New educators: Welcome to teaching - things you should know

New teachers have a number of hurdles to clear during their first year in the job. Here is a brief guide to some of them.

Registration

Before starting to teach in a casual, temporary or permanent capacity at any Queensland school, state or non-state, you will be required to obtain teacher registration from the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT).

You will initially be granted provisional teacher registration, and after one year of full-time teaching, you will be able to transition to full registration if you meet the requirements. You must continue to pay the teacher registration fee, otherwise you will be unable to continue teaching.

Permission to teach (PTT) may be granted by the QCT when schools are having difficulty finding teachers to teach specific subject areas or in remote and difficult to staff regions. The PTT is only granted in exceptional circumstances.

It is not possible to predict whether a PTT would be approved for a vacancy that could not be filled in a school, as it would depend on a lot of factors, such as whether the PTT applicant had the knowledge, qualifications, skills or training in a particular subject or discipline that may be required for the teaching position. The PTT policy lists the criteria on which approval of a PTT is based. Whether an applicant is enrolled in a course of pre-service teacher education or not is not at all relevant to QCT approval processes. Applicants must also meet other eligibility requirements, including suitability to teach.

Probation

All new permanent employees of DET (as well as those converted to permanency after a period on contract) are required to undergo probation, which is usually eight months but may be shortened to six. You must be confirmed in your position or have your engagement terminated before the end of the eighth month of employment. For teachers appointed at the beginning of a school year, this will be immediately prior to the September school holidays.

At the end of your first three months, you will be provided with a performance review by your principal, which must be recorded on the applicable form. Any areas of concern must be identified and an agreed action plan developed.

A formal appraisal will be conducted by the end of six months of service (usually July), resulting in a recommendation of either confirmation or termination of appointment.

Mandatory induction

All new employees are required to participate in a mandatory beginning teacher induction program provided by the staff at your school or accessible online. This training should be completed during student free days, but may also be completed during twilight sessions.

Beginning teacher mentoring

If you are appointed as a beginning teacher at a school for at least 12 months, either on contract or permanently, a mentor teacher will be assigned to you. Funds will be provided to schools, up until the end of 2017, to allow you and your mentor to be released from face-to-face teaching for up to 18 hours per term, to work through the teacher development and induction program .

ACTION: Assert your professional rights.

If you are experiencing problems with the probation process, or having difficulty accessing mentoring or induction programs, you should follow these steps.

  1. Discuss the situation with your fellow teachers, if appropriate.
  2. Seek further advice and assistance from your Union Rep or call QTAD on 1300 11 7823.
  3. Organise a meeting with your supervisor, e.g. the principal, to discuss.
  4. Contact the QTU for further advice if the matter remains unresolved to your satisfaction.

Note: only financial members of the Union can access the QTU legal assistance scheme. Please encourage all new teachers in your workplace to join so they can enjoy support and advocacy from the beginning of their career.


Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 122 No 1, 10 February 2017, p25