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Monash experts: National campaign which aims to address teacher shortages also needs to consider retention of teachers in the profession

Monash University 3 mins read

Monash University experts from the Faculty of Education have welcomed Minister Clare’s latest campaign to recruit more teachers into the workforce and relieve teacher shortages. They contend that both recruiting and retaining teachers is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed. 

Dr Fiona Longmuir, Monash University Faculty of Education, Educational Workforce for the Future Research Impact Lab 
Contact details: +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu
Read more of Dr Longmuir’s commentary on Monash Lens

Professor Jo Lampert, Monash University Faculty of Education, Educational Workforce for the Future Research Impact Lab 
Contact details: +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu

Professor Jane Wilkinson, Monash University Faculty of Education, Educational Workforce for the Future Research Impact Lab 
Contact details: +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu
Read more of Professor Wilkinson’s commentary on Monash Lens

The following comments can be attributed to Dr Longmuir, Professor Lampert and Professor Wilkinson:

“The federal government has released a $10 million advertising campaign called Be That Teacher aimed at raising the profile of teaching in the Australian community. It's pleasing to see the drive to recruit more teachers into the workforce with such a positive campaign. We would also like to see as much attention committed to the retention of teachers (and the experience teachers have once they do enter the classroom) as is being committed to attracting people into teaching.

“Improving respect for, and trust in the teaching profession is an important focus. Our research has shown that despite a bump in appreciation for teachers over the COVID years, many teachers are currently not feeling valued for the important work that they are doing every day in schools and that this is a contributing factor for those considering leaving the profession.

“Policy responses are very important and this campaign is a lovely insight into the core of teachers’ work, that is their capacity to make a difference to lives and to shape the communities we live in.

“In response to teacher shortages, there have been many initiatives over the last twenty years to attract, prepare and retain teachers for hard-to-staff schools and a number of federal and state level announcements, including the federal government’s recent teaching workforce action plan. A prominent focus has been on attracting future teachers to the profession.

“Despite all of this, teacher shortages are at dire levels now. For example, the NSW Education Department released new figures that show that there are 10,000 classes per day not being adequately staffed due to teacher shortages.

“With significant numbers of teachers reporting that they are considering leaving the profession, on top of the significant numbers that have already resigned or moved out of full-time teaching roles, we need to be thinking about why teachers are not feeling able to engage in their chosen careers in healthy and sustained ways. The burning issue really should be, what can we alter in order for teachers to feel supported enough to be able to stay in the teaching workforce?

“As a part of our Educational Workforce for the Future Research Impact Lab at Monash University, we are looking at some of these issues with our projects, including: one project on the work of educational leaders, because good teachers who want to stay are produced by good leadership; and another on teacher retention to understand the impact of extreme teaching shortages on those teachers still in the classroom.

“Importantly we need to focus on fully resourcing schools and adequately supporting teachers. Doing this will not only retain teachers but will make attracting future teachers much easier. In fact, a teaching career should be incredibly attractive to young people currently considering their career options. Research has shown that when asked about their career aspirations, young people rate the capacity to make a difference and contribute to their communities as important. A teaching career offers these opportunities in unparalleled ways. No matter how many positive and enthusiastic campaigns are developed, things won’t change unless we engage with some deep and challenging questions about the nature of modern teaching work.

“We agree with Minister Clare that ‘teaching is the most important job in the world’ and it is clear that both recruiting and retaining teachers is an urgent issue. So, any campaign to improve the status of teachers and teaching is welcomed and we hope that across the country our teachers feel the higher levels of appreciation that they deserve.”

For more Monash media stories visit our news & events site: monash.edu/news

For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu

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