8 April 2022

We need teachers: staff shortage in Queanbeyan now a 'crisis'

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Teachers holding a banner

Members of the NSW Teachers Federation protesting in Queanbeyan in March. Photo: Patrick Doswell.

The teacher shortage in Queanbeyan is now a crisis that will only get worse, Queanbeyan Teachers Association president Patrick Doswell has warned.

“They’ve got band-aid solutions where the Department of Education sends out people that have their degrees to go and work at schools, but they’re only temporary, they’re not sticking around,” said Mr Doswell, who began teaching in 2012 and has been at Queanbeyan West Public School for the past eight years.

“No one’s coming. There is no help. We need people. We need teachers. There is a shortage. There’s a crisis.”

READ ALSO Strike at Queanbeyan and Karabar schools a ‘very disappointing’ disruption says Education Minister

“One of the first commitments Nichole made was to contact Sarah Mitchel [Minister for Education]’s office after our march,” he said.

“She also promised to talk to Sarah Mitchell about the other issues we’d stated while we were there which was fantastic, in regards to the staff shortages and workload issues we’ve been having.”

Nichole Overall and protesters

Nichole Overall addresses teachers outside her office on Wednesday. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Doswell said Ms Overall agreed there was a lack of teaching staff in schools in the region, which could be alleviated by the short-term option of home learning.

“We were all in agreeance that this was a band-aid solution and that long-term solutions would need to be addressed to make sure this wasn’t a permanent solution,” Mr Doswell said.

Teachers protesting

In late March, Queanbeyan High School teachers went on strike to protest against staff shortages. Photo: Supplied.

READ ALSO Education minister defends school capacity planning in rapid-growth areas

Mr Doswell said it is upsetting to see job listings for permanent and temporary teaching roles every week.

“It’s arduous seeing how many positions are going unfulfilled. We’ve had so many walk-off protests via the high schools recently because we don’t have the staff,” he said.

“I just want my students to receive an excellent education.”

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Maybe teaching is too hard for the Zoomers

No so long ago it was hard for a teacher to get a full time permanent job in Queanbeyan. The pay was better than the ACT teachers got and ACT teachers needed a harder type of degree to obtain than NSW required. So teachers from the ACT found working in surrounding NSW an attractive proposition.

What changed? Oh the LNP is probably the answer.

Clever Interrobang12:36 am 10 Apr 22

Mandatory COVID vaccination is the real reason there’s suddenly not enough teachers when there used to be oversupply.

Blaming the LNP is an easy scapegoat. There’s a shortage in Canberra too where (guess what?) libs are not in power.

I was trying to find a teaching job back in 2017/18 and it was impossible to do, oversupply of teachers everywhere across Canberra and Queanbeyan (I changed careers because of the lack of teaching jobs available). Now suddenly, the opposite situation is the case. Hmm…

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