Beginning educators challenged in early years of teaching
Beginning teachers often feel overwhelmed dealing with varied and complex issues associated with working in the education sector in their first years of teaching. IEUAQNT Assistant Secretary Rebecca Sisson looks at the support and advice these teachers can gain from colleagues and our union.
As 2016 comes to a close, beginning teachers can take stock knowing the assistance and support they have received from their professional colleagues and our union has done much to ease the feeling of being overwhelmed in their first years of teaching.
Fixed-term contracts, teacher registration, lesson planning, induction, use of social media and managing student behaviour issues can be particularly overwhelming to a new educator as they attempt to find their feet in their career.
Why union is important
As the professional voice of educators in the non-government sector for nearly 100 years, our union and its members have worked collectively for the benefit of our profession and to ensure that wages and conditions in our sector reflect the significant contribution education professionals make.
By being a part of our union, members can ensure we have a voice on major issues impacting the sector and the strength to achieve real change.
For members in 2016 this included:
- achieving a $101,000 salary for top automatic step classroom teachers in the Queensland Catholic sector – setting a new benchmark across the sector and the state;
- improving wages and conditions for employees across the nongovernment school sector;
- establishing leading Domestic Violence Leave provisions in the sector with Queensland Catholic and Grammar schools;
- supporting early career teachers through our Beginning Educators Network (BEnet); and
- developing our union’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) – endorsed by Reconciliation Australia at the Innovate level.
These achievements, aside from recognising the vital contribution of education professionals in our sector, seek to make education an attractive choice for those who are considering their career options.
A majority of graduates coming into our sector recognise that union membership is the single most effective way to ensure that they have access to the support they need and to add their voice to strengthening our sector.
Our beginning educator network for members, BEnet, is now well established and provides an essential support and resource network for educators in the first five years of their career as they navigate these and other varied and complex issues.
The benefits of remaining a member are numerous: professional indemnity insurance; access to support and advice; a voice in collective bargaining negotiations that determine working conditions; and access to networking and professional development.
A strong collective union voice also means the ability to effect change and improve the working lives of employees in our sector.
Expanding role of a teacher
Management of workload is a critical issue for all education professionals. Teachers, including beginning educators, are experiencing increased expectations arising out of curriculum change. The delivery of high quality, high equity teaching and learning further increases expectations around planning, collaboration with colleagues and curriculum development.
Beginning teachers must ensure that their work/life balance is fair and reasonable. While participation in the school community and giving your professional best is an important part of work in schools, this must not be at the expense of classroom teaching or personal health.
- Members would do well to remember that their collective agreement includes provisions for:
- an honorary and voluntary nature of extra curricular activities, for the most part;
- base entitlement to preparation and correction time; and
- a maximum number of hours of directed duty.
Staying a union member
By now members will have received their 2017 membership renewal form and can renew by returning it to our office or online at www.qieu.asn.au
For members who pay their fees via regular deduction from their bank account or credit card, payments will continue into 2017. For members who made an annual payment for 2016, you will need to make a payment to continue your membership. Members may also receive a phone call from our call centre before the end of the year about your renewal.
If your personal details, place of employment or employment situation will change in 2017, it is vital that you return your membership renewal to our office, regardless of your payment method. If you have any questions about membership renewal, FREECALL 1800 177 937 or firstname.lastname@example.org