Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Hard Hats on.
Last term (24.3.2010) we were getting to many big blocks up high, so I showed everyone how to build a tower with big blocks on the bottom and small ones at the top (and how it let you get really high.) As always my rule is "Hard hats on if it's over your head." So I had to wear mine as well.
Building a tower is a great analog of a child's education and indeed for building a countries future. If you invest in a solid base you can reach the sky, pull away the blocks at the bottom and anything you build is wobbly no matter how much glue you buy to make repairs at the top.
I remember a bit over ten years ago when working as the only trained teacher in a centre of 8 staff comparing the difference to a centre I had worked at with 5 out of 5 trained staff. Both got the same funding, but boy was their a difference in the result, despite all the love and efforts of my untrained colleagues.
I ended up retraining as a secondary teacher because wages even for trained teachers in early childhood were so low you couldn't support a family, luckily soon after pay parity across the teaching profession was finally recognised and I could stay in the field I love, a field where I know I've made a difference for many children.
In my career I've seen the blossoming of Quality Early Childhood across the country, especially in the last 6 years, as all centres have been required to have 50% trained staff, a goal that was meant to progress to 100% by 2012. I've been proud to help train those teachers both as an associate and as a lecturer, my students have made me proud in what they've gone on to do for children, armed with their new knowledge and skills.
Sadly I noticed last month the untrained teachers rate having to be raised again last to bring them back up to the minimum wage, that's where we were 25 years ago, having pay rises to help us keep up with the minimum wage, I pay my babysitter more than that.
The exponential growth in budget early childhood from minimum wage to a professional wage has been an investment that has attracted some brilliant teachers to and back to the profession, giving a solid foundation to our education tower, I look forward to the last needed blocks being put in place in the next year or so.