The crows are gathered in the Tyburn tree outside the general office so it must be the end of term. Time to enter the room of mirrors and take a good hard look at ourselves . This is not the usual battery of tests and research assignments that so burdens the student body but that long dark Period 6 of the soul called self-assessment.

In Victoria we are blessed with a professional body devoted, it seems, to exposing for the profit and delight of the media the peccadilloes of paedophiles in our midst. Of the triumphs and achievements of the teaching fraternity there is nary a word. For this privilege of having the profession slandered we pay an annual fee of $60. For the further privilege of undergoing a police check we pay another $70. It is rather like being made to provide the wood for one’s own crucifixion. Well, it is Easter.

Our professional body is the VIT – the Victorian Institute of Teaching. Call anything an institute, the wisdom seems to be, and it acquires authority and gravitas. Think the Australasian Institute of Hair and Nails. The VIT has stipulated with an actuary’s zeal that every teacher must fulfil 100 hours of professional development over a five-year registration period. Not hugely onerous until you are made to sit through a session on Pedagogical Practice in the Digital Village or Educational Strands for the Differently Othered. At the end of which you are gifted with a certificate to confirm that you have endured same.

You are now ready to front up to your Learning Area Manager clutching your certificates of professional development like poos in a potty. After close inspection you are deemed fit to continue with your teaching practice. If this indignity were not sufficient, we are encouraged to solicit feedback from the students. Was I fabulous or a crabby ars-hole? There is a definite rat-like gleam in the eyes of the kids as they consider the opportunity being accorded them. This will be sweet revenge for their humiliation at the recent parent/teacher interviews.

As you read over the student surveys your every weakness is cruelly exposed. Is this really me? The crows caw in the Tyburn tree.

Peter Fray

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