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Primary Teachers take up Secondary Teaching

New Zealand's hard-pressed secondary schools will get an injection of new vitality with the arrival of a group of primary teachers who have decided to switch to secondary teaching with the help of the Wellington of College of Education.
Twelve primary teachers have almost finished 10 weeks' of intensive training at the College's Karori campus, learning the intricacies of secondary school teaching. The course also included two week's teaching experience at a secondary school. The College is carrying out the course for the first time under contract to the Ministry of Education.
While primary teacher training has traditionally allowed primary teachers to work in secondary schools, those who only had the three-year Bachelor of Education (Teaching) degree did not have the subject content to teach senior secondary subjects in Year 12 and 13 (sixth and seventh form), says WCE director of primary and secondary education, Linda Tod. To do the course, primary teachers have to have an appropriate subject that degree that includes study in a teaching subject at the 200 level.
Because of a population "bulge" of children has moved from the primary to the secondary rolls, New Zealand has more primary teachers than are needed – some of whom can't get work - but not enough secondary teachers.
"The course is aimed at supporting those teachers who have an appropriate qualification and want to make the move and has focussed on the key differences between the two types of teaching. While there's much in common between the two, teaching young adults is different from teaching children. There's also the need to assess for qualifications like the NCEA and to understand the more complex nature of secondary schools."
The Wellington students wanted to switch for a variety of reasons, she says.
"Some may be ready for new challenges and see this as professional growth. Interestingly, only four of the 12 came straight out of primary teaching. Most had been trained and worked in primary schools in the past and had since pursued other careers. This course has brought them back to teaching. For most of them the motivation has been getting a job doing what they enjoy most and that's teaching."
Peter Kehayioff, who will be teaching accounting, economics and social studies at Wainuiomata High School next year, had been out of teaching for the last 16 years, working for himself.
"I decided I wanted to re-enter teaching, but having already been a primary teacher I wanted a change as my interests had changed since I was first teaching. I think this programme is a good move. You will get people who have got life experiences in different things returning to the teaching workforce and the fact they have been primary teachers is a bonus."

Issued for the Wellington College of Education by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
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