their ‘everyday’ lives.” ◆
TIPS/RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS Find out more about the SSCV: safeschoolscoalition victoria.org.au Daniel Witthaus’s websites contain resources and training information: thatssogay.com.au and www.prideandprejudice. com.au “Writing Themselves In” and “Writing Themselves In Again” reports: www.glhv.org.au/ node/69
Roz Ward, coordinator of the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria
➠ continued from page 13 self-harm, including suicide ideation and attempts, was an issue for 36% of this group. SSCV — the first body of its kind in Australia — was created in August in response to this clear need for schools to be better supported to provide safer, more positive school experiences for LGBT young people. It offers training, resources and consultancy for teachers. Already, 13 schools have signed up. So how does the coalition work? “It’s pretty practical,” says Ward. “We want schools where every student can learn, every teacher can teach and every family can belong.” SSCV provides training modules including Challenging Homophobia in the Classroom and Creating a More Inclusive Curriculum (such as teaching sexuality education more inclusively). Training is delivered both within schools and off-site around the state, and schools can book a tailored consultancy to address a specific issue. Any schools can access these resources. Bernadette Bowling, assistant principal at one of the 13 SSCV schools, Hallam Senior College, and student welfare social worker Julia Nicholson, say that Hallam put its hand up because they saw students in difficulty and felt more could be done to help. “We have same-sex attracted young people who have presented to us often feeling as if it’s a real struggle for them to be themselves and to feel good about themselves, and have actually related that to their ability to succeed academically. It would really affect the way they would attend classes.” These students might have supportive friends at school but not be accepted at home or in other aspects of their lives. “So, if they could come to school feeling really safe, that’s the sort of
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environment we wanted to create,” say Bowling and Nicholson. They can already see the positive results. “There is conversation and discussion about the issue in the school community, which is always a really good starting point because it will help us to craft our strategy and our response from here; so we’re thinking about things like groups for [same-sex attracted] young people, with the intention of them running it themselves. “We want a safe, healthy environment for every student that comes here — that whole connectedness to school, which is what we work really hard to achieve.” Roz Ward says responses from schools in the coalition have been incredibly positive. “We’ve had emails from teachers and students, and phone calls from parents saying how fantastic that this initiative exists,” she says. “In schools that haven’t joined the coalition there have been parents calling the school to say, ‘Why haven’t you joined, this would be great for students.’”But it’s not just for school students that an inclusive culture is important. “Gay and lesbian teachers do encounter discrimination in schools,” says Michael Crowhurst, lecturer in teacher education at RMIT University. And while the issue is more widely spoken about than it once was, it still doesn’t have the level of exposure it merits. “My feeling is that there’s not as much awareness around these issues as there is around sexism, racism, ableism. I think what we really need is more documentation of successful models of practice that are happening out there.” AEU member and teacher Erin Greaves attended the AEU Federal Women’s Conference in October and says she heard, at a workshop about same-sex
attracted and gender-questioning students, the same teacher insecurity that Daniel Witthaus encountered. “I think it is something that needs to be looked at on a whole-school level,” she says. “[We need] opportunities for staff to have discussions with each other and to get ideas and maybe to realise that it’s not such a huge deal to think, for example, about the way you are speaking — if you are doing a subject that uses case studies, that not all the case studies need to be heterosexual, or things like that.” While Victoria can be proud of the fact that it has, as Roz Ward describes, “the best education policy framework for supporting sexual diversity — better than other states”, as well as a strong history of education union support, there’s a long way to travel before homophobia in schools is stamped out and sexual diversity is accepted as just another social category. Recent events surrounding a formal at a Melbourne private girls school made this abundantly clear, but it is just one highly publicised example of a level of discrimination that still exists in many schools. Forums for schools to proudly raise their hands as “safe” for all students and teachers surely form one important step along the way to safer school environments for LGBT students and staff. As does recognition of the work — even when seemingly insignificant — that teachers and students undertake every day in an effort to be more inclusive. The results, after all, stand to benefit everyone. ◆
More QUESTIONS than
What will the Coalition do now it is in power? Nic Barnard looks for signs and sets out the challenges ahead.
HANGING governments always creates uncertainty, but the unease surrounding the arrival of Ted Baillieu’s Liberal/Nationals administration is perhaps greater than most. For one, the spectre of the Kennett Government — with its razor gangs, sell-offs, mass sackings, hostility to unions and its gag on teachers — still haunts older AEU members. For another, the education platform that the Coalition took to the Victorian electorate was slim to say the least; its policies — detailed right — were mostly headline-catchers: crackdowns on d iscipline, language lessons for primary students and a funding boost for private schools. That leaves plenty of questions for new Education Minister Martin Dixon — a former Catholic primary school principal — to answer. Most urgently, will the Coalition continue the Brumby Government’s flagship 10-year program to modernise every state school? Less than halfway through, a huge amount remains to be done. The Liberals said they would proceed with the $1.7 billion stage 2, but it did not appear in their election costings. Many reorganisations are underway and other works are scheduled; staff and parents are wondering now if they will be concluded. In opposition, the Coalition suggested that some schools had been coerced into merging — will it now order a review of plans in the pipeline? Almost as urgent will be the Coalition’s position on funding. Victoria will be expected to make a submission to the federal funding review: will it support the desperate needs of public schools? On salaries, the Coalition had pledged to make Victorian teachers the best paid in Australia. But will it demand trade-offs? What are the Coalition’s plans for early childhood education? The sector rated hardly a mention during the campaign. Baillieu is already playing hardball over health in the federal arena. Will he take the same approach over education? Where does he stand on the national curriculum, on teacher performance pay and on My School and testing? Coalition senators have just called for NAPLAN-style testing in every grade; do Baillieu and Dixon agree? Those with long memories will also wonder if the Coalition will reintroduce the gag on teachers talking to the press. Baillieu’s promise of an end to spin and secrecy would suggest not — let’s hope so. And will Dixon’s support for greater principal autonomy extend to greater powers for school councils — or self-governing schools despite his
comments that this is not on the table? Beyond that, the Coalition will need to explain how it plans to implement some of its election policies. Where will it find the LOTE teachers to allow every primary school student to study a language, or 100 maths and science specialists to support primary teachers when schools already struggle to recruit in those subjects?
Will $34m be enough to fund 150 extra primary welfare officers? And who will be enforcing the truancy laws under the Coalition’s get-tough policy? Will it set up a new truancy unit in the department, or is this going to be one more job dumped on principals, teachers and ES staff? So many questions. Minister Dixon’s first meeting with the AEU should be interesting. ◆
Promises, promises Non-government school funding • Increase grants to Catholic and independent schools to 25% of cost of educating government school student from Term 1, 2011 ($240 million over four years) Maths and sciences • $29.3m for 100 science and maths specialists in primary schools • 400 scholarships over four years for science graduates to study Dip Ed. Primary welfare officers • $34m for 150 extra PWOs over four years • 280 more schools to receive PWO support. Languages • Compulsory language classes for every primary school • $32.7m over four years for community language schools, including increased student funding for after-hours lesson fees • $6m over four years for 210 scholarships for teachers to train in LOTE • $1m in start-up grants for schools to develop LOTE programs. Discipline • Principals to suspend or expel students at own discretion • Legislation to give principals power to ban dangerous items • Increase punishment for assault and vandalism on school property • $2m PD program to help teachers maintain discipline • Enforce truancy laws by fining parents. Principals’ autonomy • Cut paperwork by 50% • Principals, not officials, to run regional network meetings • Schools to decide how PD funds are spent • Schools to set dates of pupil-free days.
