If you’re reading this, you’ve probably completed a Bachelor’s degree. You’ve also probably realised that despite the investment of both time and money you put into it, you’re not particularly interested in working that field. Sound like you? If so, you’re far from alone.
Around 90% of first year uni students have come straight from high school. Their life experience is, in most cases, limited to immature romances, feuds with their parents and all the angst and embarrassments that come with being a teenager. Their work experience might consist of a few hours a week at a fast food joint, or serving customers in a shop.
Doesn’t it seem just a tad strange that, as a society, we expect school leavers to have decided what career it is they want to focus on at such a young age? That we think they’re capable of choosing the right field of study while they’re simultaneously discovering the worlds of dating, driving, and legal 18+ partying?
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that recent figures showed that only two thirds of Aussie uni students are completing their degree within 6 years.
Do you have a degree under your belt, but no real passion for the industry it was related to? Do you have good communication skills and find the idea of teaching inspiring? If so, with a little extra study you could be well on your way to a fulfilling career in the teaching profession.
Teaching is a challenging yet rewarding career that can be started at any point in your life. Once you’re a qualified teacher, you also have the freedom to move interstate, or even overseas, shaping the young minds of the future as you go. The great news is, if you already have a Bachelor’s degree, all you need to do is complete a Master of Teaching, and you’re ready to go.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect as a teacher in Australia.
Primary School Teachers
Primary teachers teach students from Kindergarten to Year 6. They plan and conduct education programs to develop literacy, numeracy and the physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth of their students. Primary school teachers teach across all the primary key learning areas which include English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Human Society and its Environment, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education, Creative Arts and Practical Arts. Some primary school teachers specialise in a particular learning area or areas.
To become a primary school teacher, you need to complete an undergraduate degree (such as a Bachelor of Arts or Science) and then complete an accredited graduate entry teaching degree such as a Master of Teaching (Primary).
High School Teachers
High school teachers teach students from Year 7 to Year 12. High school teachers may teach one or more subjects from the secondary school curriculum. The wide range of subjects taught are grouped into the following Key Learning Areas. English, Mathematics, Science, Human Society and its Environment, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE), Technological and Applied Studies, Languages and Creative Arts.
To become a high school teacher, you need to complete an undergraduate degree (such as a Bachelor of Arts or Science) and then complete an accredited graduate entry teaching degree such as a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) or Master of Teaching (Secondary).
During this period, you will have the opportunity to attend work placements so you can gain the relevant work experience needed. Work placements give you an opportunity to be exposed to a classroom environment, as well as get a better understanding of a teacher’s day-to-day activities and lesson planning. All students need to have a Working with Children Check before completing any placements.
In some states. your undergraduate (or any postgraduate) degree/s must contain a major in the first subject you intend to teach and a minor in any additional subjects you would like to teach. Check with your university or state teaching authority if you are unsure.
You should take into account that some secondary school subjects have very specific requirements. For example, to be a science teacher you need to have studied chemistry or physics at university level.
Once you have your teaching qualifications, the next step is securing your teaching registration, which is an important milestone in any teacher’s career.
It’s best to speak to your local teaching authority about what’s involved. Each state and territory has their own Teacher Registration Authority who can give you all the info you need to be on your way.