With the increased casualisation of the workforce, tens of thousands of early career teachers are not able to secure a full time permanent teaching job in their field.
Academics estimate that students will spend anywhere up to 24% of their schooling career with a casual teacher. We have to make sure that casual teachers are supported and valued.
The instability of their employment, combined with the infrequency of being at one school or centre, the unlikelihood of working within their trained methodologies or stages, the inability to stay with one group of students for a significant period of time and their lack of a right to access release time or mentoring opportunities, is concerning not only for the early career teacher, but the profession as a whole.
The reason: our early career teachers, due to the casualisation of the workforce, are not accessing the assistance and care they need during their formative years of teaching practice.
The result: a profession with not only a low retention rate, but one that is waiting until a teacher is permanently employed (usually somewhere between four to eight years out of university) before they seriously invest in moulding and guiding them as teachers.
A lot can happen in that interim period to positively or negatively affect an early career teacher’s engagement as a professional working in education.
It’s time for all schools to reach out and assist all early career teachers in a timely, developmental fashion.
Accreditation workloads reduced by smart practice
A common complaint about accreditation is that the workloads are too much for early career teachers, their mentors, supervisors and Teacher Accreditation Authorities (TAAs).
An overly prescriptive and document heavy accreditation process can bog down what’s meant to be a developmental process.
The IEU has developed a suite of three courses designed with supervisors, mentors and TAAs in mind. The focus of the courses is how to use accreditation in a developmental fashion that benefits all involved in the process, but especially the teacher seeking Proficient. Supervising Accreditation at Proficient is delivered in three courses:
- Understanding the process, the teacher and the supervisor
- Best practice evidence and annotation
- Best practice observations, reports and accreditation decisions.
The first course examines the working conditions, demographics and background experience of a teacher applying for Proficient accreditation and how these affect an accreditation process.
What does this mean?
Talk with all early career teachers about their practice. An accreditation process that relies on paperwork instead of conversations is a sign of a school that doesn’t know its teachers.
Identify their individual professional needs and ensure they have time to address them, including being a bit generous to casual teachers with release time to complete observations etc.
Remember a Standard is a Standard – there is no gain for a school to run accreditation with fancier, higher requirements except to add to the workload of the teacher, the supervisor, the principal and TAA. Let teachers teach.
Don’t bog them down with unnecessary paperwork (remember, NESA only require evidence and annotations for one Descriptor per Standard, and compelling a teacher to collect more than that is a breach of NESA policy).
Care for the profession’s future by advocating for early career teachers’ needs.