Australia: A Scarcity Of Teachers Is Expected By Almost All School Administrators By 2023

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Nearly nine out of ten public school administrators in Victoria expressed concern that they would not be able to fill all teaching positions for the following school year due to the state’s severe teacher shortage.

Due to the present scarcity, schools have had to postpone specialty programs and tutoring sessions for pupils who fell behind while engaging in remote learning. A poll of 242 school administrators found that although urban and regional towns also suffer from teacher shortages, rural schools are hit the most. Schools are having to rely more heavily on substitute and “out-of-field” instructors because of this problem.

The study found that 80.5% of principals said it was “far tougher” to recruit the number of competent teachers and support personnel they needed this year, while 17% said it was “harder.” It’s only been easier for 3% of the population. Forty percent of principals reported some worry, and 49 percent reported “great worry” about being unable to fill teaching shortages for the following school year. In a survey, 11% of people said they didn’t care.

The Australian Education Union polled principals at publicly funded schools to learn more about personnel issues. According to the poll, a growing number of teachers are considering leaving the profession altogether, prompting the Australian Education Union to call for incentives for present educators to stay in the classroom. In the words of Meredith Peace, president of the Victorian chapter, a lot of people are worried that we won’t be able to replace them quickly enough, and that’s causing a lot of vacancies. If we can’t find teachers with the right qualifications to fill every classroom, we have a serious issue on our hands, and our kids will suffer as a consequence. When asked about the difficulty of finding qualified educators, David Adamson, head of Essendon Keilor College, said he had never seen anything like it. He claimed no one had ever applied for a post that was listed. The occurrence of this is repeated. Because of a dearth of qualified candidates, the institution has had to rely more on the services of professors who are not subject matter experts and therefore lack the requisite background knowledge to effectively instruct students in the classroom. “They are fantastic educators, but the problem is one of subject matter expertise: how to help students who are falling behind and challenge those who are excelling.” Since they may be more selective about which schools to enroll their children in, parents and students have benefited from the teacher shortage. Sometimes, as Adamson put it, “we’re even in the situation where we’re shortlisting and I’ve rang up someone to say, ‘Can you come in for an interview?’ and they have already secured another job.” In one instance, we were “shortlisting,” and I called a candidate to ask, “Can you come in for an interview?” Due to strong demand and a little supply, they might be more selective.

The country’s education ministers convened at the start of the month to talk about ways to attract more individuals into the teaching profession. Accelerated degree programs and teacher internships were among the themes to be discussed. Victoria’s Education Minister, Natalie Hutchins, said that despite the state government’s best attempts to address issues with school personnel, they would not allow the quality of its teaching staff to suffer. The Andrews administration and the union recently struck a new school agreement, with the latter promising to hire an additional 1,900 educators over the course of the next two years at a cost of $779 million. In 2018, Cheryle Osborne has been in a position to see firsthand how the teacher shortage affects classrooms in metropolitan Melbourne and rural areas of Victoria. Located in Melbourne’s southeast, Osborne serves as principal of Aspendale Gardens Primary School. The public schools had to make some difficult decisions and cut down on the number of activities they provided in order to guarantee that every classroom had a teacher this year. Osborne said that there have been times when shortages of teachers have forced them to cancel specialized programs and the COVID-19 catch-up sessions offered under the tutor learning initiative. According to Osborne, the university is not currently receiving any fresh applications for employment. Two years ago, when we advertised job openings online, we would receive a hundred applications; today, we are lucky to receive three, and even then, we have to wonder if they are qualified. Osborne is currently serving as acting principal at Mallacoota P-12 College, the easternmost school in the state, due to a lack of permanent principals. Osborne agreed to fill in for the first semester because the school was having trouble finding a permanent candidate for the role. Because the organization was still seeking qualified candidates, she agreed to stay on until the end of the year. The issue, she said, was not the poor compensation but the sheer volume of labor. There is a lot going on in the classrooms. There are fewer people vying for the position because of the difficulty of the work involved. People are leaving the field in large numbers. We were wiped out by COVID. According to the study of school administrators, 16.7% of teachers left their positions during the last year owing to stress or burnout, 12.7% departed because of excessive workloads, and 8.7% retired early.

