Monday 16 November 2009

Redhead Employment Discrimination

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!


Anonymous said...

in your short experience of being a redhead? are you a natural or what?

Nate said...

complete natural redhead... you taking the mick?

Nate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
frednotred said...

In response to this blog i have to defend at least one of the schools that he has worked in. The issue around students calling either other students or staff names or making inappropriate comments is and was dealt with in accordance to a system that has worked for the 10 years that i have been at the school. During that 10 years i have had my fair share of insults and comments made about my ethnicity, sexuality, perversions etc and each time they have been dealt with in the same way. A warning along with a clear notification that if it didn't stop further consequences will take affect. if it didn't stop the student would be sent home for the rest of the day. Depending on the severity of the comments etc they would either be back the next day or if severe and or a repeat of previous they would gain a suspension also. This was the case with several students who harrassed Nate by caling him 'ranga' so where he was not supported by the school i am confused. as for not getting more work could be due to the fact that either there is no work to be had or funds have run out for replacement teachers or there are not enough students attending to warrent having him in. I find it quite offensive that he should make such allegations on a blog but not be able to follow through with a formal complaint. A little bit of reflection would not go amiss as it probably isn't your hair that is stopping you getting work but apart from as mentioned above it could actually be your methods of dealng with student misbehaviour!

Anonymous said...

Nate, I think you need to really ask are these children really paying you out because you have redhair, or because they are children, children who like attention, who know how to bully, who know little else. If you were fat, I'm sure they would call you Fattie, or if you were another race like you say.

After dealing with these children yourself don't you see how difficult it must be to get them to behave or change their opinions, many more experienced then you have failed.

And to insinuate you are being discriminated against from employment due to your hair color is a little egotistical.

Like frednotred said, schools have way more complicated issues to deal with.

Are you not employed now?

And been asked back before?

And keep getting opportunties as you say?

Sounds like they have no problem with you.

If your going to make a career teaching people who have not developed their social skills, you need to toughen up

Maybe stop seeing the world in terms of what you like and don't like and start seeing it for what it is. It will do you wonders in the long run.

I expect you a long career in teaching, please just don't take it personally, as I sure in 20 years you won't remember these people just as they won't remember teasing you - ITS INSIGNIFICANT!!!!

Anonymous said...

frednotred. Obviously I don't know your ethnicity but surely students only know about your sexuality and perversions because you shout about them they are not obvious on sight as is red hair. Would a formal complaint get anywhere as kids take their lead from adults & their is obviously no support for this guy. As one Anon said schools have a lot more important issues to deal with than educating children to treat other people, minorities, with respect. Giving kids a day off is just as likely to encourage as to deter bullying behaviour.