Schools New educators: Supporting you to stay the course

The first years of teaching can be overwhelming at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a major workforce shortage. I encourage any new educator to stay connected with the AEU – both locally within your school sub-branch and at the state branch level. The union is here to support you in your teaching career and help you stay connected to a network of new graduates facing similar challenges and concerns.

If you haven’t already met the union representatives at your school, find out who they are. They will know how the various aspects of your enterprise agreement (the Victorian Government Schools Agreement) are implemented at your workplace – including those specifically related to early career teachers.

It is also worth knowing who your health and safety rep is, and understanding the process for identifying and reporting any physical or psychological hazards or incidents at work.

We know that managing workloads is a significant challenge for all teachers, and especially those new to the profession. One of the things many experienced teachers talk about is the importance of working out what tasks are ‘crucial’ versus ‘low priority’.

Managing workloads is a challenge for all school staff. The Teacher Learning Network has developed a Graduate Teacher Learning Series with practical strategies and advice.

The AEU has secured important rights for new grads to support you in those first few years of your teaching career. These include a 5% reduction in overall workload and a dedicated mentor for all graduates in their first year. Time is provided for you and your mentor to work together. 

Your mentor should be an experienced teacher who works alongside you to help you develop your classroom practice. Mentors can also help you become better acquainted with the school’s culture and processes, understanding your professional obligations, accessing professional learning, and maintaining your wellbeing.

Make sure you meet with your mentor on a regular basis. All the research shows that it is profoundly important for new teachers to have that advice and support. Record all the questions that come to you as they arise so that when you meet, you can make the most of your time and get the answers you need. 

If you have not been assigned a mentor, or you are finding it difficult to organise scheduled time with your mentor, talk to your AEU sub-branch reps or ring our Member Support Centre on 03 9417 2822 for advice.

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