Beginning teachers: welcome to teaching – what you must know

As a new educator and an employee of DET, there are certain formal requirements that you must fulfil during your first year of teaching.

Probation

All new permanent employees of DET (as well as those converted to permanent after a period on contract) are required to undergo a period of probation, including formal induction and supervision, to satisfy the employer of their suitability for continuing employment.

For teachers, the standard probation period is eight months. 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.

Provisional registration

In Queensland, legislation dictates that only teachers who have obtained teacher registration may be employed to teach in any Queensland school. On completion of an approved teacher qualification, you will be granted provisional registration which allows you to teach for up to two years until full registration is granted by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT). Full registration as a teacher may be granted after a year of successful full-time teaching or the equivalent (200 days).

To obtain full registration, you must demonstrate that you meet the graduate level Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) (go to www.qct.edu.au to learn more). The college requires your principal to complete the “Provisional to full registration recommendation report” to verify that you have met the standards. This process is separate to the DET one for probation.

Induction and the Mentoring Beginning Teachers program (MBT)

The aim of the Mentoring Beginning Teachers program is to support the mentoring and induction of beginning teachers. For the purposes of the program, beginning teachers are defined as:

  • being provisionally registered
  • having fewer than 200 days teaching experience
  • being permanently employed or on a long-term contract.

All new educators who meet the above criteria will be matched with a mentor for the first 12 months of their teaching career. Funding has been specifically allocated to your school for this program. If there is no trained mentor available at your school, you may be able to access one from another school within the geographic cluster. The funding is to be utilised to best meet the needs of the new educator and should be determined through a consultative process with the leadership team at the school. In some schools, the funding has been used for release time during school hours so that the mentor and new educator can meet and discuss professional requirements, professional development and lesson preparation and observation etc.

Many state schools have amazing programs in place to support those beginning their journey in the teaching profession. If you are unsure of the program running at your school, speak to your Union Representative. A number of fact sheets on probation, provisional registration, induction and school based mentoring are available to QTU members at www.qtu.asn.au/advice/brochures/

Congratulations on entering the respected profession of teaching. The QTU will be here to support you every step of the way!

Lynn Cowie McAlister                                                                                                     Assistant Secretary - New Educators


Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 121 No 2, 1 March 2016, p27