Con­sider school teach­ing for all the right rea­sons. Me­lanie Burgess re­ports


TEACH­ERS are in it for the long run with al­most nine in 10 see­ing the job as a life­long ca­reer. A re­port ti­tled Why Choose Teach­ing? re­veals 86.8 per cent of teach­ers in­tend to re­main in ed­u­ca­tion-re­lated em­ploy­ment for the rest of their work­ing lives – ei­ther teach­ing (63 per cent), in a lead­er­ship role (19 per cent) or in a re­lated field (5 per cent).

Learn­ing Sci­ences In­sti­tute of Aus­tralia direc­tor and re­port co-au­thor Pro­fes­sor Claire Wy­att-Smith says this busts the myth that teach­ing is not an at­trac­tive ca­reer.

“We have peo­ple who chose teach­ing even while at school, them­selves un­der the in­flu­ence of an im­pres­sive teacher,” she says.

The re­port re­veals teach­ers see their pro­fes­sion as be­ing in high de­mand, an ex­pert ca­reer and a sat­is­fy­ing choice. Most are mo­ti­vated by teach­ing’s in­trin­sic ca­reer value, their

own teach­ing abil­ity and the op­por­tu­nity to shape chil­dren’s fu­tures and make a so­cial con­tri­bu­tion.

Wy­att-Smith says de­spite the pos­i­tive per­cep­tions of teach­ing, males are un­der-rep­re­sented and there are short­ages in some sub­jects and geographic ar­eas.

“Short­ages are well recog­nised in STEM (sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, math­e­mat­ics), English and LOTE (lan­guages other than English) and we need more qual­ity teach­ers in spe­cial needs and dis­abil­i­ties,” she says.

Wy­att-Smith says the abil­ity to spe­cialise in a sub­ject or dis­ci­pline is an at­trac­tor for many teach­ers, par­tic­u­larly males, and this is some­thing gov­ern­ments are look­ing to im­ple­ment in pri­mary schools, not just high schools.

“Pri­mary teach­ers might have an area of spe­cial­i­sa­tion then also re­main in the class­room,” she says.

Al­though salary did not rank as a strong mo­ti­va­tion for teach­ers in the re­port, SEEK data re­veals the av­er­age ad­ver­tised salary for job ads in the ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing industry last fi­nan­cial year was $78,802, up four per cent year on year.

Na­tion­ally, the vol­ume of job ads on SEEK grew 6 per cent year on year for the June to Au­gust pe­riod. Early child­hood teach­ers had par­tic­u­larly strong job ad growth, at 14 per cent.

IN­SPIR­ING: Teacher Thea Cow­droy-Ling with stu­dents Sa­man­tha Be­g­ley and Sa­muel Crutcher. Pic­ture: STEVE POHLNER/AAP

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