Our country is experiencing a national teacher shortage, but a new program has launched in Far North Queensland to encourage senior students to consider a career in teaching.
How amazing are teachers? The COVID-19 lockdown gave the world a stronger appreciation for being a teacher. Parents have new insights and a newfound respect for the difficulties of teaching after experiencing it firsthand. While students enjoyed online learning, they missed the face-to-face learning led in the classroom by their teachers. Our teachers, as essential workers, embraced new technologies and new ways of learning and teaching. They did their daily job plus more to ensure their students still had the opportunity to learn at home. Our teachers truly missed their students; I am sure we have all seen the heartfelt messages and videos posted to school Facebook pages around the country illustrating this. Teachers, students and parents all felt joy when students returned to the classroom.
CONSIDERING TEACHING AS A CAREER
Teachers perform an essential role educating students so each child can reach their full potential. Teachers not only plan lessons from the Australian Curriculum, they must differentiate their lessons to meet the needs of all learners in their care. The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) contain comprehensive descriptions of what teachers do every day at each career stage. It is not a short list.
Teachers may apply to be accredited at highly accomplished and lead career stages. To achieve accreditation, teachers go through a rigorous national process of evidence collection and lesson observations. This folio of work must evidence how the teacher has positively changed the teaching practice of their peers and increased student outcomes for every descriptor of the APST over the past five years. Teachers who obtain this accreditation are rewarded with a substantial pay increase, keeping our high performing teachers in the classroom.
Graduate teachers have a starting salary of more than $70,000 and those who choose teaching as their career will have job security and the opportunity for career advancement into a variety of middle and senior leadership positions. Teaching positions are often advertised in rural and remote areas throughout Australia. These often attract locality and other allowances. Teaching is a globally transferable skill and for those who seek the thrill of overseas travel, this is the perfect career to explore the world, when this is once again possible.
A NATIONAL TEACHER SHORTAGE
The demand for new teachers is strong due to increasing retirement rates and increasing student population. However, there has not been an increase in university enrolments in education.. To address this, multiple organisations partnered to create the Aspire to Teach Program. The program includes a variety of classroom experiences. These include the Queensland Government’s Ready Reading program which develops skills for reading with young students. Targeted at Year 10 students, this program helps students understand teaching as a career and helps them make informed decisions about their senior subjects. Feedback from students about the Aspire to Teach Program has been positive, with 87.5 per cent suggesting they would consider a career in education after completing the course.
Teaching is a challenging, inspiring, and truly rewarding profession.
You can read more about how schools support our student’s with choosing a suitable career here.
Leanne Webster is the Consultant Leadership and Professional Learning at Cairns Catholic Education