Do you feel our profession is respected and valued? It was a simple question ECW asked in a recent Educator survey. The response 91.67 % of respondents said ‘NO’, while 133 respondents in a profession of over 160,000 is a drop in the ocean, the sentiments are echoed time and time again through the media and in Education and Care settings across the country.
I wonder are we hearing so often that our work is not respected or valued that we in turn are accepting it to be true?
- 50.38% of respondents felt they did not see a future for themselves working in Education and Care, were undecided or were actually seeking work outside the profession.
Statements like, ’emotionally and physically broken’, resonated through the survey with Educators reporting they feel tired, exhausted, overworked, stressed, not supported and disillusioned. Others cited a lack of professionalism within the field, which is reflected in comments like; ‘I’m over the high school mentality of colleagues’, ‘I am not supported by my regional management and my values do not align with my company. They seem to care about making money first and quality and safe programs for the children second. I have just given my notice and I am leaving the profession sadly.’ ‘I’m over the apathy of Educators and the culture of bullying’.
- 49.62% of Educators did see a future working in Education and Care.
Of the 49.62% of Educators who did see a future in Education and Care, they did so because they were passionate about the work, they found it rewarding, it brought them happiness and they felt they were making a difference in the lives of children. One Educator expressed feeling valued and supported by families, colleagues, management and their union.
- 35.65% of Educators felt that their peak bodies were doing enough to raise the profile of the profession.
With 64.35% feeling not enough was being done by their peaks, with the more noticeable fault being laid at the feet of government and media. ‘I believe we’re respected by those we have close contact with (families, schools) but I think politicians and the media are much slower to respect our profession and the value of our work’. One Educator stated feeling let down by the government, while another felt the ‘government wants to close Family Day Care down’.
- 9.85% of Educators reported never having experienced bullying in the workplace
There was not a lot of comments directed at this issue despite the startling figure. One educator did plead for anonymity feeling intimidated while another stated being over the culture of bullying.
- 42.11% of Educators felt supported by management
While many felt unsupported by management 71.73% of Educators felt supported by their colleagues and 69.18% felt that their skills and knowledge were valued by families with respect for knowledge and skills by management being lower at 48.12%.
- 96.24% of Educators felt professional development was important for professional growth, with only 26.72% feeling professional development is accessible or affordable.
Concerns with the quality and affordability of Professional Development was raised. In-house training was quoted as being ‘utterly inadequate’ with a focus on ticking boxes and prioritising costs over quality. Affordability of quality professional development on a minimal wage without employer support is difficult as is access to any professional development in regional and remote areas.
- 90.27% of Educators felt that improving our image as a profession will have a positive influence on professional wages.
One Educator stating ‘we need to let our physical appearance reflect our professional image’. Some responses relating to presentation included poor footwear to uniforms being ‘horrible and make me feel unprofessional’ and then there were concerns that some Educators are not working at a level of professionalism that warrants recognition.
ECW Professional Body is a collective body of Educators, established by Educators to give Educators a voice and are supporting Educators to grow in confidence and to connect with a professional image of themselves. ECW is working to share your perspectives and raise your professional voices and image through our surveys and newsletters, through sharing Good Practice Stories and through our ECW Valuing Educators Conferences and ECW Educators Festivals.
“98.50% of Educators felt our profession needs to stand together if we are to influence positive change”.
ECW brings all sectors of our profession together in one space. Our Collective members come from a range of service types including LDC, FDC, OSHC, State funded before school Kindergarten setting. They are contributing their knowledge, time, passion and experience to give back to the profession and to help raise your voices and our profession.
The vision for professional recognition, for you and your work to be recognised and valued requires Educators to stand together. It requires your voice to be heard. Grass roots Educators can no longer be silent, you can no longer relinquish your voice allowing others to speak on your behalf. We ask that you get behind us as we walk with you, we ask that you add your voice to the Professional Body of Educators. Together we can make a difference in the future of Education and Care, for you, for the profession and for the children.
Educators can no longer be silent – You can make a difference – You are the difference – Together we can grow our professional image and have a much stronger voice for change in Education and Care
Here are some ways that you can make a difference:
Join ECW for under $2 per week – Students join FREE for first 12 months
Add your voice to our survey
Share your ‘WHY’ (Why are you passionate about working in Education and Care)