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Teaching in the ACT. Do we have a rotation policy?

Madam Cholet 17 August 2011 22

Having a conversation with my younger brother today about whether he and his wife should come and live in the ACT or surrounds, (from Sydney), to enable them to more easily afford a house/apartment.

Having discussed this with him many times before, I am familiar with some of the reasons as to why they can’t. The reason given today was new to me though….

His wife is a teacher in the NSW public system. She’s approximately 30 years of age, and teaches in primary school in Strathfield. It appears that whilst there may be a slight pay decrease to move into the ACT system, she is more concerned about the fact that, “teachers in Canberra, aren’t allowed to spend too many years at one school – they get moved around”.

Being thankfully a couple of years away from having to tackle schools yet, I am not familiar with the intricacies of the ACT system. Can anyone tell me if the above statement is true?

Personally, I can’t see that it’s such a bad thing, however it seems to be the thing that is holding up further consideration of a move to Canberra.

(I would like to add that my brother and his wife are fine upstanding perople and that no one should be too worried about them moving to Canberra)


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22 Responses to Teaching in the ACT. Do we have a rotation policy?
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lilli_star 8:30 pm 28 Aug 11

[quote comment="348684"][quote comment="348680"]Are there better conditions in the ACT? More support?[/quote]

Highly unlikely. Basically, schools are expected to deal with difficult students "in-house". Each school is able to run their Student Welfare their own way; so you can get a MASSIVE variance from school to school. Restorative Practices were flavour of the age for the last few years, but most schools adopted RP in a piecemeal approach, with minimal investment in RP training for classroom teachers... Outside of schools, there is almost no systemic support... whittled down from the minimal levels that existed a decade ago...

[/quote]

Thank you for explaining why I couldn't post a new topic :)

I teach in the NSW Catholic system, and we have our own welfare policy at the school I am currently at, but I'm assuming it would be similar to other schools (as it was in other schools I have taught at), so I'm not sure exactly what you mean. I haven't taught in the NSW public system since 2002, so I'm not up with what they do.

Does anyone here teach in Catholic schools?

Kuku 6:46 pm 28 Aug 11

[quote comment="345563"]It is an iniquitous system as it stops teachers from becoming part of their community. The reasons I heard for introducing it were something along the lines of someone in power in DET thinking it would keep teachers on their toes.

The private system has no rotation, and it is a huge advantage. When they get a good teacher or principal, they can hold onto them.[/quote]

Hang on, by your logic, the schools that can't attract quality teachers should stay that way? How is that fair? The reverse arguement is that teachers who don't want to work too hard anymore and there are a few of them, sit back at the same school and never work to freshen up what they are teaching. It's not a perfect system but it does allow schools the opportunity to have teachers come into the school with a fresh approach.[/quote]

My kids are at a school where they have the same teacher throughout primary. It's been wonderful for my kids. As for High school/ college. Poor teachers who have been there waaay to long and couldn't cut it in a the real world. I'm for rotation. And I think ACT ED has got it right. Now, if the AIS could implement the same rigorous performance standards that ACT ED do.

Gerry-Built 5:25 pm 28 Aug 11

[quote comment="348680"]Are there better conditions in the ACT? More support?[/quote]

Highly unlikely. Basically, schools are expected to deal with difficult students "in-house". Each school is able to run their Student Welfare their own way; so you can get a MASSIVE variance from school to school. Restorative Practices were flavour of the age for the last few years, but most schools adopted RP in a piecemeal approach, with minimal investment in RP training for classroom teachers... Outside of schools, there is almost no systemic support... whittled down from the minimal levels that existed a decade ago...

Oh, also... You may need to have contributed several comments to posts before you are allowed to post a new topic, if memory serves me right...

lilli_star 4:38 pm 28 Aug 11

I tried to post this as a separate topic, but had no luck, so apologies for hijacking this thread.

I'm interested in hearing from primary school teachers about what teaching is like in the ACT. I'm currently teaching in the NSW Catholic system, and had no idea until I read this thread that teachers at the top end of the scale (as I am) in the ACT earn far less than teachers in NSW. Are there better conditions in the ACT? More support?

grunge_hippy 4:58 pm 21 Aug 11

she could also apply for transfer to the schools in NSW around canberra, like queanbeyan etc but their waiting lists are ridiculously long. I've been on the list for NSW since 1999 and I am still waiting for permanency in NSW.

Mobility is great. I get twitchy after being in a school too long. I like to try new things with new people.

