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Raw Deal For Beginning Teachers

Raw Deal For Beginning Teachers

Questions over the quality of beginning secondary teachers highlight the fact they are not getting the support they need, PPTA President Robin Duff says.

Briefing papers to Education Minister Chris Carter show deep concerns about the quality and quantity of teachers starting in the profession.

An ERO report made public by the Sunday Star Times said, while most beginning teachers were doing well, there was cause for concern about a “sizable minority” and the quality of school support they received.

Mr Duff believes this is not a reflection of the teachers concerned, but rather the lack of support they are getting.

A recent survey of Year 1 and 2 teachers, commissioned by the Teachers’ Council NZCER, produced some disturbing facts.

It showed beginning teachers were not getting their full entitlement of guidance and advice, were working more than their maximum hours and not being given formal orientation to their schools.

Out of the 157 1st and 2nd year secondary teachers surveyed, 24 % were teaching outside their subject area to some extent, 69 % of 1st year and 67 % of 2nd year respondents were receiving less than their full entitlement of advice and guidance. Twelve percent of teachers were given no formal orientation to their school, 12 % had no assigned mentor or supervisor and 41 % were appointed on a non-permanent basis.

Mr Carter said he would like to overhaul the perception of teaching so top students would see it as a desirable career.

Mr Duff welcomes this attitude but says there is a lot of work to be done.

“Teachers do not begin their careers knowing everything they need to know. They need intensive support in their first two years, which is why PPTA fought to get them extra time.

“We now need to make sure they are getting that time and that skilled people are helping them do the new learning they need to do to become confident and meet the standards for full registration,” he said.

The PPTA’s Young and New Teachers (YANTS) network is also beginning to develop a strategy to address these issues and a branch-based campaign will be launched to ensure those teachers, including beginning teachers, who are entitled to be permanently appointed are.


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