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Maybe we don't value our Teachers enough

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

Two news items have given me pause for thought over the past few weeks.

The Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS, 2013) reported that in New Zealand 46% of teachers and 55% of principals agreed that teaching is valued in society. Looked at another way you could say that over half of our teachers feel that their profession is not valued. That’s a lot of teachers!

The second item, reported on the Stuff website recently, claimed that schools are bracing themselves for a shortage of teachers as the numbers of training college graduates continues to decline. A recent PPTA report claimed that secondary schools will need 1400 new teachers per year over the next eight years to replace teachers as they leave or retire. We need more graduates -  not less.

Poor pay, high stress and better career options are being blamed for fewer trainees completing teacher training. According to James Morris, chair of the New Zealand Secondary Principals' Council, teaching is no longer seen as a prestigious profession. No surprises there – I think this has been the case for some time.

What is putting them off a career in teaching? How do we reverse this trend? What can we do to look after our teachers, show them that society values them highly, and make teaching once more a desired career option? Planning is now underway for TALIS 2018. I hope that we will see a more optimistic picture.  

Jeremy Bloomfield