For the love of Teaching

Mike Middleton’s sixty year educational career in Australia and overseas includes teaching from primary to postgraduate levels, through school and state-based curriculum planning to policy making at the national level. By school or system invitation, Mike has worked as a consultant in over four hundred Australian schools.

He is passionate about teaching and its place in a healthy society. He believes that the Covid interruption provides a much-needed opportunity for policy makers, and school communities to rethink teachers’ work, restoring it to a valued and central place in society.

Since he began his career, Mike has seen teaching change from a role that was exciting, creative, and attractive to one where universities struggle to attract young people into the profession and where education systems struggle to retain teachers, even part-time.

For the Love of Teaching follows Mike’s career as he strived to maintain the integrity of his beliefs about teaching in the face of social and political circumstances that were transforming it from a high status and culturally embedded profession, to one that threatened to make teachers no more than educational functionaries. Combatting an agenda that shaped young people into economic units ‘in the national interest’ rather than participants in vibrant and culturally rich Australian communities was a constant challenge.

This is a celebration of teaching as it can be, and in all-too-rare cases, still is. In parallel, is a critique of the political and administrative changes that have, over several decades, shifted from support for teacher professionalism and autonomy to making teachers accountable for the delivery of a uniform and ‘teacher-proof’ curriculum to all Australian communities and students independent of their background and circumstances.

Mike offers ways that teaching might be brought back, involving initiatives to free up the immense potential of the teaching profession.