Advice for Graduate teachers

Below is a quick checklist as to what Graduate teachers should be looking out for in their first two years of teaching.

It’s your accreditation, you need to take control

Achieving your proficiency is ultimately your responsibility. You cannot sit back and think that the school will sort this for you.

Why is it important to achieve proficient status?

You must attain proficient status to teach in a NSW school in an ongoing capacity.

Graduate teachers have three years (full time) or five years (part time) to attain proficient status.

Your salary will increase anywhere from $16,000 - $20,000 (depending on your enterprise agreement) once you attain proficient status – it’s worth the effort!

How long should it take?

While it is possible to finalise the process in one year, many of our agreements require a minimum of two years on the Graduate pay scale, so most people take two years. Check with your IEU organiser to see what is best for your situation.

You are entitled to commence working on your proficiency in your first year, and the IEU strongly advises you to do so. The following advice assumes you will be taking two years to finalise your submission.

What you need to do in your first year (full time)

Ideally, your school induction should explain how the process works at your school. You should also contact your organiser and obtain copies of the IEU Proficient Teacher Handbook and IEU Proficient Teacher Workbook.

At the commencement of your employment your principal should advise what supports the school will provide through the process. Many IEU negotiated agreements include release time for you and your mentor. Work with your mentor and your supervisor to ensure this time is taken at the most effective time in the rhythm of the school year.

You are advised to undertake the NESA online Proficient Teacher Orientation course in the first three months of your employment. It should take around 30 minutes. You can retake this course as often as required.

You should discuss with your principal who will be your Accreditation Supervisor.

You should make yourself familiar with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

By the second semester of your first year you should begin collecting your evidence. This should be generated from your day-to-day work. You should not be required to generate material specifically for the accreditation process.

While you are required to meet all the Standard Descriptors, you are not required to submit evidence that addresses every SD. If you believe your employer is requesting you to collect evidence more than NESA’s requirements, you should contact your union organiser.

Attend as much professional learning as you can and negotiate with your mentor to observe their lessons or the lessons of an experienced colleague to assist you in your professional journey.

What should I do if I am working as a casual or part time?

NESA suggests a block of 6-10 weeks should allow a professional relationship such that the principal is able to support your application.

As schools are no longer required to produce a final report unless they intend to recommend that the teacher has not met the requirements to attain proficient, it should not be as difficult for schools to support casual and part time teachers through this process.

What should I do if there is a problem?

Your supervisor must advise you within 28 days of becoming aware of an issue. This is a good reason to commence the process early.

Schools must have processes and policies in place which provide for capacity building for teachers and their supervisors. The accreditation process should not be used as a performance management process.

If your supervisor indicates that you are not meeting one or more of the Standards they must also offer appropriate strategies and support to ensure you can finalise your submission by your due date.

Contact your union organiser immediately if you do not receive an appropriate response from your employer.

For more information go to:

Professional Development

The IEU is running a full suite of the Behaviour Management courses run by Dave Vinegrad in Semester 1 plus several other general courses which seek to upskill teachers in dealing with difficult situations – not always with students! The first two dates are:

Remaining Semester 1 dates:

  • Thur 4 May – Behaviour Matters 4: Upholding the Right
  • Mon 22 May – Managing Difficult Conversations
  • Wed 31 May – Supporting Students with Challenging Behaviours
  • Wed 14 June – Thriving and Surviving as a Casual Teacher (elective PD in NSW)

Semester 2 dates

  • Mon 31 July – Behaviour Matters 1: Getting it Right
  • Tue 8 Aug – Behaviour Matters 2: Keeping it Right
  • Wed 23 Aug – Behaviour Matters 3: Making it Right
  • Wed 6 Sept – Behaviour Matters 4: Upholding the Right
  • Mon 23 Oct – Managing Difficult Conversations
  • Tue 31 Oct – Supporting Students with Challenging Behaviours
  • Mon 13 Nov – Supporting Students with Challenging Behaviours
Pat Devery
Professional Engagement Coordinator