The truth about Gonski 2.0

“You are way too fat, you need to drink less, your smoking is a disgusting habit and when was the last time you washed under your arm fat, you stink.”

If a doctor said that to you, you’d take notice.

In fact most of us would not be able to splutter the “yes sir, right away sir, very good sir” out of our mouths fast enough as we nodded blindly in agreement with the power, wisdom and respect of the social status of the doctor.


Doctors go to University after all, they are allowed to judge us; to matter-of-factly impart harsh personal criticism of our life choices.

Teachers on the other hand, what would they bloody know right?

I mean, how dumb are teachers hey? Can I get a fist pump for that truth bullet up in here?

Unfortunately for us, our children and in particular for Gonski 2.0, this is where we are at.

All the politicians, money and best intentions in all the lands will not be able to get Gonski 2.0 right in Canberra because when it really comes down to it we just don’t respect teachers.

Not only do we collectively think we know better than they do about how best to educate our children but we cry foul at even the slightest insinuation that we as parents and guardians are not being totally awesome.

Or at the first suggestion that our little bundles of sainthood could have done something wrong.

“Not my little Johnny, he told me the reason he was in the vicinity of those other kids who were fighting/doing drugs/bullying that new kid is that he was helping to nurse injured baby lizards back to health. I believe him and how dare you accuse my child of such madness. I will be taking this further!”

Despite my best attempts at hyperbole above, despite the objectively outrageous premise that teachers are either so bored or so evil they would lie about what they saw in a playground or classroom, this scenario actually plays out in every school in Australia.

Almost every other day.

And it will keep happening, regardless of any funding increases going to Catholic, Government or Independent schools.

It will keep happening until we collectively empower teachers to do their job, until we back them up, work with them and above all respect them.

I’m talking about the kind of respect that involves having the personal courage to work WITH them when they deliver advice or strategies to you – regardless of how hurt your feelings may be at the implication you may not be being all you can be on the parental front.

The courage to turn on your child and angrily demand and explanation of why they stabbed their classmate with a pencil, instead of accuse their teacher of making up such a fanciful tale (often right in front of little stabby stabicus).

So this week before you jump on social media to lambast inept politicians, greedy Catholics or corrupt unions why not go to the source of the problem and look in a mirror.

Then go and have a respectful chat with your child’s teacher.

Treat them like you would a doctor – maybe thank them for advice, diagnosis or cure they have given recently, ask questions about what areas your child may need to improve on in their education and how you can work with the classroom teacher to help speed up that improvement.

Until we respect teachers as much as we do doctors, all the money in all the Gonski’s won’t make one bit of difference.