• Christian Paul

It’s not the teacher’s fault

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

I’m never going to use this in real life

Sound familiar? I hear it all the time. The rapid follow up question is “Why don’t we learn __________ in school?”. And you can fill the blank with a plethora of topics; taxes, budgets, insurance, cars, sewing, first aid, and plenty more.

It becomes very easy to start blaming schools for the gaps in the curriculum. Which honestly isn’t fair. It’s not the teacher’s fault, or even the school’s fault.

Individual schools actually have very little control over the curriculum. From foundation (prep) to Year 10, schools are required to be in line with the Australian Curriculum, which covers eight broad areas of study:

  1. English

  2. Mathematics

  3. Science

  4. Health and Physical Education

  5. Humanities and Social Sciences

  6. The Arts

  7. Technologies

  8. Languages

Unfortunately, none of these areas really focus on the more practical life skills that are necessary to navigate everyday life as we know it

So, do school’s get any say at all?

Sort of.

Schools have a varying degree of control over HOW they teach the curriculum but, at the end of the day, they don’t decide what goes into the classroom.

They only have an influence on how it’s delivered. There is a very strict guideline that covers the minimum requirements to be covered from year to year. If schools want to go above and beyond that, they first have to find the time. And that’s where it can get tricky.

Spare a thought for the poor teachers.

Teachers are busy! If you ask any teacher, most will say that they have no choice but to rush through their content. It’s due simply to the huge volume they are expected to cover in their school year. Which, for one subject, is usually not that long.

If a subject has approximately 4 hours of class each week, and there are 40 school weeks in a year, that gives a total of 160 hours to learn everything (and test everything) that there is to know about that subject.  That’s 20 work days to the average adult. Could you imagine learning a year’s worth of maths in 4 normal work weeks?


Well, then we should probably spare a thought for the poor educators whose job it is to try and teach it.

4 hours per week x 40 school weeks = 160 hours per subject ÷ 8 hour work day = 20 days ÷ 5 day work week = 4 weeks to learn everything

I like to think that schools are doing the best that they can with the time that they have. But sometimes that just isn’t enough.

What do you think? How could schools maybe change the game a little to incorporate the life skills aspects more into their teaching?

Most people agree that there needs to be a place for that kind of education, but schools often have their hands tied. Is there a way around that kind of problem?

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