Building projects • Principals to handle design, planning and management of major builds, in consultation with government • Schools to source project manager and construction team, oversee construction and fund works out of the total capital works grant awarded. Special needs • $2.14m for building upgrades and equipment for new school for blind students. Country education • $5m for rural student retention, allocated to “innovative programs” proposed by secondary schools with low retention rates. Early childhood • $6m over four years for rural kindergarten grants of up to $20,000 for administrative and operational costs. TAFE and VET • $96m to reintroduce concession fees (at $100) for diploma students • Increase exemptions from up-skilling eligibility criteria to $20m pa • Review fee structure for VET sector • Review regulation of VET providers. Disability services • Fund the outcomes of the pay equity case “to ensure that workers receive a significant increase” • Improve supply by marketing careers in community services • Gap analysis of present and future demand for skills in the sector • Audit extra duties imposed on agencies by the Disability Act 2006 to ensure adequate funding to undertake legal duties • Trial a case management system • Support a national disability insurance scheme. ◆
ENTER the first year As student teachers prepare to start their careers, what can they expect? New teacher Felicity Stark reflects on the highs and lows of her first year in the job. Teacher Felicity Stark finds time to hang around with students Isabel (left) and Kya
aeu news | december 2010
ENTERED my first year of teaching with a definite idealism. I had clear expectations of myself: the role of the teacher, what I would teach and how I would do it. I felt that my four years at university had provided me with ample knowledge of the theories and policies of education and I was desperate to put my philosophy into action. I can remember my first few days well. I spent the weekend before school started passionately cutting and laminating posters, quotes and welcome signs in a variety of colours and sizes. I stuck a sign on the door: “L3F Teacher: Miss Stark” and couldn’t quite believe it was true. I was so excited to finally have my own class. On the first day of school the children arrived early, eager to check out their new teacher. Their parents accompanied them; it felt like their eyes were staring me up and down, questioning if such a young and inexperienced teacher was going to be “good enough” for them. Over the next few days I can remember being shocked by the vast differences in academic ability. I had students barely capable of completing prep-level equations while others were discussing Pythagoras’s theorem. How was I going to give each child the attention and support they needed? How was I going to ensure that the blue dot had moved by report-writing time? But this was a challenge I was ready for and it was exciting to feel such responsibility. I loved the teaching, full stop. As the days continued, children would present themselves with notices for sickness, notices for an upcoming sausage sizzle or money for the fundraising committee. Where did all these notices come from and, more importantly, what was I supposed to do with them? But it was the meetings that really got to me. In my eagerness to teach, I found them incredibly frustrating. Time was my biggest enemy and it was out to get me. While I sat through a seemingly pointless meeting, I was missing out on planning for the next day, developing an individual learning plan or just taking time to stop and breathe. I was working crazy hours, arriving at school at 8am and not leaving until
8pm, in my determination to uphold my idealistic values. Everything was so new. Other teachers would reel off the latest buzzwords and leave me baffled. It was becoming very apparent that while I was well prepared for teaching, there was so much more going on after 3.30pm that needed to be done. My graduation certificate should have read “Bachelor of Education (and secretary, nurse, events management, human resources, public relations, counsellor … )”. I have often heard people describe the first year of teaching as like learning to swim. You will either drown, tread water or learn to swim. As a graduate, acknowledging that you need support is the first step towards swimming. I was given great
Consider whether that laminating really has to be done tonight or if creating a wonderful display will make a direct impact on the students’ learning the next day. If the answer is no, then it can wait. Fourthly, establish some work/life balance. You don’t become a better teacher by spending all your waking hours at school. Instead you become more and more tired and the quality of your teaching decreases. Set yourself a time to leave work and stick to it. I found that catching up with family and friends, exercising and having some time to relax made me a more enthusiastic and energetic teacher. It sounds so obvious but it took me a while to learn this. From talking to recent graduates,
❛ Their parents’ eyes seemed to stare me up and down, questioning if such a young teacher would be good enough for them. ❜ affirmation and advice from my mentor, who was — and still is — always prepared to make time to help with something new, to chat about my day or just let me vent when I need to. Having someone you can trust to listen to your thoughts and ideas is invaluable, regardless of how many years you have been teaching. Secondly, I learnt not to assume anything. Don’t assume you will be told, or that you will find out, or that someone will follow up with you. Ask questions and seek out the relevant people in the school who can give you the answer you need. A mantra I heard at a recent PD is “Stuck? Then it was worth coming in today!” We all need to remind ourselves of this and realise that by not knowing something, we have the opportunity to learn something new — which can only be positive. Thirdly, prioritise. It sounds easy, but in a busy school it is so easy to be distracted by things that are not necessarily important. I live by my to-do list; it’s never completely ticked off, but the important tasks are always done. No matter how long you stay at school, you can never get everything done. Trust me; I’ve tried.
it would seem that one of the biggest fears for first-year teachers is dealing with parents. Please don’t feel intimidated or fearful. The education of your students is a partnership and together you will achieve more. Involve the parents in their child’s learning, keep communication flowing, provide regular feedback and the partnership will be positive and productive. Finally, know that you are valued. Sometimes after a hard week, all I wanted to hear was a “thank you”, to know that someone was grateful for all the hard work I was putting in. Schools are such very busy places that we often find it hard to give feedback to each other, but know that you are doing a good job and, most importantly, back yourself. You have studied education for years; you know the latest theories and teaching strategies, so don’t be afraid to offer your opinion or speak the truth. It’s amazing how much can change in such a short time. As I enter my third year of teaching I still have the same ideologies and goals as when I first started. Meetings continue, although their purpose is now clear, and time management is less of an issue — I can “work smarter, not
harder”. In fact, the challenges are very much the same: you have a new group of students who need your brains, your care — and your humour! This time however, you have the experience to support your knowledge. Roles and expectations increase, but so does your ability to meet them. Perhaps the greatest thing I learnt in my first year was just how powerful we are as teachers. I’d like to share the following quiz with you that I think reminds us of this. When I was in school (as a student), my principal shared it with our class and it has stuck with me ever since: 1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world. 2. Name the last five Brownlow medallists. 3. Name five Nobel Prize winners. 4. Name the last five Academy Award winners for best actor and actress. 5. Name the last decade’s Melbourne Cup winners. How well did you do? None of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers; they are the best in their fields. But the applause dies, awards tarnish, achievements are forgotten, and accolades and certificates are buried with their owners. Here is another quiz. See how you do on this one: 1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. 2. Name three friends who helped you through a difficult time. 3. Name five people who taught you something worthwhile. 4. Think of the few people who have made you feel appreciated. 5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with. 6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you. Easier? Perhaps we should consider that those who have the power to make a significant difference in our lives are not the ones with the most wealth, credentials or awards. They are the ones who care. ◆
This feature is adapted from Felicity’s presentation at the Stonnington and Glen Eira Network conference in September. She hopes it will be of help to those graduates about to begin work next year.
Contrary to claims that Julia Gillard’s NAPLAN stare-down of teachers was her greatest hour, a rebooted My School shows just how isolated she is. Nic Barnard reports.
HEN the new version of the My School website goes live in the new year, visitors will find a site significantly overhauled since its first launch back in January. The changes have been agreed by a working party which included ACARA, AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos, principals’ groups and other educational stakeholders. That group was unanimous in its view that the site needed protections against misuse by media and private groups to create league tables, that the prominence of NAPLAN results on the old site was misleading, that the socio-economic data used to compare schools was flawed and that financial data was needed if parents were to make any
meaningful comparisons. Not only were the changes agreed unanimously, but state government education ministers were also united in accepting the changes that the group recommended. These rare displays of agreement show how isolated the Government had become in the education community in attempting to stand its ground over the site.
It was the threat of action by AEU members that prompted the Government to concede the working party after months of refusing to meet or discuss the website with the union. Just a fortnight before the concession, then education minister Julia Gillard finally attended a meeting of the AEU executive, only to begin by stressing: “This is not a negotiation.” In the end, Gillard conceded the working party — with AEU representation — and accepted in its terms of reference that it should find ways to prevent the data’s misuse: one of the key aims of the union in calling the NAPLAN moratorium.
