Teacher shortage

Interesting study reported in the Daily Telegraph from  the University of Western Sydney and University of Technology, Sydney on a looming shortage of teachers.

We’ve known for a long time that our baby boomer teachers will retire in the next decade and this is one of the big challenge for all education systems.

The report warns that Australia will need migrant teachers to fill vacancies in specialist areas like maths, science and technology as young teachers head overseas to the UK and Asia because of higher pay and lower tax rates.

The solution should not hinge on teacher salary.  Teaching has its own intrinsic rewards and our brightest young teachers and those considering a career change will be attracted to a profession that is well paid but more importantly, one that is esteemed.

Teachers want to be acknowledged for their work – recognised as  professionals.  This is strengthened when they are challenged, when distractions are minimised and there are ongoing opportunities to collaborate and learn.

Short term fixes won’t work even if we attract more skilled migrants to our schools.  The pressing reality is around how we reconceptualise the work of teachers in today’s world.

It is all about building teache rcapacity – we will still have to do this no matter where we get the warm bodies from! Let’s hope we don’t miss the boat on this one.

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