NSW Proposes To Raise Teacher Pay To $130,000 Amid Teacher Shortages

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In light of Australia’s ongoing struggle to fill teaching positions, annual teacher salaries may soon top $130,000.

The new proposal comes after a string of strikes that have taken place over the last several months, during which teachers have walked off the job in an effort to seek more compensation and improved working conditions.

Due to the challenging working conditions, a large number of educators, according to a study that was published not too long ago, have indicated that they want to quit the profession over the next five years.

Australia: The State Government Plans To Recruit First-Year University Students To Help Alleviate The Teaching Shortage

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As part of sweeping changes aimed at alleviating the nation’s acute shortage of school teachers, university students will work alongside classroom instructors as early as their sixth month of study.

NSW and Victoria will present their strategy at a gathering of education ministers from around the country next month.  Currently, many education students do not get the opportunity to teach in a classroom until their third or fourth year of study.

New South Wales Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has argued that teachers should get the same on-the-job training as medical professionals.  “Our doctors and nurses are in hospitals from their first semester (at university) and for long periods of time.” “Teaching should be no different; we need universities to work with us to achieve that change.

The state of New South Wales will employ 7400 new teachers this year, but a further 3800 teachers must be recruited over the following five years, according to Mitchell.

In rural and remote schools, even if incentives of up to $30,000 are offered, there is still a shortage of instructors.

Education policy director Glenn Fahey at the Center for Independent Studies believes that the approach will “uniquely increase the supply of teachers and increase the quality.”

Upon graduation, students who have received effective practical training, according to Mr. Fahey’s study, are just as effective as third-year instructors.

Australia: Early Childhood Educators Will Be Offered Thousands Of Dollars As Part Of This Incentive Program

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“It’s great that they are accelerating the bachelor’s degrees; however, we need to make sure that these courses still have the same amount of placement hours as before,” Inspira Kids Kialla director Melissa Penfold said. “If we’re shortening the degree, and shortening the amount of time spent on placement, then the teachers who are graduating are less prepared.”

One-time payments of $9,000 will be made to new and returning teachers, as well as educators moving to Victoria from other states and countries, including New Zealand.

In addition, educators moving more than 200 kilometers to take up a job will be eligible for financial assistance for relocation, with the amount of this assistance ranging from $2,000 to $8,000.

The payments are being made as part of an extension of the Early Childhood Incentives program that will see one million dollars added to its budget. The program’s primary objective is to increase the number of competent early childhood teachers working in regions of Melbourne and Victoria that are experiencing a teacher shortage.

Ingrid Stitt, the Victorian Minister for Early Childhood Education and Preparatory Education, feels that this initiative will provide the best possible educational start for Victorian kids.

“We’re supporting our early childhood workforce with more financial incentives and innovative courses to ensure we attract, retain and support dedicated staff,” Ms Stitt said.

Additional Victorian Government-funded spaces in the Australian Catholic University Accelerated Bachelor of Early Childhood Education program (2023) will be made available as part of the plan’s scope and scale.

This program of accelerated study allows educators a chance to finish a bachelor’s degree in 18 months, after completing a diploma in early childhood.

Educators are confident that these incentives would help reduce the difficulty they have had in hiring outstanding early childhood instructors who are eager to remain in the field.

Early childhood educators, Ms Penfold said, “all give the same answer” when asked whether they’re having trouble filling open positions. “We are not only struggling to find staff, we’re struggling to keep them. “The job is so demanding, and the pay is so poor, we have teachers who work for a few years and realise they can go and work in retail, or at a supermarket, and make more money and have less stress. “We really need good, quality teachers, and hopefully these financial incentives will help bring good people into the industry.”

Australia: Thousands Of Teachers Are On Strike Due To Staff Shortage And Low Pay

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Rallies were held in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) by thousands of public and Catholic school teachers seeking better salaries and working conditions.

A meeting between the executives of the NSW Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union of Australia (NSW/ACT) resulted in the decision to engage in a 24-hour strike action on June 30, with members of both unions protesting in Macquarie Street, Sydney, and in rural areas around NSW and the ACT.

Teachers in red shirts with the slogan “More than Thanks” called on the government to give them a raise of more than three percent during a demonstration in Sydney’s central business district.

