The Hon Jeremy Rockliff
Minister for Education
25 January 2017
Dear Mr Rockliff,
I am writing to you as a past President of the AEU and a teacher of over 40 years.
I was handed the attached page from a Hobart state primary school report by a teacher who was angry but too frightened to do anything about it herself.
On reading it, I am absolutely appalled that such a document could be approved by a principal, seen by the teacher, and presumably sent home to parents. This requirement for an eight-year-old child to report on their teacher in this way is unethical and highly inappropriate.
A child should not be asked to report on a teacher’s skills and abilities and comment on how these can be improved and certainly not asked if the teacher “has favourites” in the class.
A teacher’s skills are a matter for the principal and possibly the TRB but NOT the child. It is not hard to imagine what sort of effect a child’s comments could have on any teacher’s self-esteem but particularly on an inexperienced teacher.
I am led to believe by other teachers I know that this sort of reporting has become quite common in our primary schools. If so, it is an appalling indictment of the quality of current principals who are overseeing it.
I intend making this report public through the Tasmanian Times website because I strongly believe the public should know what is going on in our schools but I am also informing you so you will be aware.
*Jean Walker was born in Yorkshire, England. Jean migrated with her parents to Tasmania in 1951. She taught English, Social Science and Special Education in Tasmanian high schools before working as Field Officer for the state branch of the Australian Education Union and as full-time State President from 2004-2008. She was a Civil Marriage Celebrant for twelve years. She has served on several Boards, including Council for the Ageing (COTA) and the Annie Kenny Young Women’s Shelter. She is President of U3A Glenorchy and of the national U3A Online, a “virtual” U3A where all courses are done online. Jean has travelled widely and has taught in the UK and in Sweden. She has three adult sons, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.