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Teachers, stay, we need you!

15 January 2018

Only a couple of weeks until school resumes. Theoretically teachers are on leave, but no doubt many are deep in planning for the year but many who taught last year aren't returning. Why?

Teachers who feel supported and appreciated are more likely to stay in the profession. The rate of teachers leaving is concerning and damning of schools and training.

An average of 40% of teachers, in their first five years of teaching, leave.

How concerning is this when numbers of students are increasing while the majority of teachers are older? ( eg in SA, about half the teachers in government schools are over 50). We are already seeing shortages of secondary teachers, particularly in WA. 

The problems are obvious, as are solutions -  better salary, higher status, higher entry scores for teaching, mentoring of young teachers, time for flexibility and innovation, less administrative load, more autonomony... but perhaps a rethink of the entire purpose of education is due.

Interesting that Pasi Sahlberg (pictured above), former Director General of Finnish Education, one of the most praised systems in the world, says politicians have placed too much emphasis on competition between schools and students. In Finland, students start school at age seven, because there is a great belief in the importance of play in students' development. In Australia, our children start school earlier and spend longer in the classroom than most OECD countries. 

Mr Sahlberg is joining the Gonski Institute this year. Great appointment. We look forward to his contribution.

Meanwhile a big thank you to all you returning teachers for the great job you do. Often mentions of teachers in the media are negative, in contrast, when a recently retired teacher, Bruce Fairfax, was lost in Tasmanian bush, the outpouring of grief and appreciation for his contribution from so many people, reminds us that teachers have a huge impact.

Read more on Pasi Sahlberg's comments in The Guardian

Read more on Teachers Leaving and Teachers staying in The Conversation

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