As much as a five to seven percent salary raise is sought by the Teachers’ Union of New South Wales.

“Thanks won’t buy lettuce” and other slogans like these were used by demonstrators to highlight the point that living expenses had skyrocketed.

The NSW Teachers’ Federation and Independent Education Union NSW/ACT, which represent 85,000 teachers, have called for their third walkout in six months.

Just one day before a two-week school holiday, approximately a million families in the state were impacted by the walkout.

For the first time in over two decades, both unions went on a 24-hour strike together. “We have a crisis in the form of a teacher shortage, a crisis that is the government’s own making,” NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said. “The government has known for years the causes of this crisis: uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.”

Teachers have voted to go on strike, which Education Minister Sarah Mitchell believes is politically motivated.

Most schools will have some kind of supervision, but a few will be closed for the whole day due to weather conditions.

She supported the government’s public sector pay policy, saying it was the most generous in the country.

Australia: Schools Have Installed Vape Detectors In Restrooms To Notify Teachers To Students Who Are Vaping

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Schools in the Australian state of Victoria are taking drastic steps to prevent students from vaping on school grounds. Some schools are installing quiet vape detectors that confine children in bathroom stalls so instructors may check them for contraband.

Schools in Melbourne are reportedly installing the new device because they’re concerned about the dangers of allowing students as young as 12 to smoke on school premises. St. Bede’s College in Mentone, California, has installed the latest vapor-detection alarms.

According to Deputy Principal Mark Jones, the detectors were put in place after school-sponsored education workshops were ineffective. However, despite their efforts to increase awareness about the dangers of vaping, students continued to engage in the activity. “Of course, staff don’t want to be checking the toilets, but we try and do everything in our power to stop the kids from engaging in activities that are harmful to themselves,” he said, as per The Advertiser. “It’s a difficult one because they’re [vapes] so easy to conceal.”

Detectors are functioning so far, according to one Year 12 student at Mentone School.

Even when they aren’t doing anything wrong, many children are afraid of being trapped in the restroom.  “I think the detectors are a good deterrent,” he said. “It makes you really question whether you need to use the bathroom and risk getting caught.” They include Marymede Catholic College (Sacred Heart College), Sacred Heart College (St Columba’s College), and St. Columba College (St. Columba’s College).

According to The Advertiser, a Frankston High School student was recently suspended for vaping.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation policy and advocacy knowledge manager Laura Bajurny has cautioned that locking pupils in restrooms might have an adverse impact.

She told the Herald Sun that “having feelings of belonging and connectedness at school, and having positive role models such as teachers and other school staff, are factors that can help protect young people from experiencing harm from alcohol and other drugs.”

In the case of young individuals, “a punitive approach may do more harm than good.” In one shocking example, a five-year-old Victorian was sent to the hospital after vaping at school, sparking demands from worried parents to tighten rules on smoking devices that may attract youngsters because of their fruit flavors.

Australia: How Dyslexia Couldn’t Stop This Teacher

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Her childhood memory of a piece of paper labelled “was” beneath her pillow still haunts Lucy Senior.

She had a hard time putting the three letters W.A.S. together, yet a word as complicated as “elephant” she had no trouble grasping and reading aloud.

“‘Was’ I always got stuck with because I could never quite get that word, I slept with it under my pillow to try and remember,” Ms Senior said.

“I really struggled with being told I was lazy, being told I wasn’t good enough.

Ms Senior was not diagnosed with dyslexia until her first year of university. Later, she was also found to have ADD/ADHD, which was discovered three years later.

Her view of the world began to change.

“I’m not stupid. My brain is just not wired to learn with literacy, its pathways are too long, so it misinterprets information, it sees one word in every form that it could be,” she said.

Due in part to her own dissatisfaction with some instructors throughout her school years, Ms. Senior was driven to pursue a career as a teacher.

“I had teachers that would sit down and put the extra effort in and thought I could do it,” she said.

An Art teacher, librarian, and teaching assistant at St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Blackall, a rural hamlet about a 10-hour drive north of Brisbane, Ms. Senior works with pupils with special needs.

“Luce just comes with a different lens and real insight … she’s such an asset to the school,” principal Samantha Suthers said.