Education markets have not worked: OECD Trevor Cobbold Save Our Schools
MAJOR new study published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that market reforms in education have little positive effects on student achievement, generate little innovation and bring greater likelihood of segregation by race and class. Parental choice behaviour “is best predicted by school composition” rather than by school results, the Markets in Education report says, with parents responding to “local hierarchies of schools” based on social and ethnic mix. Popular schools therefore tend to restrict their capacity in order to control their social composition. The report reviewed two decades of academic research on the impact of market reforms such as charter schools, voucher programs and the abolition of school zoning. It found that studies of the effect on student achievement ranged from positive to no effect at all. Some studies showed positive effects, but these were generally small and tended to vary by subject and often by grade or group of students, or depending on how the effects were measured.
aeu news | december 2010
Many studies showed increased segregation between schools by race, socio-economic background and ability in countries including Chile, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. For example, several studies show that both ethnic and socio-economic school segregation increased after the introduction of open enrolment in the UK. The report also says that pedagogical and curricular innovations seem to have stronger links with government intervention than with market reforms. Schools facing more competition tend to
respond by spending more resources on promotion and marketing. The report shows that most parents do not respond strongly to poor school results. The vast majority are satisfied with their school; even where they are aware that a school has low results, only a small number leave. The report says: The saying “actions speak louder than words” also applies to parental choice. Although research indicates time and again that parents attach the most weight to quality and academic aspects of schools, their actual behaviour is best predicted by indicators of school composition. On the supply side, schools cannot easily expand as they become more popular. For any market to function, some over-capacity or ability to quickly grow must exist; but governments are often unwilling to provide excess capacity in schools. ◆ Education Working Paper No 52: Markets in Education by Sietske Waslander, Cissy Pater and Maartje van der Weide can be downloaded from the OECD website at tinyurl. com.au/yvi. Save Our Schools is a Canberra-based public education campaign. More at www.saveourschools. com.au.
table of results — which is now at least one further click away — users will see a graph with a long bar for each subject and year with a diamond in the centre. The diamond represents the score; the bar represents the margin of error. Experts have complained that NAPLAN tests are too inaccurate to rank schools. The bars indicate just how much scores may overlap between different schools. As before, results can be compared against the national average and against 60 “like schools”. The table of raw scores will also include a margin of error. Disappointingly, the diamonds and tables will still be colour coded red and green against national and like scores, despite unanimous agreement among the working party and state ministers to change this. With NAPLAN tests now three years old, the data can for the first time chart the progress made by Year 5, 7 and 9 students. These tables chart the progress of only those students who have remained at the school, and again take the form of a diamond and bar to indicate the margin of error. The finance section marks another significant breakthrough despite compromises. It features unprecedented levels of information about private school finances — but still doesn’t tell the whole story. It sets out each school’s recurrent income and capital expenditure for the previous year, including money from federal and state governments, fees, charges and parental contributions, “other private sources” and building loans. However, it does not detail the property holdings, trust funds and other investments of private schools, which for some can run into the millions. Private schools have kicked up over this issue too, complaining that the income figures may not match the sums disclosed to parents in their annual reports. The sector has fought tooth and nail against full disclosure and shows no sign of letting up. Only the launch of My School 2 will show the difference these changes have made. But without the AEU’s threat of a moratorium, none of this would have happened. And the union remains committed to stimulating public debate around the site’s failings, and will press for further changes, including full disclosure of private school finances, further improvements to ICSEA and further changes to the reporting of NAPLAN results. ◆
CAUTIONS AEU A heavy-handed intervention by Julia Gillard’s new industrial watchdog during April’s NAPLAN dispute has finally been resolved. Brian Henderson branch secretary
HE NAPLAN moratorium legal saga has finally come to an end with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) issuing a formal caution to the AEU for contravening an order of Fair Work Australia (FWA). The ombudsman found that the AEU breached its legal obligations under the Fair Work Act such as to warrant civil penalty proceedings. However, it determined that it was not in the public interest to prosecute and that it was “… more appropriate to issue a Letter of Caution as an alternative to ensure voluntary compliance in the future”. The “formal caution” was issued to AEU federal secretary Susan Hopgood and to the AEU, stating that we must fully comply with our workplace legal obligations in the future; if we contravene the Act again, the ombudsman will take this letter into account when determining whether or not to prosecute, and a copy of the letter may be tendered in future court proceedings including as to what penalty should be imposed. In the letter to the AEU, Greg Robinson, director of complex investigations and innovation, sets out the background to the investigation, citing advertising by the AEU and media monitoring of radio, television and the internet by the FWO to establish alleged contraventions of the Act. The FWO found that the AEU Victorian branch had contravened an order of senior deputy president Kaufman of FWA to publish by 4.30pm on May 4 a notice on our website cancelling the NAPLAN moratorium among other things. It also found that Victorian president Mary Bluett contravened the order in statements she made in the press supporting the decision of the union’s federal executive to continue the moratorium despite the FWA orders. As reported opposite, the second iteration of the My School website, created by the working party that came out of the NAPLAN dispute, addresses a number of the professional concerns raised by the AEU. The dispute was about teacher professional concerns for students, not an industrial dispute about terms and conditions of employment. The use of the courts and industrial tribunals did nothing to resolve the dispute and in fact risked exacerbating it. In this context, the gratuitous intervention of the Fair Work Ombudsman and its issuing of a letter of caution will do nothing to stop the AEU acting in the professional interests of students in the future, should the need arise. ◆
GREEN schools blossom
From the latest in climate science to one school’s efforts at sustainability, the first green schools conference offered the global and the local. Rachel Power reports.
PHOTO: JESSE DEAN
Teacher Sue Johnstone who set up and runs Berwick Fields PS kitchen garden.
Presenters (L-R): Grant Shannon, Kirsty Costa, Ange Barry, Stephanie Alexander, Paul Dullard L-R: Adam Sumacz and Stephen Wigney from Berwick Fields PS presenting at the conference.
PASSIONATE group of around 100 educators attended the first AEU/VIEU Green Schools Conference last month, leaving feeling spurred into action and armed with a host of new ideas for expanding sustainability programs in their schools. The conference traversed the global to the local, opening with a galvanising address from climate scientist Professor Dave Griggs and closing with a series of workshops showcasing the various ways schools are engaging students in environmental education. Griggs’s speech presented the latest science on the impact of climate change, and made a resounding argument that Australia must not delay in making the shift to a low-carbon economy. He told attendees that in his face-to-face dealings with politicians, he found most seemed intelligent and engaged on the issue of global warming — which only makes their lack of action all the more exasperating. “I am deeply frustrated by the lack of recognition of the severity … and just sheer magnitude of what we’re going to be seeing over the next 30 to 40 years,” he said. Regarding renewable technologies, he warned that Australia will be quickly left behind if it doesn’t act fast: “Developing countries are running like crazy to beat us at this game.” Paul Dullard turned the lights off before giving a funny and enthusiastic speech about his successes and struggles as sustainability education officer for the Catholic Education Office, Sandhurst. He reminded listeners of the importance of giving students a hands-on experience of nature. “You can’t expect kids to care about it if they don’t love it,” he said. “We need to engage kids in real projects and keep them moving.” He stressed the role of educators in “activating the energy” for change in schools, and the
aeu news | december 2010
importance of networking: “If we don’t, it’s good things happening in a little school somewhere [that no-one knows about].” He also criticised high schools for not extending the foundation built in early years education, declaring: “You’re doing primary school education an injustice if you don’t continue sustainability education at secondary school.” Kirsty Costa spoke about the key role of CERES Environment Park in Brunswick — a place that aims to inspire “awe and excitement” — in supporting sustainable education in Victorian schools through its ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic accreditation program. She outlined the in-school and on-site education offered by its Sustainable Education Outreach Group. “If you’re not feeling very confident about teaching about energy, invite us out,” she urged. Schools have one of the highest ecological footprints in the community, she told listeners, but it is in your local council’s best interests to help you become more sustainable. Listeners perhaps saved their warmest reception for Stephanie Alexander, with many in the audience using the opportunity to praise the positive impact of her Kitchen Garden Program, which has just been extended to 180 schools around the state. Alexander said that environmental education was implicit in much of what occurs in the program, which is sometimes “erroneously described as school gardens but is so much more”. Students develop teamwork, knowledge of sustainability, and an appreciation of beauty and cultural differences.
“[When I opened my first restaurant], I was shocked to discover how many young people working in hospitality knew nothing about food,” she said. “There was a disconnect between food production and what’s on the dinner table. “I realised the only thing that would change kids’ behaviour was positive role models, and stuff they really love. This is about pleasurable food education. “We would like to see a kitchen as part of every school rebuild or upgrade.” In a workshop on best practice, AEU member and environmental educator Adam Surmacz, along with principal Stephen Wigney, demonstrated what a school can do when it puts sustainability at the centre of its mission and vision. Their upbeat slideshow offered an inventory of environmental innovations at Berwick Fields Primary School, from its waste management system and kitchen garden program to its natural wetlands created by run-off from the oval and school buildings, and its involvement in the recent Eco-Cubby Project. The session’s audience was particularly keen to hear how the school had managed to adopt a whole-school approach, with many at the conference feeling that they were carrying the load for sustainability in their own schools. Wigney explained that responsibility for the community, including the environment, was at the heart of the education offered at Berwick Fields PS — and that staff operate with this in mind. ◆ The AEU is keen to hear from schools with good sustainability practice in light of planning for the 2011 Green Schools Conference. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam Surmacz wants to give his students the feel for nature he had as a child. Cynthia Karena meets one of a new breed of environmental educators.
