To attract the highest-quality teachers, we also need to hold teachers in high esteem.
Teaching is arguably the most challenging profession of all, yet unlike Finland – where teachers accrue similar respect to doctors – we don’t recognize that teaching deserves the same respect and trust as the medical profession. Finland also demands graduate teaching qualifications.Graduate students bring real-world experience, including deep disciplinary knowledge, analytical thinking and personal maturity.
To do this we would have to look across the Tasman for guidance. This would follow in the footsteps of the South Australia government, which intends to require all teachers to have completed a graduate-level teaching degree. The state will also require government schools to preference the employment of graduates with master’s or double-degree teaching qualifications.
To attract the best candidates, prospective teachers need to see a career progression. Using the current lead teacher and accomplished teacher categories but linked with an appropriate pay level progression would be a good start.
Teachers have a crucial role in improving student outcomes. We need not only to lift course and graduate standards, but also to ensure teachers are well supported so they can contribute fully as highly developed experts in a widely respected profession.