Knowledge is power (and so is Union membership) - Permission to teach and beginning teachers
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 7, 30 September 2022, page no. 25
As the then US Secretary of Defence Donald H. Rumsfeld outlined at a Pentagon news conference in 2002: “There are known knowns – there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns – that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
In the industrial relations realm, there are many nuances in the way industrial instruments are interpreted and therefore how they operate. Often, the same document(s) can be implemented or understood differently across the state, region or even clusters. Sometimes there are areas in the industrial landscape that are a certain shade of grey.
With the teacher shortage continuing across the state, many schools and regions are turning to preservice teachers and employing them as Permission to Teach (PTT) teachers. However, the situation becomes somewhat more complex industrially when these preservice teachers graduate. The department should be identifying PTT employees and recognising that those they have employed under these arrangements may be due for completion of their studies and therefore will be eligible for appropriate salary classification, often as Band 2 Step 1. However, this is not always the case.
A recent enquiry from a PTT member outlined how an unknown unknown can have significant impact on their salary classification. This member was delighted with the recent increase via the EB negotiations, and was talking to some work colleagues about the increase in their wage. It was only then that this member realised that they unknowingly hadn’t known that they should have been reclassified as a qualified teacher (Band 2 Step 1) in January 2020!
The member contacted the QTU, and a few swift emails ensued between Union and the department. It came to light that the member had notified the department of their qualifications and QCT registration, but nothing had been done with this information. Needless to say, upon presentation of the required supporting evidence, the department agreed to back pay the correct reclassification levels for the previous two and a half years.
This story shows the power of Union membership (and knowledge) and why, as Union members, we need to discuss with any new member of staff the importance of belonging to their Union. What other unknown unknowns are looming in the shadows? Who in your school should you talk to about Union membership and any unknown unknowns?
If members are uncertain whether their current teaching classification is correct, the department’s Teacher Classification Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be able to help. New members may be able check their previous experience and qualifications. Please use the QR codes to check all your entitlements are current or recognised.
Recognition of prior service - teachers procedure (https://ppr.qed.qld.gov.au/pp/recognition-of-prior-service-teachers-procedure)
Recognition of qualifications - teachers procedure (https://ppr.qed.qld.gov.au/pp/recognition-of-qualifications-teachers-procedure)