Being a teacher is, arguably, one of the most important jobs a person can do.
After all, teachers are responsible for educating and nurturing our children, giving them the tools, knowledge and skills to tackle many of the problems we’ve left for the next generation to solve.
But more and more, teachers are leaving the profession. They simply can’t do it anymore.
They’re passionate about children’s education, but more than the long hours, unpaid overtime, ever-increasing workload and the pressure to do all of this with decreasing support and resources, there’s a greater and more troubling reason teachers are walking away from the career they love.
A recent study from La Trobe University in Melbourne found 80 per cent of teachers had experienced some form of student or parent-led bullying in the last 12 months. In 2018 alone, 45 per cent of school principals were threatened with violence by parents, an Australian Catholic University report showed.
From something as small as the height of a heel on a school shoe to what homeroom their child was placed in, for some parents, going through the formal channels for complaints isn't enough.
One of those teachers who has experienced firsthand the effect abusive, bullying parents is having on good educators is former teacher George Allertz, who left the teaching profession for many reasons, including physical, verbal and electronic bullying and harassment from parents.
"You're going home after being abused from a parent because they didn't agree with something that you taught or the way that you taught it,” Allertz told reporter Liam Bartlett for a special 60 Minutes education report airing on Sunday at 8.40pm on Channel Nine.
“You basically become deflated… I can't do that anymore."
Allertz went on to recount how parents behaviour has changed throughout his teaching career, escalating from voicing concerns to displaying physical violence.
“We’ve had parents that have fought on school grounds, which led to the police being involved, and parents escorted off school grounds,” he said.
“Parents have been swearing and fighting, really horrific language and without a care in the world about it.”