“It’s not just with the kids too, it’s actually for the parent community body as well, so Lucy has come, and she’s made us think outside the box.”

She serves as the school’s art instructor, teaching students how to express themselves visually.

“I couldn’t read so I could communicate through pictures, I could read a picture book, I loved visualising so it was something that I could do as well as anyone else.”

Australian Dyslexia Association estimates that one in ten Australians has dyslexia.

One in five instances may be moderate to severe, but that figure might rise to one in five if the continuum of mild to severe cases is taken into account.

In the words of Jodi Clements, the association’s president, neurodiverse instructors like Ms Senior might make a significant contribution to the educational landscape.

“Because of that lived experience, when they work with children who have similar neurodiversities, they can understand what they’re going through, and they can relate at a really high level with empathy.”

Because of all of the work she’s done to develop “tools” to deal with her learning handicap, Ms Senior is especially appreciative of the fact that her school is receptive to her suggestions.

“There’s that open dialogue there as well, so I can give a voice to those kids that neurotypical people might not understand.

“I don’t just do research in that stuff now, I’m consumed by disability, I want to learn as much as I can in that regard.”

However, she acknowledges that overcoming the negative stereotypes regarding dyslexia has taken time.

“A lot of people were like, ‘If you can’t spell, you shouldn’t be a teacher’,” she said.

“I can spell, I just muddle the letters up sometimes. One day I’ll be able to spell a word, the next day I can’t produce that word because my brain is just not wiring that pathway just yet.”

In Fear Of Staff Shortages, Teachers At Queanbeyan HS Went On Strike

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Over worries about staff shortages, some 30 teachers at Queanbeyan High School went on strike for two hours this morning.

Due to a persistent teacher shortage, the school announced last Monday that students in grades seven through ten would only be permitted to attend on-campus classrooms three days per week.

That decision was overturned the next day when the NSW Department of Education intervened and ordered the school to resume full-time face-to-face instruction.

Teachers were upset with the decision, according to Mitch Andrews of the New South Wales Teachers Federation, and three-quarters of them walked out in protest at 9:00 a.m., leaving a skeletal staff to monitor children.

“We’re at the point now [where] we’ve had over 100 hours of our senior students, so six weeks, where they haven’t been in a class, they’ve been in the library.

“It’s their last two years of school, they need to be in front of their teacher every day and we can’t offer that at the moment, it’s physically impossible.” 

Murat Dizdar, the NSW Department of Education’s deputy secretary of school performance, told the ABC this morning that the department was dedicated to providing teachers with the assistance they required and that the department was working with the school to fill vacancies.

“We acknowledge that they need our support. There’s a number of vacancies there, a number of COVID impacts,” he said.  

“Our school workforce unit met with the principal and is working to fill some of those vacancies.

“We’ve been working with the school principal to have some of our qualified teachers who work in corporate office available for the school to support the continuity of teaching and learning.”

Before the walkout this morning, Mr Dizdar indicated that all pupils and staff will be on site today and that he hoped the department and the Teachers Federation could “work productively.”

“There’s no mixed messages here, there’s the continuity of teaching and learning in full-time operations inside the school gates,” he said

Mr Andrews, on the other hand, said that union representatives who contacted the Education Department had “not received any correspondence at all” sparking today’s protest.. 

“If we have suitable staff numbers that allow us to teach our classes and supervise the students, we would love to be at school, that’s what we want to do,” he said.

“But at this point in time, we physically can’t do that.”

He said that the two extra instructors sent from the corporate headquarters to the school last Thursday and Friday were insufficient to alleviate the situation.

“On Friday we had 11 senior classes still in the library, we had 18 merged classes, we had eight classes in the [quadrangle] on minimal supervision,” he said.

“So what they’ve sent is a very nice gesture, but it doesn’t help the situation at all. It’s not a long-term strategy, it’s a band-aid.”

Mr Andrews would not rule out more strikes if mixed-mode learning was not reinstated or empty teaching positions were not filled quickly.

Teachers will write another letter to the NSW Education Minister today in the hopes of receiving a response, he added.

“The teachers are past the point of breaking, they’re exhausted, they’re trying their best to make sure their students are working in a safe environment and the minister and their department are not working with us to make that happen,” he said.

