Currently Queensland teachers who supervise preservice teachers are paid less than those in any other Australian jurisdiction.
Universities in Queensland remunerate teachers a paltry $4.21/hr for a maximum of five hours per day (ie. $21.05) for their work with preservice teachers.
In our view this is unacceptable. It does not take into account the vital role supervising teachers have in the learning and development of preservice teachers, nor does it account for the significant increase in workload that initial teacher education (ITE) accreditation requirements and the Professional Experience Reporting Framework have imposed on supervising teachers.
A teacher shortage is looming, and thus the very future of our profession relies on the goodwill and willingness of already busy teachers to dedicate their time and knowledge to preservice teachers. Future teachers cannot graduate without completing the practicum component of their courses, and pracs cannot proceed without supervising teachers.
For the universities to expect teachers to do this without paying them fairly is appalling.
We find it particularly insulting because year after year, the universities have happily taken additional funding from the federal government without passing it on to those who are doing the work. Under the Federal Funding Agreement Commonwealth Grant Scheme, the federal government assists universities with the cost of practicums in teaching and nursing courses. For teaching it is $912 per student, and the amount is indexed by approximately 2 per cent per annum. So, the funding has steadily increased, money which under the agreement must be used for the teaching practicum, while this money has not been passed on to those teachers who are doing the work.
Teachers are paid by their employer to focus on the school students in their classrooms, and shouldn’t also be expected to cater for the universities’ students for a pittance.
In recent years, some states have negotiated improved rates for this task. For example, the NSW daily rates have increased from $21.20 in 2014 to $30 from 2017 onwards.
The QTU is working with the Independent Education Union (IEU-QNT), and together we have developed a log of claims. We have written twice to all Queensland universities that offer ITE, yet are no closer to a resolution. They won’t even accept our invitation to meet and consider our requests.
We deem this to be unacceptable, and will continue to seek a resolution, but we need your help.
Mad? Good! What next? Claim and complain!
We are asking all teachers supervising preservice teachers to claim their payments.
This will help overcome the universities’ assertion that teachers “don’t do it for the money” because claiming rates are low, which feeds into their justification for not increasing the rates.
Not taking a prac student this year? Will take a preservice teacher, but less happily now you’re aware of the pay disparity? Don’t suffer in silence – let the universities know. Provide feedback to your school’s prac coordinator or directly to the university. Ask prac co-ordinators to pass it on to the universities.
We are not yet asking members to refuse to take preservice students, but a line must be drawn. The universities cannot continue to take Queensland teachers for granted.