Teaching is a very demanding role with high rates of stress and burnout – especially among those new to the profession.
Research shows that as many as one in three early career teachers leave the profession in their first five years of service. Therefore, it is vital our new educators receive the support they need early in their careers to equip them to deal with the multitude of challenges they will face.
Mentoring by experienced educators is highly rated among early career teachers and is essential to recruitment and retention.
The advice, emotional support, and practical assistance mentors provide helps equip new teachers with resilience and opportunities to improve the quality of education they deliver to students.
A quality mentoring program must provide schools with additional resources to enable experienced teachers to have time off from their normal duties to provide support to the new educators.
Time to be Better
Early career teachers juggle a multitude of new and stressful challenges when they begin including classroom management, curriculum, resource preparation, school operations, planning, administration and relations with families and carers.
It is essential that new educators be given the time to seek support from experienced teachers to develop their skills and troubleshoot any problems they may be having.
The Beginning Teacher Time Release (BeTTR) program provides two hours per week away from the classroom for teachers in their first year, and one hour per week for those in their second year, to access support and professional development.
They may choose to use the time to hone their skills through activities such as feedback meetings with senior staff, observing experienced teachers in the classroom, and participating in formal induction and training courses.
Given the importance of new educators continuing to develop their skills and the increasing complexity of teaching, this BeTTR program needs to be extended to teachers in their third year.
Unmanageable workloads for teachers, starting right at the beginning of their careers, force many into part-time work to cope and these teachers must also have access to quality mentoring.
Additional support for new teachers not only helps prevent burnout but sets them on the path to becoming more effective educators, and intensive mentoring can have a significant effect on student achievement after as little as two years.