The Australian Education Union will engage in the consultation process following the release of the Teacher Education Expert Panel Discussion Paper today.
“Teaching is a rewarding and fulfilling career. Often, students enrol in initial teacher education because they want to make a difference in the lives of children. The best opportunity we have to ensure initial teacher education graduates can realise this vision is by fully preparing them to enter the classroom from day one,” AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said.
“Many of the issues raised in the Discussion Paper directly reflect the experiences of our members.
“A fullsome discussion about the quality of university initial teacher education courses is long overdue and there are a number of matters that should be addressed by regulating bodies and by universities.
“The AEU’s early service teaching members regularly report feeling inadequately prepared for the reality of the classroom when they graduate. This includes issues related to classroom behaviour management and ensuring they have the skills required to address the wide range of student needs.
“Inadequate preparation, support and inequitable school funding contributes to escalating teacher workloads and to the high turnover of teachers leaving the profession after just a few short years in the classroom.
“We welcome the discussion related to high ATARs, the importance of teacher mentors, quality practicum placements and the recognition that income loss during placements presents a major hurdle for teaching students. The AEU has been calling for paid placements and will highlight this need in our response to the discussion paper.
“However, there are no shortcuts to resolving the current workforce shortages and the AEU will defend hard-won rigour in initial teacher education, including the two-year post graduate Master’s degree which was agreed to less than a decade ago and widely applauded as a measure that would enhance the qualifications of Australian teachers at the time.
“Right now, new graduate teachers in public schools are effectively teaching with one hand tied behind their back by virtue of the fact that their school is not fully funded. Therefore, any review of the teaching profession must consider how school funding inequities impact the ability of teachers to do their job and recommend the Federal Government establish a pathway to fair funding for public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.