Teachers in question

The state government announced it is funding $4.006 million over five years to the Teach for Australia program.

Launched in 2009, Teach for Australia provides graduates from non-teaching backgrounds with 13 weeks of training before they begin a two-year classroom placement in regional or Indigenous communities.

The program’s logo. Image: Sourced.

Teach for Australia chief executive Melodie Potts Rosevear says she welcomes the additional funding and the continued support for the program.

“Teach for Australia helps ensure that students in Australia’s most disadvantaged communties don’t miss out on the subjects and the inspiring classroom leaders they deserve”, Ms Potts Rosevear says.

The new funding will allow for the recruitment of up to 280 associates by 2024.

Associates will be appointed to up to ninety-seven secondary schools around WA for 2021.

Melodie discusses why she believes Teach for Australia is valuable.

Head of Curtin University’s School of Education Professor Rhonda Oliver says it is disappointing to see the state government fund a nation-wide program without considering what else is available.

“With the government funding four million dollars to a competitor of universities, it causes greater inequality and becomes problematic,” she says.

“In the past, we (Curtin) could run a reasonable budget, now with reduced fees and without receiving extra funding, we do not have enough to support our students.

“The appeal to fund this program is it seems to be a quick solution, but there is an
unrealistic demand on the students and it does not work.” Professor Oliver says.

Teach for Australia works in WA regions including the Pilbara, the Kimberley, Goldfields-Esperance, Peel, South West and Mid West.

Professor Oliver says multiple universities turned down the employment-based pathway model Teach for Australia use and she says it has been hugely controversial as it undermines the teaching profession by placing teachers who have not yet completed their qualifications in schools.

“Curtin University has a unique program and it has been proven to have an amazing impact on Aboriginal communities”, she says.

Rhonda Oliver discusses the lack of state funding for on-country learning programs.

Associate Professor at Curtin University Dr Graeme Gower says the government needs to look into other models that are successful.

He says there is a revolving door of graduates working and leaving these regions.

“These new teachers do not build up a rapport with the students and are often not reemployed back into the community after their placement,” Assoc Professor Gower says.

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