Lifting Learning is...

Valuing our teachers

There is a nationwide shortage of teachers which is projected to steadily worsen.

The race is on for states and territories to recruit the educators they will need in the future and to retain the ones they currently have employed. 

A national teacher crisis is being driven by a combination of factors. At the same time student enrolment growth is creating demand for more teachers, the desirability of teaching as a profession is diminishing. Escalating workload stress is causing high burnout rates and teacher’s pay has now slipped relative to other comparable professions, over the long term.

Across Tasmania, schools are reporting teacher shortages in overall number but also in specific discipline areas such as STEM, music and languages as well as shortages in relief teachers. 

I’ve been teaching music for around fifteen years. I love my job with a passion. What a delight to go to work and help children make music. It is especially rewarding when children who might struggle in other areas of learning, experience success in music. Making music and singing together releases endorphins which can help children with self-regulation and enhances the feeling of belonging to the group, which is so important for children who have experienced trauma.

But teaching has become so much more incredibly difficult than when I first started in the early 90’s. The range of complex needs children bring to school with them can at times feel overwhelming. Our schools lack the appropriate number of trained professionals that are needed to support our vulnerable students, whether those needs be physical, emotional, or mental.

I worry about the low number of teachers training in music and that those who are will be drawn to the private school system because of better wages, conditions and because music education is highly valued in that system.

Music teachers, all teachers, need to be valued, respected, and celebrated. We cannot expect talented young people to pursue teaching as a career if they feel they will not be respected and valued by the community. Music is such an important part of our culture and I’m proud to be helping the next generation to see themselves as music makers, not just music consumers.

Lifting Learning

The Government needs to offer salary packages that are competitive with other states and territories to attract and retain the quality teachers, leaders, and other education professionals that our students and schools urgently need.