2604 4:19 pm 21 Aug 11

[quote comment="346776"][quote comment="346733"]Just because NSW is paying its teachers too much doesn't mean that ACT teachers should expect similar largesse.[/quote]

Oh, yes... clearly, the over supply of graduates, keen to enter the teaching profession (particularly in NSW) demonstrates the serious issues of providing such largesse...[/quote]

Gerry, you have posted at length about how frustrating it is being a teacher in a government school because classroom teachers get no support from their executive and every bit of bad behaviour by kids gets excused and/or validated. Don't you think that fixing such issues is a better solution than pumping up graduate salaries to whatever the ACTEU is demanding (I understand it is in the mid to low sixties!).

Gerry-Built 9:49 am 21 Aug 11

[quote comment="346733"]Just because NSW is paying its teachers too much doesn't mean that ACT teachers should expect similar largesse.[/quote]

Oh, yes... clearly, the over supply of graduates, keen to enter the teaching profession (particularly in NSW) demonstrates the serious issues of providing such largesse...

2604 10:40 pm 20 Aug 11

[quote comment="345927"]AFAIK; classroom teachers at the top of the scale are $5000 behind their NSW counterparts at the moment, under under the current offer, this will widen to $7000 or more... Whilst teachers are definitely not in the game because of a generous financial reward, that sort of gap is a little ridiculous...[/quote]

NSW pays the highest salaries in Australia and is clearly an outlier. Just because NSW is paying its teachers too much doesn't mean that ACT teachers should expect similar largesse - which, after all, would be paid for through increases in ACT rates and government fees and charges.

You also need to consider not just salary, but the overall conditions and productivity expected of teachers. How many hours per week do NSW teachers work? And perhaps the higher pay is a form of compensation for the fact that NSW teachers can be transferred to schools anywhere within the state. By comparison, you can drive from the northernmost school in Canberra to the southernmost in about 40 minutes.

Catty 6:27 pm 20 Aug 11

I'm a teacher who hates mobility. My school has lost so many "good" teachers, often in one go. I have to move at the end of next year, and am going to retire rather than have to move schools and start all over again. I love being part of the local community, even though I don't live anywhere near there. Our school has lost whole subject areas because the teahcer has been forced to move on, and there has been no-one else to teach them.

Gerry-Built 12:00 pm 18 Aug 11

AFAIK; classroom teachers at the top of the scale are $5000 behind their NSW counterparts at the moment, under under the current offer, this will widen to $7000 or more... Whilst teachers are definitely not in the game because of a generous financial reward, that sort of gap is a little ridiculous...

Gerry-Built 11:54 am 18 Aug 11

As a teacher of elective subjects, my biggest issue with mobility is with a teacher'spersonal "ownership" over their subject area; in particular, physical resourcing. EVERY school I have worked in during my 10 year career to date, I have had to build up resources (tools, equipment etc) to suit the areas I am qualified to teach in, fit my skills, or I feel are important to that subject, only to be forced out at the end by mobility and having to repeat the process in the new location. Also, in the schools I was in as a contract teacher (ie less than one teaching year) I felt I had no "ownership" of the area and was reluctant to obtain or maintain the teaching areas, as I felt I was merely "holding the fort" for the "real" teacher upon their return to work.

trevar 8:44 am 18 Aug 11

[quote comment="345625"]Having said that, we are some of, if not the lowest, paid teachers in Australia once each state's EBA has run its course (for top level teachers). Deputy teachers are WAY behind NSW. Sorry #7 trevar, you been to the union meetings lately? :-)[/quote]

Ah, that explains it! Thanks GP. I haven't kept up with interstate changes or the union because I don't teach anymore.

Jethro 1:35 pm 17 Aug 11

[quote comment="345537"]Mrs Magoo is a Primary teacher, actually she's been promotedthis year to DP but that neither here northere for this matter. ACT teachers don't stay at the one scool for too long, there is a system called mobility which ensures teachersare exposed to a variety of schools and leadership styles. Thus, teachers can share their developed knowledge at a 'new' school and also learn new approaches at a 'new' school. My wife believes it is a great system, so that teachers don't fall into relax mode at one school where they have been for many years and also allows schools to have a wide cross section of teahcers coming from vast backgrounds, leadership styles, teaching methodolgies.

Hopethathelps.[/quote]

Yes, but you also find that schools lose 'corporate' knowledge as teachers and higher up teachers constantly get shifted around. I know of a couple of schools where faculties have ended up having to lose every staff member in one go, so the next year you have an entire new staff in a staffroom without an understanding of the school's operating procedures.