HEN Adam Surmacz was a kid, there was nothing he liked better than getting his hands dirty. It’s a chance he says too many of his young students don’t get. “When I was their age I was catching tadpoles, playing in the creek, and climbing trees,” he says. “I developed a connection with the environment, but my students are missing out on that.” Now aged 29, Adam teaches environmental education to Prep and Year 1 and 2 students at Berwick Fields Primary School, and is completing a Masters in Education, investigating teaching sustainability using children’s literature. It’s something he wouldn’t have expected a few years ago. Working as a before and afterschool carer, he didn’t think teaching was for him. But after a local government office job and stints in hospitality and retail, Adam gave teaching a second look. “For me, it’s not about how much profit can be made,” he says. “I wanted to be involved with something bigger than me, and something ongoing. “I like connecting with people; I like face-toface contact with students and parents. Being chained to a desk is fairly limiting.” He says his students are the inspiration for his environmental lessons. “It starts from the students and this year they are interested in animals. We also learn how to care for the environment in everyday actions (such as) recycling. “The reason we have environmental education at school is because the parents want it. They want to know how to live sustainably themselves. They want more information.” The school is participating in an Eco-Cubby Project run by City of Melbourne and Regional Arts Victoria. “Two architects worked with students to design an eco cubby, talking to them about designing sustainable housing, using recycled materials and reducing water use. We’re building the cubby next year.”
Despite a lack of political will in developing adequate environmental policies, Adam believes change can happen through educating students. “Students will become part of a better informed community connected to the environment and environmental issues. They will vote eventually.”
The most important thing I take into the classroom every day is … Probably a carrot. I eat well to keep my energy up and it’s good to model healthy eating with my students. The best trick for coping with staff meetings is … To try and get there early so I can grab a drink and chat with colleagues. My advice to a beginning teacher is … Shut the door and try everything! If you’re not making mistakes you’re probably not learning. The most important thing the AEU does for its members is … Advocate on our behalf. Having a dedicated collective voice helps to improve our conditions so that we can get on with helping our students and communities. The most inspirational figures in my life are … My grandparents, who were post-war migrants. While their experience is hard to imagine, it taught me a lot about appreciating what I have. In my other life I am … A keen runner. After two half-marathons this year I am ready to start training for a full marathon in 2011. The film that changed my life was … An Inconvenient Truth. It raised so much awareness about the challenge of global warming. My favourite teacher at school was … Mrs Kennedy. She encouraged me to read more, helped me to understand myself and think about the world in different ways. ◆
Being passionate about education and “making a difference” doesn’t stop at primary school kids. Adam also works with third-year Monash University education students who come to the school. “I like helping to guide teachers before they get into the profession.” Adam is one of the AEU’s elected councillors. If he wasn’t always sure about teaching, he was always certain about the value of a union. He joined the AEU as a student teacher. “It was a way of finding out about professional issues, and the professional development the union provides is really good, and often free or affordable. “As a student teacher, training beyond university is expensive. It’s great that the union provides PD for student teachers as well.” And “the union has your back” when negotiating contracts on your behalf, he says. He is impressed that the AEU’s commitment to the environment translates to keeping its own house in order. “It had its own building audited, and it looked at how to reduce energy and water use. “The AEU creates an awareness of the issues, and provides training relevant to members who are interested in sustainability and the environment.” He and his colleagues presented a paper about the sustainable programs the school runs at the inaugural AEU/VIEU Victorian Green Schools conference last month. Adam is also involved in the AEU’s new educators’ network, for members in their first four years of teaching. He was part of the Victorian delegation to an AEU New Educators national conference in Brisbane, and he’s keen to follow that up with something in Victoria to bring new educators together. “There are different issues for new educators. For example, why aren’t they staying on? “We want to organise a similar conference here to get beginning teachers to discuss the issues we face and what the union can do to support us.” ◆
Never too young A Melbourne primary school has founded a successful exchange program with a school in Hong Kong. Rachel Power AEU News
HEN a cultural exchange between Melbourne and Hong Kong primary school students was first mooted, Pat McKay’s initial response was that the kids were too young. Three years on, the Princes Hill Primary School teacher says she has been “blown away” by the growth in the Year 5/6 students who take part in the 10-day exchange with Luk Hing Too PS in Hong Kong. “It is like you are travelling with nine friends — the maturity that comes out. They have to be very independent.” The exchange came about following a 2005 visit to Melbourne by a group of Chinese teachers undertaking a six-week intensive ESL course. One teacher, from Luk Hing Too, had been given a brief from her principal to seek out a school interested in an exchange program. She suggested Princes Hill PS. With one year missed due to swine flu, the school has just participated in its third exchange, with 12 students visiting Hong Kong in late October, followed by a return visit from their Chinese counterparts. In a busy trip, students go on fun excursions and attend school with their hosts. In order to take part, students have to make submissions addressing specific criteria. A panel then reviews the applications and makes a selection. The school council also sponsors the participation of two students each year who have experienced some kind of trauma in their lives. “We have twice-weekly briefings regarding cultural customs, so the kids know what to expect. The main
Students from Princes Hill PS with their Chinese hosts.
cultural impact is having to learn to live with another family in a very different culture,” says Pat. “Kids are always concerned about the food they might be served. They were all handling chicken feet by the end!” Pat says kids from both countries are struck by differences in educational approaches. “The major one is that everything [in China] is so driven by textbooks and exams, and that impacts on the pay the teacher gets and whether students get into their high school of choice. “They have very different ways of learning. Here, we have an inquiry-based system and the kids are doing a lot of negotiating about what they want to investigate within that curriculum. For the Chinese students, it’s a bit of freedom and release from this rigid, textbook-driven scenario. “While one Chinese student was here in Melbourne, his mother was on the phone every night making sure he was doing his homework. The amount of homework they get is astounding. The kids come away saying, ‘Pat, don’t you get any ideas here!’” Teachers also take part in a professional exchange, with Australian teachers hosting English lessons, and Chinese teachers giving demonstrations in calligraphy, art and Mandarin. Pat says Australian students are always struck by the lack of space in China. “The school is a seven-storey concrete block. They have a tiny microastroturf basketball court and that’s it. They gain a much better understanding of cultural differences and how fortunate they are.” ◆ PHOTOS COURTESY PAT MCKAY
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aeu news | december 2010
Income protection for AEU members Brian Henderson branch secretary
NE of our most valuable assets is our ability to earn an income. But in the event of accident or sickness, if income stops, how do the bills get paid? Over the past few months the AEU has worked closely with Fenton Green & Co, an insurance broker with considerable expertise in the design and implementation of income protection plans. We are therefore pleased to announce a new income protection insurance plan, especially designed for AEU members. It gives members access to an insurance program that will help provide security for you and your family. We have negotiated premium payment options: weekly, fortnightly or monthly, by direct debit through your financial institution or by credit card — Visa or MasterCard. You can select the weekly income benefit that best suits your needs, up to 85% of your gross income to an overall maximum of $2000 per week. Full details can be found in the members’ area of the AEU website, www.aeuvic.asn.au/members. ◆
Program recommended I
FEEL very privileged to have participated in the Young Member Activist Program this year and highly recommend the experience to anyone wanting to learn more about the inner workings of the AEU. Our week in the YMAP coincided with the launch of the union’s pre-election Luke Day and Shelly Benoit advertising campaign stepping up pressure on state Labor and the Coalition to improve public education. On our first day, Mary Bluett spent time with us explaining elements of the campaign, answering any questions we had and discussing our personal experiences. Other highlights of our week included attending Mary’s meeting with education department secretary Peter Dawkins at Treasury Place, and attending an Equal Pay Day morning tea at Trades Hall marking all the extra days each year it takes women to catch up to men’s annual earnings. Many thanks to Andrew Cassidy and the AEU leadership team for your time and support throughout the program. It was a great pleasure spending time with so many inspiring and hard-working people, so passionate and dedicated to improving the teaching and learning conditions in our public education system. ◆ — Shelly Benoit Wallarano Primary School
inside the AEU
Barbara Jennings women’s officer
Like men, only cheaper That seems to be the Federal Government’s view as it betrays some of our lowest paid members with a backflip on equal pay.
