Graduate Teachers starting at Elsternwick Primary

The school leadership team in conjunction with teacher mentors have spent some time last week inducting 5 new graduate teachers into the profession and working here at Elsternwick Primary for 2009.

The first day was for graduates and their mentors and the following three days with the whole staff as we planned and prepared for the coming year. Four of the graduates will teach a class of students and the fifth is a music specialist teacher.

In Victoria the current graduate teacher on average lasts 5 years in the profession. In a study done on the supply and demand of teachers in Australia it found several factors which motivate teachers to stay or leave the profession:

“teachers get most satisfaction from their own professional achievement, their students. progress, the support they get from other teachers and the desirability of the present location. In addition, the report found that the most outstanding negative item for teachers in terms of job satisfaction was the status of teachers in society, where 62 per cent of teachers surveyed were not at all satisfied [p16]”.

We realise with the aging profession its critical that we retain our best [graduate] teachers for the future generations of this country. Over the first week we all spent time together affirming our teaching and learning new instructional strategies to use with students. As the study above found teachers value and stay in the profession when they continue to learn and have the support of their colleagues.

One activity which received praise from all teachers during the week was called the market place. Graduates as the stall holders had an ethical dilemma based on the VIT code of ethics and experienced teachers moved about in groups providing advice.  

The graduate induction program continues throughout the year and culminates with them presenting a portfolio of their work to a panel who approves their full registration as a teacher in the profession. I’d be interested in hearing from others teachers and schools on how they support graduates staying in the profession.