New Educators: Connect with us
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 2, 12 March 2021, page no. 22
This column is a space to explore issues directly affecting our new educator membership, featuring their voices and experience. This edition explores the experience of beginning teachers who have taken the plunge and become QTU Union Reps.
I am a second-year teacher at Pallara State School. I am currently teaching a Year 1 class and am loving every moment of it.
I entered teaching at the start of last year, and I focused on settling in to the profession and keeping myself afloat (especially with COVID-19 and online learning). However, I developed an interest in the role of the administrators and Union Representatives within the school and was inspired by the work that they do. I was fascinated by the decision making processes that took place at various levels within our community.
When the opportunity to become a QTU Representative arose, I was keen to become more involved. I signed up for the role of Union Rep and was lucky enough to be accepted. Since doing so, I have been able to observe the importance of the Union within the profession. I am grateful to now have the ability to help colleagues in need in a caring and fulfilling way. Now that I am in this position, it is rewarding to have the power to identify issues and the potential to make a difference for not just one person, but a group of individuals.
Having been able to talk to the experienced Union Reps at my school, it is amazing to see the difference that has been made over the years by the QTU. It is admirable what the QTU has done for the working conditions of staff over time and the benefits for teachers throughout the state.
I am keen to see where my position as a Union Rep takes me and look forward to the avenues I will journey along into the future.
In July 2018, I embarked on an adventure of a life time; I left my family home in Caboolture and moved 1,500kms to Innisfail in far north Queensland where I started a job as a new teacher.
I was very lucky, as I was welcomed into an awesome team of teachers and was immediately able to share my passion for making a difference to our students and their lives and having a positive effect on society.
When I joined the QTU, that feeling was amplified; we are a profession of people who help, and it’s wonderful being in an organisation dedicated to improving our ability to do that.
During the 2019 EB bargaining period, I was interested in the work that the QTU was doing to improve the wellbeing and working conditions of myself and my colleagues, and I was able to help keep QTU members informed of the work that was happening. This led to the recommendation that I become a Union Rep.
With only 12 months of teaching under my belt, it was a privilege to be able to take this role on. Nevertheless, it felt strange at first offering information (and sometimes guidance) on Union-related issues to more experienced colleagues. However, as time went on this became easier. I then joined working groups, and I can now see another side to the workings of the Union and have been able to offer advice from a better-informed perspective.
I think being a member and representative of the Union, even this early in my career, has helped me to understand the role of a teacher better, develop an understanding of the need for “teacher wellbeing”, and be able to be a support to my colleagues when asked or needed.