Dr Susan Long has taught in various roles, states and even countries since the 1980s. Her PhD focused on maths and science education, and she is passionate about inspiring people who don’t necessarily aspire to become leaders in schools to do so. Currently she is head of innovation at a Catholic all-girls school in east Melbourne.
In this podcast, Long emphasises wellbeing as the biggest challenge facing Australian schools, with many students suffering from mental illness and trauma, some of which is intergenerational.
In regards to international tests such as PISA, Long recommends not getting too caught up in league tables and instead focusing on the information that can be gleaned from the tests. After all, in her words: “It’s one test that students take when they’re 15.”
She does mention, however, that there may be some lessons to be learnt from high-performing states and territories, such as the ACT, which she contends score around the top 10 per cent in such tests in the world.
Long also presents evidence that the five-year burnout phenomenon has been around since the 1980s, and the real shame in her view is losing highly competent and experienced older teachers who have either had enough or have been overlooked for positions as they aren’t great at “self-promotion”.
Finally, she believes more needs to be done to see whether we are “stretching” our top students. Listen to the podcast for the full interview.Do you have an idea for a story?
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