OMEN — they’re like men, only cheaper. That seems to be the Federal Government’s view, or at least the view of Australia’s first woman prime minister, despite a lifetime of public support for working people. The AEU joins other union women and men who feel betrayed by the Prime Minister and her government in their submission to Fair Work Australia in our equal pay case. This is the case which seeks to overturn decades of underpayment to workers in community, social and disability services — workers whose skills, experience and qualifications are not reflected in their pay packets because most of them are women. It’s the case which was brought by unions with the full knowledge and apparent support of the Federal Government and Julia Gillard, who now tell FWA that it should take into account the Commonwealth’s parlous finances before making any decision. It seems that once again some of the lowest paid and hardest working women will be sold short at the same time as executive salaries continue to balloon. These women will be the real casualties of the GFC. The AEU had congratulated the former Victorian Labor Government for its commitment to fully fund the outcomes of the case. It’s disappointing that a state government can manage its finances more responsibly than a federal government. The AEU will be informing members about possible community rallies to let the Prime Minister and her very precarious government know that it is not OK to break a promise. Speaking up, speaking loud On a more positive note: last March, the Victorian Women’s Trust, working with the greatly experienced Vicki Fitzgerald, received a leadership grant from the Office of Women’s Policy for Vida’s Voices — a Victoria-wide public speaking competition for Year 10 girls. Vicki is a long-time AEU member who taught at Preston Girls’ Secondary College. She developed this marvellous, innovative program to build confidence and leadership skills among Year 10 girls. Twenty girls from migrant and refugee backgrounds and a range of cultures formed the Preston Girls Leaders Group. Vicki trained them in leadership and public speaking and then took them on the road to run training sessions with girls at schools in regional areas including Morwell, Seymour, Colac and Ballarat. These areas were then revisited and competitions were run with girls giving one prepared and one impromptu speech. For the prepared speech they were asked to pick something that has been important in positively changing women’s status in Australian society and outline the consequences. The grand final was held at BMW Edge in Federation Square on October 31, with an inspiring address by Susan Brennan, YWCA world president. The winner was Iryna Byelyayeva from Elwood College. Vida’s Voices is seeking funding and hoping to expand this great program in 2011. If you school is interested in getting involved, please contact me on (03) 9417 2822. ◆
inside the AEU
AEU TRAINING & PD Kim Daly and Rowena Matcott training officers
Spreading the load
Next year will see a major change to our popular AEU Active course — allowing members to spread their training across the year.
EXT year will be another busy one for schools with the negotiation of new teacher and ES agreements, and teaching and dealing with the multiple challenging behaviours of students (and some colleagues). It is vital that every sub-branch has at least two people AEU-trained to understand your basic entitlements, consultation provisions and how to create local agreements, as well as how to run the sub-branch. We are conscious that it is becoming more difficult for ES staff and teachers to organise two consecutive days out of school. To this end we have a new training package for
2011 alongside the ever-popular two-day AEU Active program. We will present one-day workshops in Abbotsford, outer metropolitan Melbourne and in various country locations on the topics c onsultation & employment and know your agreements. These are designed so that participants can come to one or both days in the one term or over the year. Term 4 will add a range of workshops on local agreements — planning for the year ahead. All these courses will be open to all schools members — ES, teachers and principal class.
Our new calendar Early in 2011, every AEU sub-branch will receive a copy of our first-ever AEU Events Calendar, a handy booklet setting out all of our training courses, conferences, forums and other events. AEU training covers all sectors and the calendar will detail opportunities for members in early childhood, TAFE and disability services as well as for schools. The publication will also set out our programs for OHS representatives, the women’s program, and forums and conferences for student teachers, beginning teachers and CRT
members. The Term 1 schools program is below and all events can also be found on the AEU website — go to www.aeuvic.asn.au/calendar and our training section www.aeuvic.asn. au/training. All bookings in 2011 will be via the online booking system. We would like to thank our 2010 participants for their enthusiasm, feedback and positive contributions. We wish you all a well deserved and relaxing break and the allotment of your dreams in 2011. ◆
AEU TRAINING CALENDAR TERM 1 2011 All courses and conferrences are full-day events unless indicated. Upcoming events can be found on the AEU Calendar at www.aeuvic.asn.au/calendar.
Two day courses Feb 23-24.................AEU Abbotsford Mar 24-25........................... Geelong Mar 24-25........................ Whittlesea CONSULTATION AND EMPLOYMENT (one day) Mar 2.........................AEU Abbotsford Mar 4.......................................Echuca Mar 9.............................Sandringham Mar 29......................AEU Abbotsford Mar 30.................................Warragul KNOW YOUR AGREEMENT (one day) Mar 11.................................Gisborne Mar 16......................Yering Meadows Mar 17......................AEU Abbotsford OTHER ONE DAY COURSES Mar 9.......Principals, AEU Abbotsford Apr 1........New reps, AEU Abbotsford
aeu news | december 2010
ES TWILIGHT CONFERENCE Hands-on workshops, keynote speakers and a chance to network. 3pm–6pm unless indicated. Feb 21..................................Werribee Mar 3.................... Echuca 4pm–8pm (with dinner) Mar 10.............................Toolem Vale Apr 7..................................Mordialloc EARLY YEARS CONFERENCE Mar 25-26................AEU Abbotsford REFRESHER COURSES Three-day courses run by Deakin University with the AEU, for teachers returning to work after a long break such as family leave. Jan 25-28.........................Deakin Uni, Burwood Campus Feb 1-3......................AEU Abbotsford Feb 23-24.................AEU Abbotsford Mar 23-25.............................Geelong Apr 12-14..............................Bendigo
APPLICATION WRITING Help with the next step from VELC, held at the AEU in Abbotsford Mar 15..for leading teacher positions Mar 23..............for principal positions Apr 19...for leading teacher positions OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY Feb 28...........................OHS seminar, AEU Abbotsford (4.30pm–6pm) Mar 22..........OHS forum, Dandenong (1pm–4pm) Mar 29.................OHS forum, Benalla (9am–12pm) PD IN THE PUB These popular after-school events for new educators will be held in 13 pubs and venues around Victoria between March 15 and April 7. Term 1’s subject is behaviour management. More details at www.aeuvic.asn.au/nen. ◆
F YOU have new teachers joining your school for 2011, let TLN help you plan their induction. Look at these opportunities early in Term 1 and register new staff now to ensure a place is reserved for them. TLN 2011 programs are now online at www.tln.org.au. All these events take place at the AEU office in Abbotsford. Getting Feedback Right From the Start: February 24, 4.15–6.15pm — with Glen Pearsall Beyond Telling Off: March 9, 9.30am–4pm — with Jo Lange And ensure new staff have a copy of And Gladly Teach: A Classroom Handbook, the bestseller from Glen Pearsall, that helps people understand instructional practice and student engagement. The book is now in its second reprint and is available only from TLN Press on (03) 9418 4992, for just $14.95.◆
inside the AEU
On the PHONES Membership Services Unit — 1800 013 379
Pay days, sick days and holidays David Bunn MSU officer
MPLOYERS have a legal obligation to provide employees with a pay slip. The DEECD now provides these via eduPay, a system which can only be accessed by some computers in DEECD locations. This location need not be the employee’s regular work site. While the department argues that this meets its legal obligation, it clearly does not do so for staff prevented from attending a DEECD location (eg because of illness). The AEU has been seeking improvements on this matter for months. Uncertificated sick days The introduction of eduPay has imposed a uniform policy on schools in relation to part-time employees’ entitlement to uncertificated personal leave (sick or carer’s leave). From now on a person who works 0.6 time fraction will be able to take only 60% of the five uncertificated days — that is, three days. ES staff now have five days (or pro rata) over a
calendar year, rather than the year beginning on the anniversary of their appointment. In this transition year, some ES have exhausted their uncertificated sick days in anticipation of a further five days on their anniversary, only to find they have to survive till 31 December. The AEU is seeking to have these adverse impacts smoothed over. Early childhood teachers and Christmas If your employer pays you by direct credit then it will continue to do so fortnightly through the holidays. If you wish to be paid in advance on the last day of term you must notify your employer. Quote clause 43.3 of the VECTAA. School teachers: resignation date Ongoing teachers — or contract teachers in the midst of a contract — who wish to resign at the end of term, should say in their written resignation that they resign effective the start of business on the first day of Term 1, 2011 (February 1). This way you are paid until January 31.
