"...these small humans never seem interested in doing what I tell them to do — even when I shout at them. They ask too many questions, they want to go to the bathroom all the time and they whinge, whinge, whinge. It's suffocating."
You'd be forgiven for thinking such a frustrated statement might have come from an overtired, overwrought mother, but no. Instead these are the words of a 23-year-old primary school teacher who wrote an anonymous confession for the Gold Coast Bulletin over fears she might have chosen the wrong career.
In case she still hasn't worked it out I'm happy to be the one to assure her: hell yes you have! And to her I also say my child deserves better than to be taught by someone as selfish and arrogant as you.
Unfortunately I speak from personal experience. In my son's very first year of school he was saddled with a similarly self-centred teacher after staff changes saw his original teacher promoted midterm. We parents were promised this replacement teacher taught in alignment with the one she was taking over from, and the children would hardly notice the change.
They could not have been more wrong.
All of a sudden I had a child who was anxious about attending school. He was not only openly scared of his teacher but now suddenly too terrified to speak up in class, whereas before he was the kid who you could not shut up! And an unhappy child equals an unhappy Mummy. There is no battle more draining than trying to cajole a scared child into going to school, and there is nothing more emotionally exhausting than walking away from their tear stained face at the classroom door.
Because here was a teacher who seemed surprised - nay annoyed - that the main component of her job involved being in charge of 25 small children. Her face wore the permanent scowling expression of "this is so not what I signed up for" and it came as no surprise when she was heard telling one mum "I never wanted to teach Prep, I don't like the little kids".
Sadly, she was not joking. Whether she was screaming at the children (something that could be heard through the brick walls while waiting outside to collect your child and her only way to control her class), trying to fob your child off to you early so she could enjoy an easier afternoon, or complaining about how hard it was to teach with a hangover, she was not interested in enriching the lives of these small kids as they embarked on their education journey. Instead she was putting on a movie every afternoon just to keep them out of her way.
Her dismissive attitude extended to parents as well. With a demeanour that was both unapproachable and unhelpful, should you dare to bother her with a question, you could guarantee the response would be swift and terse, as if you were a naughty child at school! We complained, of course we did. But teachers have each other's backs and even though many parents could confirm each other's stories, still it fell on deaf ears. Until this year. She has not been given a teaching place and for that I am ecstatic! Hello karma...
The problem remains though, with an apparent shortage of teachers coming through the ranks, those like her and the anonymous writer above, will continue to be employed even though they should be chucking in what is clearly an unsuitable career. Because to have such an important and large role in a child's life should be an honour not a cross you have to bear. That appalling attitude is to the detriment of our children, their future and their fragile confidence. And our children deserve so much better than that.