Five Tips for New Educators
Knowing your rights - and that you've got a support network you can tap into - helps you cope with the challenges of being a beginning teacher.
1. First year teachers are entitled to a reduction in our face-to-face teaching loads
As a first year teacher, you have a reduced face-to-face load: a maximum of 20 hours per week in preschools and primary schools (down from 21) and a maximum of 18 hours per week in high schools and colleges (down from 19). We all know our first year of teaching is particularly challenging – we won this condition in 2011 to help relieve some of the pressure. How you use your extra hour away from the classroom can be negotiated with your supervisor; for planning and preparation; lesson observation and team teaching; consultation with your mentor. It’s ultimately about helping you.
2. New educators are entitled to 15 days release from face-to-face teaching
As a new educator, you’re entitled to 15 days release from face-to-face teaching over your first three years. You can use these days to observe other teachers, receive coaching and mentoring or engage in other professional learning.
You are also entitled to 15 days over the first 3 years of your teaching career: 6 days in your first year, 5 days in your second year and 4 days in your third year. You should negotiate with your school principal how you would like to use these days. You are entitled to these days and should take advantage of them as support for your career. There is flexibility in how the days can be used and when they can be taken, refer to clause RF, pg 91 of the EA for further information
3. You are entitled to recognition of additional qualifications and prior experience
If you have gained a tertiary qualification (over and above the four years full time study leading to a teaching qualification) you may be entitled to move up one increment in the pay scale. You just need to attach a certified true copy of your academic transcript to a completed Application for recognition of additional qualifications that can be obtained from https://index.det.act.gov.au.
You’re entitled to advance one step in the salary scale for every year you have worked as a qualified teacher in the school education industry, every two years you’ve worked in a tertiary or other education setting, or every three years you’ve worked in a occupation related to teaching. To apply, attach a Statement of Service from your employer with a completed Application for recognition of prior experience form, obtainable from https://index.det.act.gov.au.
4. Contract teachers still get holiday pay
Teachers on a long-term contract are paid the same salary as a permanent teacher of similar experience and qualifications. Full-time contracts covering a full year accrue 20 days recreation leave and 18 days personal leave. Contracts of less than a school year accrue leave on a pro rata basis. If you're employed on a long term contract on either side of a term break are entitled to payment over the holiday period in between.
5. Keep cafeinated!