TAFE teachers and holiday hours Under the TAFE Agreement, teachers are required to be present for 42 weeks a year. If you are required to attend in January to assist with enrolments (for instance), that time counts in your 42 weeks. Any week in which you must attend counts as one week, regardless of whether you are required to attend the full week. Most, if not all, TAFE employers operate on the basis that the first four weeks of approved absence in a year are the teacher’s annual leave. Subsequent absences will count as those weeks beyond 42 in which attendance is not required. Disability services shutdown Most disability services have at least one shutdown during the year. Employees, particularly new staff, may not have enough annual leave to cover the whole Christmas closure — typically three weeks, with three public holidays. Some employers will allow you to “borrow” leave which you will accrue in the future (meaning that you will always be in arrears); others will not. If you can survive the first year with some unpaid period then you are probably better off over the long term not to eat into next year’s credits. ◆
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explain your resignation or retirement options complete any necessary forms help you decide if you need personal financial planning advice, and * refer you to a qualified financial planner . And, to make the cost of financial planning more affordable, you may be eligible to receive a rebate of up to $1,000^ to cover all or part of the cost of the super component of your financial planning advice. That’s up to $1,000 rebate for financial advice.
For more information, ask your Member Education Consultant by calling 1300 655 476 today. * ESSSuper has partnered with Industry Fund Financial Planning (IFFP) to offer our members fee-for-service financial advice from an IFFP financial planner. IFFP is a division of Industry Fund Services Pty Ltd (ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232 514) ^ Available to existing ESSSuper members and their partners who receive financial planning advice and stay with us. The rebate will be paid into an existing or ‘new’ ESSSuper accumulation account. Full terms and conditions are available on our website www.esssuper.com.au/soundadvice
inside the AEU
New Educators NETWORK Andrew Cassidy graduate teacher organiser
New educators go national
The first-ever national meeting of AEU new educators groups gave our newest teachers a taste of the campaigns ahead.
VER Cup weekend, a group of eight new educators and members of the AEU Vic team travelled up to Brisbane for the 2010 New Educators Conference. This was the first such gathering of AEU officials and new educators, and the discussion over the two days was both inspiring and thought-provoking. AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos spoke to us about the role of public education and the schools funding review — possibly the most important review in education in the past 40 years. His well-timed message provided inspiration for delegates to help put together submissions on behalf of their schools. Make sure you encourage your school to put in a submission for the federal funding review. It is vital that schools voice their
concern. If you need further information please contact the AEU on (03) 9417 2822. Peter Hill, CEO of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and Justine Ferrari, education journalist from The Australian offered their thoughts on the role of teachers and the new national curriculum. The topic of the curriculum raised more questions than answers but did confirm that more consultation was needed with teachers to make it more user-friendly. Victorian delegates were particularly good at expressing their feelings on writing new curricula for their schools based on only a draft curriculum from ACARA which may yet change. Ms Ferrari challenged the idea that more funding was necessary in education — much to the dismay
Vic delegates in Brisbane, Nov 2010 L-R: Angelo Gavrielatos, Andrew Cassidy, Shelly Benoit, Alice Wirth, James Rankin, Erin O’Grady, Veronica Pender, Adam Surmacz, Heidi Krieger, Corey Assender, Erin Greaves and Erin Aulich.
of conference, particularly the Victorian delegates who were very keen to express their views. We also heard from new educator organisers around Australia. It was clear that the states may operate differently but all are giving great opportunities for new educators to become involved in their union. Finally, ACTU president Ged Kearney spoke about life as a union campaigner and left conference with the inspiration to carry on the good work of education unionists of the past. This was an inspiring weekend and I thank our delegates for their attendance. I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday. Come back refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead. ◆
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aeu news | december 2010
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— what can you do? Stella Gold Holding Redlich
S A teacher, your voice is crucial. Can you imagine what it would be like to lose your voice, permanently? Could you continue to work as a teacher? Unfortunately, this is what happens to some teachers. Injuries to the voice caused by overuse can be debilitating, both personally and professionally. In severe cases, people suffering voice injuries may find it difficult to speak above a whisper. Open-plan classrooms, poor acoustics, speaking over background noise and simply talking for too long or too loudly are all risk factors in developing injuries to your voice. Yet injuries to the voice can be preventable. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has recognised voice injuries as an OHS issue, and has developed a Voice Care program to help teachers look after their voices and prevent problems developing. A wide variety of strategies are available, including training in effective voice techniques, minimising harmful vocal habits, and voice amplification if necessary. Details of the Voice Care program and related resources can be found on the DEECD website at tinyurl.com.au/yir. Disappointingly, it does not seem to have been well publicised, and many teachers remain unaware of the risks of work-related voice injury and how these risks might be reduced. If you have a work-related voice injury, you are entitled to make a WorkCover claim for medical expenses. If the injury stops you from working as a teacher, you may even be entitled to weekly compensation payments. In serious cases, loss of voice can lead to an entitlement to lump sum compensation or even a claim for damages in negligence. Should you have any queries with any work-related injury, call the AEU on (03) 9417 2822. ◆ Stella Gold is a lawyer with Holding Redlich, the AEU’s solicitors.
inside the AEU
Safety MATTERS Janet Marshall OHS officer
OHS and the
Two AEU events have highlighted the old adage that prevention is better than cure.
WO events on the same day last month offered contrasting approaches to tackling problems. The AEU and VIEU’s Green Schools Conference on November 25 took a look at environmental issues and sustainable practices in schools (see page 20), while the AEU also hosted a twilight seminar for Asbestos Awareness Week to bring together interested parties to consider an approach to eliminating asbestos in our schools. On the one hand, the Green Schools Conference was proactively educating for a sustainable future; on the other, the asbestos forum was seeking ways to mop up after an environmental and industrial disaster that continues to have tragic consequences. Just as population growth, energy policies, urbanisation and deforestation all contribute to global climate change, they also contribute to an increase in heat stress, chemical intolerance, eye effects, immune dysfunction, allergies, mental stress and more. The link between a healthy environment and healthy and safe OHS practices couldn’t be any clearer. Collaboration with environmental scientists and the green movement is welcomed and encouraged. Summer reading: our new OHS laws Safe Work Australia releases the draft model Work Health and Safety Regulations for public comment this month, along with the most important of the model codes of practice. These form part of the new national OHS (or WHS as we must learn to call it) regime which is being created under the Gillard Government’s pledge to harmonise Australia’s multiple state and federal OHS laws. There will be a four-month comment period. The laws will be adopted by each state by January 2012. Victorian Trades Hall Council via its OHS officer Cathy Butcher has been intensively involved in contributing to the drafting process. The public comment period will provide a further opportunity for unions and individuals to shape the laws. Further information is available at www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au. Returning to work after an injury Injured workers can face huge hurdles in accessing a suitable and supportive return to work position and environment. The hurdle grows even bigger when the injury is stress-related. Research shows that long-term absence, work disability and unemployment have a further and long-term detrimental impact on health and wellbeing for the worker and their family. Negative return-to-work practices and biases in our workplaces need to be checked and challenged. It requires a team effort and needs to be a positive experience if it is to be a success. To understand your rights or those of your co-workers, check out WorkSafe’s advice on returning to work at tinyurl.com.au/yk8 or its dedicated Return to Work website at tinyurl.com.au/yk7. ◆
AIREYS INLET Two bedrm beach house available before Christmas then after Jan 1. Rental: $940 per week / $140 any additional nights. Suitable for four tenants (negotiable); half a block from ocean and cliff walk; 2 bedrooms: one with Queen size bed; 2nd with two single beds, extra fold out bed available; large living/kitchen area. Contact Kate: kateherbert@netspace. net.au or (03)9486 2222
CENTRAL VIETNAM Farmstay resort, comfortable accommodation in new French colonial style building in stunning rural setting. near UNESO World Heritage Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and caves. Experience the real Vietnam. Email/Facebook phongnhafarmstay@ gmail.com; www.phong-nha-cave.com driveEUROPE Peugeot Citroen Renault 2011 European specials out NOW Our 37th year of service to the European traveller. Email: enquiries@ driveeurope.org (02) 9437 4900
AIREY’S INLET HOLIDAY RENTAL Holiday rental, 3 bdrms, 2 living, large decks, 1 acre garden, bbq, woodfire. Phone 0416 234 808. AIREYS-IN-THE-BUSH Three self-contained cottages on one site at Aireys Inlet. 1.5 kms to Sunnymead Beach. Holiday with your family or friends over summer. Email June and John at firstname.lastname@example.org OR phone (03) 9397 1921 or 0439 447 110 for further information.