In The First Two Weeks Of School, More Than 20,000 New South Wales Children Got Infected With Covid-19

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In the first two weeks of the school year, more than 20,000 NSW school children tested positive for COVID-19, and the number of cases among kids is fast increasing, with a nearly 50% rise between week one and week two.

The NSW Department of Education revealed data showing that 8,109 children tested positive during their first week back in class.

Another 12,056 pupils had been diagnosed with Covid-19 by the end of the second week.

The results differ significantly from the “preliminary data” released by NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell on the final day of week one.

“In terms of the number of students we’ve been able to pick up across the systems over the last week, 2,417 students have reported a positive case,” she said.

During the first week back, she claimed, no schools had to close due to COVID-19, and those who were infected had isolated at home.

“I really couldn’t have wished for a better start to the school year,” she said.

COVID-19 has been spreading in the classroom, and some parents are concerned.

Elaine, who did not want her last name published, is the mother of two primary-school-aged children who has opted to keep them at home until they have had all of their vaccinations.

However, she stated that this was not an option for every parent.

She claimed her family was worried since there was no information on how many instances had been found or what type of the virus was spreading.

“When you have a situation lacking transparency, it means you’re not able to assess risk,” she said.

“You’re just not able to make any sort of judgement.”

Elaine said she got reports from her children’s school warning parents about COVID-19 exposures, but that they frequently prompted further worries because they were “written generically” for privacy reasons.

“You know there’s been an exposure, but you don’t know whether it’s one kid or four kids or eight,” she said.

Merilyn, a Sydney teacher who did not want her last name published, claimed her private school had been withholding information and that the situation was “unnerving.”

“We don’t hear much about what’s going on,” she said.

“They send advice out to parents [about cases] but it’s not actually information coming to staff.”

She expressed her skepticism that parents were testing their children numerous times a week.

Parents’ concerns about COVID-19 in schools are reasonable, according to epidemiologist Angela Webster, but children would be susceptible inside or outside the classroom.

“The prevalence of Omicron cases is so high that [school is] not very different from being out and about in the supermarket or other areas,” she said.

“The case burden was with [children] before school went back and after school went back.”

Professor Webster claimed the virus was “tearing through” the unvaccinated population, which he said was disproportionately made up of young children.

Students and teachers are expected to take two quick antigen tests each week for the first four weeks of term one under the NSW return-to-school plan.

Masks are required for instructors and secondary students, and strongly recommended for primary school kids in grades 3 and higher.

Excursions and other events such as music, sports, and assemblies must have COVID-safe planning.

After week four, the government claimed it was still debating whether to continue the twice-weekly quick antigen testing, and it had surveyed parents.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet had earlier stated that the state was “leading the way” in reopening schools and that the state was “leading the way” in a safe return to class.

Sydney School Praised For Teaching Girls Car Maintenance Skills

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Students in Year 11 at Stella Maris College in Manly, on Sydney’s northern beaches, were taught how to change a tyre, the most efficient way to check tyre pressure, how to best monitor oil and coolant levels and what to do in the event of a car accident.

According to their website, the all female Galmatic team of four ‘specialise in helping Australian women and teenagers feel comfortable behind the wheel through our hands-on car maintenance workshops and online courses.’

Eleni Mitakos, who has run Galmatic for the past 13 years, was quick to state the hands on workshops are not only for teenage girls.

“We teach up to 100,000 teenagers a year in schools, across all parts of Sydney.”

“The primary aim is for teenagers to feel comfortable behind the wheel. Ultimately they are driving very big vehicles which can be very expensive if not looked after properly.”

“We can’t stress enough to all our students you should never ignore a problem with you car, you need to address it for your own safety.”

Amy Smith, the assistant principal for well-being at Stella Maris College, said the students all found the recent workshop a valuable exercise.

“We had three groups of roughly 40 girls in what we call an incursion (event on school grounds).”

“The feedback was very positive, the ladies from Galmatic were very patient and thorough in what they were explaining.All the teaching staff and our principal Elizabeth Carnegie felt a workshop like this would be beneficial for many reasons, mainly skills the girls need to learn before they leave school.”

“It was also important to show the girls that they have the capabilities to handle situations themselves once they are on the road, rather than rely on someone else.”