A newbie's guide to starting your career

New to teaching? Drowning in paperwork? Here is a quick guide to the paperwork, processes and timelines that you must complete in order to make your transition from newbie to old-hand.

Access to mentoring

If you were appointed, either on contract or permanently, at the start of this year, you should have had a trained and experienced mentor teacher assigned to you. The mentor teacher can help you to work through your induction program, provide advice about planning and teaching and be a supportive colleague in the workplace. Funds have been provided to your school 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. If you have not had the opportunity to access this release time, talk to your school leaders.

Planning for probation

All new permanent employees of the Department of Education and Training are required to undergo a period of probation upon employment. Temporary teachers are not required to undertake the probation process until such time as they become permanent through the conversion process, or are offered a permanent appointment. The probationary period is usually eight months, but may be shortened to six months, to be completed in June/July.

At the end of your first three months, you should have been provided with an interim performance review by your principal. 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.

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.

If you have not yet received an interim report, you will need to follow this up immediately with your principal.

Moving from provisional to full registration

Once you started working as a teacher, the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) automatically provided you with provisional registration for up to two years. One extension of up to a further two years is possible. To transition from provisional to full registration, a teacher must complete 200 days of teaching experience and meet the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at the proficient stage. This process is administered by the QCT.

The reviewer, who is either the principal, the deputy principal or another delegated person, is required to confirm that you can show evidence that you meet the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

It is very important that this form be completed by your principal before the end of the school year, as it may be harder if it is left to the following school year, particularly if you are transferred to another school.

If you are employed on temporary contracts in multiple schools during your first year, you should collect samples of evidence at each school, which will greatly assist with the QCT process to transition from provisional to full registration.

Contact the QTU if you require further advice and check the information and advice brochures on the QTU website.

Leah Mertens                                                                                                                     QTU Research Officer – Professional Issues

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 122 No 4, 2 June 2017, p25