FRANCE — LANGUEDOC Two renovated stone houses in tranquil village near Carcassone, sleep four or eight, from $600 a week. See website at www.frenchrentalhouses. bigpondhosting.com; or phone (02) 4757 1019; 0414 968 397; email email@example.com
AIREY’S INLET SATIS BEACH HOUSE Stylish and comfortable 3 bdrm house for six on the beach side of Great Ocean Road. Paddle our canoe on the inlet, walk to the lighthouse, cliff walk and beaches. Phone (03) 5380 8228 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRANCE — PROVENCE Restored 17th-century house in mediaeval fortified village of Entrevaux. Spectacular location, close to Côte d’Azur and Italy. Contact owners (03) 5258 2798 or (02) 9948 2980. www.provencehousestay.com.
HOLIDAY HOUSE PHILLIP ISLAND, VENTNOR Two bdrm sleeps 6, available weekends and holidays. Jane (03) 9387 9397 or 0431 471 611 or Louise (03) 9343 6030 or 0413 040 237. LAKE HOUSE HEALESVILLE Is the perfect place to relax and revitalise. Boutique-styled home, suitable for one or two couples. Nestled in a very quiet location and is blessed with picturesque rural views and overlooks a beautiful lake with abundant birdlife. Contact Joan 0427 960 738 www.lakehousehealesville.com LAKES ENTRANCE Relax in a two bedroom beach house 100m from the front lake. Park the car and walk to the beach, surf, mini golf, licensed supermarket and everything Lakes has to offer. Take a day trip to the Buchan Caves or Metung Village. Email email@example.com or phone 0425 700 697. LORNE COTTAGE Sleeps 4, panoramic views, 5 mins beach and shops. Available December and January. Phone (03) 9387 4329. WILSONS PROM/WARATAH BAY Cosy 3 bdrm SC cottage. Wood fire; verandas; sunsets; myriad native birds, fauna & flora; scenic walks, beaches. www.promclose.com WYE RIVER “Wye Eyrie”: three bdrm house, all facilities, woodfire, balcony. Superb panorama: ocean, rockpools, surf, river, path to beach. (03) 9714 8425; firstname.lastname@example.org
aeu news | december 2010
FRANCE — SOUTH WEST Renov 17thC 2 bdrm apart in elegant Figeac, “centreville”, or cottage in Lauzerte, 12thC hilltop village. Low cost. www.flickr. com/photos/clermont-figeac/ or www. flickr.com/photos/les-chouettes/ Ph teacher owner (03) 9877 7513 or email email@example.com for brochure. ITALY — FLORENCE Beautiful fully furnished apartment in historic centre. Sleeps 2-6, $1,700 pw, telephone 0419 025 996 or www.convivioapartment.com.
SOUTH OF FRANCE — LANGUEDOC Two charming newly renovated traditional stone houses with outside terraces. Sleeps 4 or 6. Market town, capital of Minervois, wine growing region, close to lake, Canal Midi, Mediterranean beaches, historic towns. From $460 per week. Visit, Web: www.languedocgites.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. SOUTH OF FRANCE Lovely village house in the "heart of a wine growing region." www.myfrenchhome.com.au. Julie 0403 314 928 TEACHER TOURS APRIL 9 2011 School Visits Tax Claimable. 14 days. Non teachers welcome. CHINA: Beijing, Grt Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Xian, Terracotta Warriors, Pandas, Yangtze Cruise, Three Gorges, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai. Many tours and shows. etc. All meals $4399 pp twin. VIETNAM: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Marble MT, China Beach, HoiAn, Nha Trang, Saigon, Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels. Tours etc. $3199 pp twin. Email: email@example.com or Phone 0431 359 283 for itineraries.
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FINANCE Need money in a hurry? We offer short term personal loans from $500–$10,000 (Conditions Apply). CALL US NOW for a quick pre-approval. Tel: 1300 654 230. WEB: qef.com.au Quick and Easy Finance. The name says it all! HOUSESITTING Country couple seeks HOUSESITTING. Jan Holidays. Melb area. Experienced. 0412 483 159. PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR CASUAL RELIEF TEACHERS IN VICTORIA Detailed information for beginners. $24.95 including postage www.vjsales.com.au RETIREMENT VICTORIA Visit us at www.retirevic.com.au. RETIRING SOON? Volunteers for Isolated Students’ Education recruits retired teachers to assist families with their Distance Education Program. Travel and accommodation provided in return for six weeks teaching. Register at www.vise.org.au or George Murdoch (03) 9017 5439 Ken Weeks (03) 9876 2680. VISAS IMMIGRATION For the professional advice you need — contact Ray Brown. Phone (03) 5792 4056 or 0409 169 147. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Migration Agents Registration No. 0213358.
ITALY — UMBRIA Apartment. Beautiful sunny 2 bdrm. Historic Centre Citta Di Castello €625pw 2p, €675 3-4p. 0414 562 659 email@example.com PROVENCE — LANGUEDOC Large village house. Luxury plus location. Suitable for up to eight adults. (03) 5444 1023 www.houserentalfrance.com.au. ROME Studio apartment, Piazza Bologna, beautifully appointed, sleeps 2, opens onto garden courtyard, $1100 pw, telephone 0419 488 865 or www.ninoapartmentrome.com.
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TALKING Down on the farm
HE growing popularity of organic produce is not confined to meat, fruit, grain and vegetables. An increasing number of winemakers are now working within an organic or biodynamic regime and their fermented fruits are looking very smart indeed. Apart from my own personal experience, many show judges and those who sample wine for a living report significant overall improvement in the quality of this production sector. Indeed, an argument can be made that organically and biodynamically grown and made wines actually taste better. One very impressive Victorian winery about to receive biodynamic certification is Bress at Harcourt, south of Bendigo. Winemaker Adam Marks refers to the property as “the farm” because he grows much more than just grapes. He has a large apple orchard for cider, extensive vegetable and herb gardens, and he breeds splendid Bress chickens as well as guinea fowl and geese. It’s one of Victoria’s best cellar door destinations for all sorts of reasons, not the least being the tasty food available on weekends. Phone (03) 5474 2262. Meanwhile, try these handy (non-organic) commercial releases: TAHBILK MARSANNE 2009 ($15): Yet another top vintage of one of our most dependable and delightful dry whites. YALUMBA PEWSEY VALE RIESLING 2009 ($20): In its varietal class and price bracket, unbeatable! PETER LEHMANN CLANCY’S RED 2008 ($12): About as good as it gets at this modest price. THREE BROTHERS REUNITED SHIRAZ 2009 ($11): Easy drinking dry red for casual meals (email@example.com). THE NOSEY PARKER BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2008 ($14): Typical Barossa warmth and depth of flavour (firstname.lastname@example.org). LOCK & KEY RIESLING 2010 ($15) and SHIRAZ 2009 ($15): Two absolute purlers from Moppity (Young, NSW) which is gradually gaining some market penetration in Victoria (www.moppity.com.au or email@example.com). TIM KNAPPSTEIN RIPOSTE DAGGER PINOT NOIR 2010 ($19): Best under $20 pinot in Australia, if not the world! (www.timknappstein.com.au).◆
HE corridors are thick with festive joy as students and teachers approach the end of the school year. After surviving the excitement that is report writing, teachers begin the end-of-year rituals of cleaning the desk, loading the car with work and discarding enormous piles of worksheets they’ve been meaning to deal with since Term 2. Strange items can be discovered during this time, including the long-lost pile of Year 7 Science posters I thought the cleaner must have disposed of and, for some, parts of their lunch from many months before. “I am never, ever going to let my desk get into this state again,” resolves Tania, as she gingerly lifts a collapsed apple from the back of her desk cupboard. For weeks, we had wondered why we could smell something akin to cider. I nod in agreement, as I pile at least a week’s worth of photocopying into the paper recycling bin. I decide that, in order to be a better teacher, colleague and person, I must develop and adhere to a list of New Year’s Teaching Resolutions. 1. Avoid procrastination at all costs. This means not prioritising a television show of dubious storyline above marking English essays and not undertaking monumental household chores (like reorganising the pantry and linen cupboard before landscaping the back garden) during report-writing time. 2. Be super-organised. This means doing all my photocopying for class the day before, thereby avoiding stressful situations involving uncooperative paper cassettes and toners and a bell ringing to remind me I should already be in class. 3. Bring sufficient food to last the whole day. This will remove the temptation to stockpile food items covered in chocolate at staff morning teas. 4. Limit my consumption of caffeine. I do not need to be buzzing around school buildings speaking at a rapid rate and having a pounding heart in order to prove I am awake.
