While discussing news that a secondary school in Essex, England had outlawed homework in order to cut down on the time teachers spend assigning and grading it, a panelist on Australia's Today program made what seemed like an ill-thought-out, off-the-cuff comment. Said Phoebe Burgess:
I'm actually old school education. I think that there is a place for homework, in terms of you know discipline, work ethic, cementing what they've learned for the day, independent learning. And my little sister's a Latin teacher, and so much of the work she brings home to do at night... I think it's plain lazy to say you don't have time. You clock off at 3 p.m. You do have time.
Burgess's co-hosts began a chorus of "ooo" after she "threw down" with teachers, but commenters weren't taking the slight lightly.
I'm not sure who the smiling lady is but I invite her to come and spend a week as a shadow teacher with me. Be part of the process that makes teaching wonderful but also what makes it an incredibly difficult job some days. It involves - classroom teaching, meeting, planning, cross marking, marking, parenting, councillor, mediator, dealing with parents, coach and the many hats that I get to wear in a day. Your ignorance and lack of respect for teachers is incredibly disappointing and through education maybe you can learn if your going to share your opinion at least it can be a reflection of a
Anyone who knows a teacher—who wakes up at 5 a.m., plans lessons late into the night and still can't pay off her student loans—will commiserate with the fury in the comments section of Today's apparently deleted Facebook post featuring the segment (which you can watch here).
Sick of people thinking we clock off at 3pm. Instead of striking, let's do the hours they think we do and only work 9-3pm. Let them see the quality of our lessons when we have no prep or marking time or communication with the other teachers as we are in a classroom. See what they say about their kids education then!
Burgess eventually responded to the controversy, in the comments section on the following Instagram post.
When a "big supporter" of Burgess's wrote of her disappointment to hear her comments on teaching, Burgess responded:
She gets partial credit.