I have recently graduated from University and am now fully qualified to work in Australian Middle and Secondary schools.
I have been working as a relief teacher since August trying to get my foot in the door at any school so I can possibly gain a contract.
Partly thanks to the harrasment and bullying I have received in high school and the workplace myself and partly a family tragedy I feel its important for my own mental health that I don't move and work in the country so I can stay close to family and friend support.
I have found work in a couple of very low socio-economic mainstream schools and a non-mainstream school for students at severe 'risk'.
I have found that the discrimination towards redheads is disturbing to the point that I am feeling as if my job maybe at risk because I am a redhead.
As a relief teacher I would expect some amount of flack from students, but the students yell "RANGA".
Many friends and family say ignore it. I ignore it and the same students take advantage of the relief teacher who is so easily socially undermined as a "Ranga" and the students begin calling the indigenous student a "Gin" and the asian teacher a "Gook" the whole issue becomes an admin nightmare as the assistant principal has to deal with the fall-out.
If I don't ignore it. The student ignores any reason I give that its not appropriate and the 'Ranga' name calling increases... to the point that all I end up doing is exhaust myself in the hallways switching between classes while attempting to stop students abuse in front of colleges that give me no support at all. The students push until you have no choice but to take it higher and the assistant principal is yet again involved.
WHO WANTS TO HIRE AN ADMIN ISSUE OF THIS SORT? No assistant principal wants to deal with this kind of problem day in day out, especially not for a relief teacher they can replace so easily.
One assistant principal I have worked with has a partner who is a redhead and I gained quite a lot of support from them initially, despite an open conversation amongst staff that felt strongly that there was nothing wrong with the students calling me a "Ranga". Eventually after a number of students being sent home for a day or two, all the students understood it was inappropriate for a while and the problem eventually resurfaced. I haven't been offered work there recently even though I know that some of the teachers are taking days off and and they are in need of a relief teacher there.
I have had open conversations amongst colleges about the insult "Ranga" in two of the schools I have worked at. Majority of staff amongst both schools felt it wasn't an insult and that I was being too sensitive and made out like I was the issue.
A student told me once that a redhead teacher had previously worked there and used to handle the issue and "Ranga" abuse a lot less effectively than me and even left the school because of the abuse. I would like to hear from anyone else who has suffered from any of this type of discrimination.
I don't know where I should go for support, any suggestion would be great.
I know I'll get a teaching contract eventually.
I just don't think relief teaching is much of an option. In the short experience I have had being a redhead and a teacher the work I have in front of me is not exactly encouraging... as if being a teacher isn't hard enough. I am very qualified and am great in interviews and the department releases a bunch of metro jobs in a couple weeks. Fingers crossed!