A better system would be one that encouraged mobility by offering incentives, but didn't force it.

gp 1:12 pm 17 Aug 11

Primary teacher here. Mobility is a great thing simply for the fact that is stops teachers becoming stale, and teaching the same year over and over. Skills and ideas are shared with new schools. We can applying in a transfer round any year we wish, and apply for any positions we wish. Schools can ensure they select the teachers best suited for the school, and their autonomy budgeting. There is some scope for Principals to extend the time a teacher spends in a school if they wish to.

I changed schools this year, and now have 3 extra minutes on my commute each morning, all the way up to 13 minutes driving past other Primary schools onthe way. I plan to be at my new school until the start of 2016, and know my community just fine already.

Having said that, we are some of, if not the lowest, paid teachers in Australia once each state's EBA has run its course (for top level teachers). Deputy teachers are WAY behind NSW. Sorry #7 trevar, you been to the union meetings lately? :-)

GP

Lazy I 11:08 am 17 Aug 11

[quote comment="345563"][quote comment="345536"]It is an iniquitous system as it stops teachers from becoming part of their community. The reasons I heard for introducing it were something along the lines of someone in power in DET thinking it would keep teachers on their toes.

The private system has no rotation, and it is a huge advantage. When they get a good teacher or principal, they can hold onto them.[/quote]

Hang on, by your logic, the schools that can't attract quality teachers should stay that way? How is that fair? The reverse arguement is that teachers who don't want to work too hard anymore and there are a few of them, sit back at the same school and never work to freshen up what they are teaching. It's not a perfect system but it does allow schools the opportunity to have teachers come into the school with a fresh approach.[/quote]

+1, I wish my high school had rotation so I didn't get stuck with the dusty old ducks photocopying their overheads from 10-15 years prior.

trevar 11:05 am 17 Aug 11

As has already been said, teacher mobility is a fact of life in ACT schools, for better or worse (and there is both a bit of better and a bit of worse). At any rate, getting moved around doesn't mean that much in a jurisdiction like ours. The school you move to could, at the absolute most, be only 40 minutes farther than the one you were at, and a move that big is very unlikely. And most teachers get to know their colleagues from other schools better than those in NSW and form lasting friendships and support networks across the system, not just in one school. I've worked in both NSW and ACT systems, and there is a much stronger sense of collegiality here, and no old boys clubs like NSW has!

I'm more interested in the statement that the ACT would mean a pay decrease? Comparing NSW Department of Education and Communities classroom teacher salaries with ACT Education and Training Directorate classroom teacher salaries, it looks like she should expect $12,000pa more in the ACT on a standard classroom teacher salary if she's been teaching for 8 years.

And better still, the ACT ETD doesn't treat its employees like dirt, which is a vast improvement on the NSW arrangements.

MrMagoo 10:31 am 17 Aug 11

It is an iniquitous system as it stops teachers from becoming part of their community. The reasons I heard for introducing it were something along the lines of someone in power in DET thinking it would keep teachers on their toes.

The private system has no rotation, and it is a huge advantage. When they get a good teacher or principal, they can hold onto them.[/quote]

Hang on, by your logic, the schools that can't attract quality teachers should stay that way? How is that fair? The reverse arguement is that teachers who don't want to work too hard anymore and there are a few of them, sit back at the same school and never work to freshen up what they are teaching. It's not a perfect system but it does allow schools the opportunity to have teachers come into the school with a fresh approach.

s-s-a 10:10 am 17 Aug 11

Also wanted to add that if your rellos live in inner western Sydney, IMO there are many many more reasons other than financial ones to move to the ACT. Especially if they are considering having children of their own.

On that note, permanent teachers in the ACT system who take mat leave are eligible to retain their positions (on unpaid leave) until their youngest child is in kindergarten.

s-s-a 10:08 am 17 Aug 11

AFAIK, teachers are on 5y mobility rotations, with Executive teachers on 8y mobility.

This absolutely does NOT prevent teachers from becoming part of their community. There are many teachers at my child's school who are enthusiastic members of the school community despite only having been there for one or two years.

MrMagoo 9:37 am 17 Aug 11

Sorry I should have said and I stand corrected on this that mobility is after 6 years for classroom teachers, and a bit longer with School Leader C and B positions. And I've broken into venacular, School Leader B is Deputy and C is head of say 5/6 team as an example. AssumeNSW has the same.

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