More than Thanks

On Tuesday 7th December, the New South Wales Teachers Federation had its first full day strike in ten years with the launch of the “More than Thanks” Campaign. I went to the rally in Sydney to support the cause. The rally was very well attended with an estimated 15,000 people marching from Hyde Park to NSW Parliament House. It was loud but peaceful. The only police interaction occurred when a group of people opposed to vaccination chose to interfere with the procession.

There is a chronic and worsening teacher shortage. This is especially concerning in “hard to staff” schools in rural and remote areas. Classroom teachers are opting not to step up to leadership positions because the workload is crippling and the extra pay not enough to cover the enormous increase in expectations. Principals are especially burdened by non-teaching related activities. They are expected to be business managers, accountants, HR managers, and expert teachers. They are expected to respond to parents on a nearly 24/7 basis. Further, many of the so called ‘opt-in’ processes are later deemed mandatory, leaving schools scrambling to collect the revered ‘data’.

Although the school was non-operational on that day, the comments on the school’s Facebook page were supportive. It’s obvious that if smart young people are not attracted to the profession it won’t be long before there is no-one qualified to teach our children.

I am subject to a Code of Conduct so it is not possible (even here on a private blog) to state my opinion only facts, but suffice to say I will willingly lose a day’s pay. You can read about the issues I chose to support on the NSWTF campaign website.

Covid lock downs and remote learning, has earned teachers lots of praise, but we need more than that. We need More than Thanks.

More than Thanks Rally.

Earth’s do-over.

This post is a thought bubble. The idea is not yet fully formed. It may never be. It is unlikely that my train of thought is unique or original.

How far back in mankind’s* history would you have to go to do a successful do-over that would right the wrongs of today? Not just “fix” these problems, but make sure they never actually happen. What alternate decisions should we have made? 

What sliding doors did we need to close to prevent the damage we are doing to the earth?

What other path should we have chosen to prevent all the -isms which lead to wars, violence and death. 

What survey questions should we have answered to prevent marginalisation, discrimination and poverty based on how you looked, and who you love? 

Which box should we have picked to prevent the divide between super-rich and everyone else?

Which ancient parents should have practiced better birth control? And then, what behaviours should they have ignored so they were not encouraged?  

What inventions should never have been developed? 

What eureka moments should have been left in the bath?

Religion – more harm than good?

My big three do-over steps

A few ideas come to mind.

  • Money?
  • Religion?
  • Humans themselves?

As I said my idea is a thought bubble but on very shallow inspection it would seem that perhaps humans should not have been invented. Every problem stems from there. I don’t see any other living things causing as many problems as we do. What about art and music and poetry and all those beautiful things we create? Not much good if we can’t breath the air or can’t stand the heat or are worried about land mines.

I’m going to leave this parked here and do some reading and find out what other people think. 

*The fact I had to use that word as opposed to a non-gendered term in itself is something to do-over. 

and don’t worry mum! I’m fine – just thinking out loud 🙂

Old Habits Die Hard!

We’ve all heard the saying “old habits die hard”. Some habits take longer to kill off than others. For example, I have a kitchen broom which I keep in the space between the fridge and the cupboard. There must be thousands of households who put their broom in exactly the same convenient place. Nothing unusual there! However, in my kitchen, there is also a small railing which I use to hang up my oven gloves. Every time I get the broom out, I invariably knock the gloves off the rail and have to pick them up from the floor. 

Maybe not every time but eighty per cent of the time and it’s been like that since I moved in eight years ago! Talk about a habit being hard to kill off! 

In a bolt of problem-solving wizardry, I realised the fridge had two sides and there was a broom-sized-glove-free gap on the other side of the fridge.

Problem solving at its best!

I moved the broom.  

EUREKA! 

What a groundbreaking change!

Mind you when it’s time to sweep, I still automatically look on the glove side. D’OH! Eventually I’ll become habituated to the new habit and look on the other side as a matter of course. 

This may be a tongue in cheek look at my reluctance to change a simple process in my life that was not functioning well. A simple change that was glaringly obvious but not executed. 

I am very certain there would be many more things like this in the world that suffer from the “that’s just the way we do it around here” syndrome. Things that could be changed with little effort but pay big dividends, like working from home

Numbers of people WFH skyrockets!

The number of people working from home has increased dramatically during COVID lockdowns. Once COVID is under control and most of us are vaccinated the necessity for working from home will be removed. But there are plenty of good reasons for it to continue. 

Less commuting is one such reason with a triple win pay off. The employee gets more time in their day, the environment wins especially if it’s car commutes that are reduced and the employer wins because they could rent smaller spaces and hence save money. Not all jobs are of course suitable for working from home, but many “office” jobs are very much suited to it and employees are expressing their preferences.

Some companies are adjusting to a hybrid model where you can combine both working from home days with office days. Another bonus being the “extra” time now available to employees can be used for family or community-based activities enriching our lives. 

On the other hand, all those coffee shops and cafes in the city will have no customers unless they move out to the suburbs and then hey! Guess what? They don’t have to commute either. 

Let’s hope we keep these positive new habits of COVID in play. It will take some adjustment just like me searching for my broom, but it will be worth it in the long run!

a train station with empty platforms
Empty platforms are a part of Lockdown!