5. Arrive at school earlier. This will assist me to adhere to Resolutions 1 and 2. In order to achieve this, I must refrain from settling down to read the newspaper when I am already running late and then staring off into space while eating my toast. 6. Look alert and interested in all staff meetings. This will be difficult to achieve in conjunction with Resolution 4 but, if I make myself sit near Greg the Principal, I will be unable to close my eyes or write shopping lists on the agenda. 7. Be a constant inspiration to my students and fellow teachers. This relies on successfully adhering to Resolutions 1–6 and maintaining a bright and bubbly outlook at all times, even when photocopiers have not cooperated, reports are looming or I have picked up a Year 9 Woodwork extra. Of course, I won’t be starting to adhere to these resolutions until the start of the 2011 school year, because I need all the caffeine I can get in order to survive until the last day. ◆ Comedian and teacher Christina Adams gives it until the end of Week 1.
... and the reading is easy
Whether you’re heading for the beach, the back-blocks or the backyard, summer is the time to catch up on reading for pleasure. Rachel Power tackles this year’s must-reads for everyone from holiday romantics to eco-warriors. Melbourne Sophie Cunningham (NewSouth Books, $29.95) Beginning on Black Saturday, writer and editor Sophie Cunningham offers a “year in the life” of Melbourne, musing on the elements that have shaped the city — weather, music, laneways, footy, coffee, food, books, the Yarra, public transport and suburbia. Sphere of Influence Gideon Haigh (MUP, $34.99) Haigh’s book is sports journalism at its finest. What you see is never what you get with cricket, especially when it comes to what happens off the pitch. Haigh provides a disturbing education for those less than well-versed in cricket administration and the politicking that comes with it.
sense of who and what he is will ineluctably change. Into The Woods Anna Krien (Black Inc, $29.95) Intrepid reporting from a fearless new voice, Krien has been described as our “young, female Hunter S Thompson”. Armed with a notebook, a sleeping bag and a rusty sedan, Krien ventures behind the battlelines of Tasmania’s old-growth forests to see what it is like to risk everything for a cause. Essential reading.
Hand Me Down World Lloyd Jones (Text, $32.95) From the NZ author of the award-winning Mister Pip, this is the story of Ines, an African refugee who travels to Berlin looking for her son. A My Favourite Teacher Robert Macklin (ed) (NewSouth Books, modern story of people-smuggling, $32.95) racism, dispossesWell-known Australians join contributors from all walks of life to tell stories sion and honour about their favourite teachers. Whether written with passionate, flamboyant, earnest, breathdisciplinarian or free-spirited, all had taking an enduring impact on the lives of lyricism. their students. How to Make Gravy Paul Kelly (Penguin, $49.95) Subtitled A Mongrel Memoir, this is indeed quite a beast: part memoir, part tour diary, part song-writing manual, this sprawling book is packed with letters, lists, confessions, hymns and yarns, pulled together by Kelly’s unique storytelling ability. The Finkler Question Howard Jacobson (Bloomsbury, $32.99) This year’s Man Booker Prize winner is a sharp and unflinching satire about love, ageing and antiSemitism. Three old school friends spend an evening reminiscing; on his way home, BBC worker Julian Treslove is attacked, and his whole
aeu news | december 2010
Here on Earth Tim Flannery (Text, $34.95) Flannery has the gift of presenting challenging concepts in highly engaging prose. Here On Earth charts the cumulative impact of humans on the Earth’s natural systems and the prospects for redirecting this trajectory onto a sustainable path. Amore and Amaretti Victoria Cosford (Wakefield Press, $24.95) I know, I know … Australian woman dumps husband/job to seek love/life in Tuscany. Heard it all before? Well, this book is a pleasant surprise. While tempestuous love affairs abound, Cosford’s lively behindthe-scenes account of Italy’s restaurant culture is every bit as riveting as her love life. New Australian Stories 2 Aviva Tuffield (ed) (Scribe, $29.95) Tuffield had the daunting task of choosing from
825 submissions to this anthology, to sit alongside stories she sought from well-known authors. The result is an unusually strong and diverse compilation, with stand-outs from Ryan O’Neill, Peggy Frew and Cate Kennedy. Hamlet’s Blackberry William Powers (Scribe, $29.95) Addicted to the screen? Wired as we are by nature to react to new stimuli, the digital age is making it harder for us to focus, do our best work, build strong relationships and find the depth we crave, says Powers. He offers some remedies for those trying to find their way back to some peace and quiet. The Philanthropist John Tesarsch (Sleepers, $27.95) After a heart attack, ageing tycoon Charles Bradshaw abruptly retires and announces that he’s giving his fortune to charity. When an old girlfriend turns up, she brings memories of a terrible secret from their youth. While Charles works to overcome his remorse, his son plots to take over the family empire. A crisp and compelling debut. Preincarnate Shaun Micallef (Hardie Grant, $29.95) According to John Clarke, “If Douglas Adams married Alison Wonderland and they collaborated on crime fiction in Urdu, they might find themselves just off the coast of Shaun Micallef.” That pretty much sums up the inspired delirium of Preincarnate, about a murdered man who is given a chance to save himself when he wakes up 300 years earlier in someone else’s body. What on Earth Are You Wearing? Michi (Penguin, $29.95) Need a gift for your under-25-year-old niece? This is the one. A glossary of fashionisms from this wonderfully droll blogger and Age columnist (“A” is for “acid wash reflux disease”, which affects 1 in every 4 people…); Michi brings a sense of sophistication and subversion to all things fashion.
AEU NEWS is giving members the opportunity to win a variety of Australian resources for their school libraries from our good friends at HarperCollins and Wakefield Press. To enter, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org by 10am Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011. Include your name and school or workplace. Write “Win Teaching Resources” in the subject line. Prizes will be sent directly to the winner’s school or workplace with a special inscription recognising the winner. Good luck!
ELCOME to the Dance Academy series now a major TV series on the ABC. They’ve got the world at their feet... but have they got what it takes? There are five titles in the series, including Learning to Fly by Meredith Costain — Tara navigates the minefields of demanding teachers, gorgeous boys and backstabbing ballerinas. Through the Looking Glass by Rachel Elliot — Abigail is pushing her body beyond the limits. Behind Barres by Sebastian Scott — will Christian ever be able to put his mistakes behind him and live up to his potential as a dancer? Anywhere But Here — Kat soon discovers that working out what she really wants from life is a lot harder than dancing and in Real Men Don’t Dance by Bruno Bouchet Sammy has to overcome his weak ankles and also fight his determined father’s plans for him to become a doctor. HarperCollins, RRP $12.99 each
Dampier’s Monkey — The South Seas Voyages of William Dampier by Adrian Mitchell is more about Dampier himself than his place in history. He lived a colourful life in colourful times. The book illuminates his passions and ambitions, his personal code of conduct, and his own sense of achievement. It examines late 17th century ways of comprehending an expanding world by re-evaluating Dampier’s travel narratives. Wakefield Press, RRP $45 101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic... But Didn’t! by Tim Maltin and Eloise Aston Everyone has a theory about the Titanic and is fascinated by what really happened that night. The stories that abound today are a mix of fact and fiction. Maltin is an expert on the Titanic and sets the record straight on rumours such as: there weren’t enough lifeboats on board; the lookouts didn’t spot the iceberg because they weren’t given binoculars; or the Titanic was on fire when it left Southampton. Wakefield Press, RRP $24.95 The Secret Life of Wombats by James Woodford In 1960, 15-year-old schoolboy Peter Nicholson began to investigate the secret world of wombats by crawling down their burrows and making friends with them. In The Secret Life of Wombats, James Woodford pursues Nicholson’s story and embarks on his own journey to uncover the true nature of our most intriguing marsupial. Wakefield Press, RRP $24.95
Congratulations to our winners from AEU News issue 7: Country — Josephine Lloyd, Buckley Park College; The Dog Fence — Vincenzo Antonetti, Taylors Lakes Secondary College; Too Pickly — Bridget Finch, Woolsthorpe Primary School; Mr Badger and the Big Surprise and Mr Badger and the Missing Ape — Shane Chatwood, Aldercourt Primary School.
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