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Feeling stuck as a casual teacher

Discussion in 'Australia - Staffroom' started by dclaxton34, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. dclaxton34

    dclaxton34 New commenter

    I recently graduated with a Masters in Primary Teaching from Western Sydney University and for a few months I've been a K-6 casual primary teacher in Sydney's south-west (around 40 paid days so far, the work really dried up at the end of November). I've applied for many temporary and permanent opportunities in Sydney with no luck. I've since applied for a few temporary opportunities in the NSW countryside (I applied around the xmas period). Along with my masters, I also have a Graduate Teaching Certificate for TESOL (before my masters I taught ESL in South Korea and China for around 4 years, some of that period was in public schools however I was more of a guest teacher who didn't have grading or other tasks to do).

    While I'm grateful to have received some casual work, I can't stand having to work in different schools almost everyday; along with making me anxious and sometimes being not told anything, I just feel stuck in regards to teacher development (and compiling AITSL evidence to reach proficient status with NESA). I'd consider going overseas again however I feel that ESL and possibly international school work will be a waste of time if I was ever to apply for jobs back home in the future (I'm from Sydney). I feel like my ESL experience was a complete waste of time and that my TESOL certificate (from UTS in Sydney) may also not count as a useful qualification for EALD teaching work.

    I was just wondering for any readers how long did it take for you to get temporary/permanent work (and if so, did you move far away)?
    Is there still a lot of competition for rural/remote positions (I'm guessing it's less competition compared to Sydney but I wonder what the chances of an interview is)?
    Were you able to get work back in your hometown after working in a rural/remote environment?
    If you worked in the country or overseas, did you have to teach multiple stages/grades at once?
    If you moved to the country, how often could you return to your hometown (I just want to know as I live with my girlfriend, I hope that if I move it's temporary)?

    I'm sorry if I sound like I'm rambling on, I'm just hoping to find a teaching position that's not casual for next year. I look forward to hearing your experiences.
  2. kaylawilson4

    kaylawilson4 New commenter Tes Australia careers peer advisor

    Hi @dclaxton34 thanks so much for contributing to our forum. I have been where you are and I did go remote in order to secure full time work. I went to Mount Isa in North Western Queensland and taught there for three years. I can highly recommend regional/remote teaching as you get experiences and opportunities to build your skills quickly. I was able to get a permanent job out west and build my skills, got promoted to middle leadership and then secure a permanent job back home in Brisbane.

    Quality regional experience will serve you in much better in the long run, as you will have relevant Australian experience that can translate to principals in metropolitan schools. Regional posts can still get competitive depending on location and the type of role, but are generally easier to secure than metropolitan roles.

    When I lived regionally, it was expensive but I did fly home every school holidays and got to see my family and friends. This is something a lot of people in our school environment did, however, not everyone. Its totally up to you but even if the nature of your employment is temporary in your mind, it is always good to get involved in the local community and get amongst it so that you an can get the most out of the experience. I found that my time in regional Queensland to be a transformative experience for myself and my teaching.

    Feel free to ask any follow up questions and good luck!
  3. RobbyBarron

    RobbyBarron New commenter

    Hi, I'm in a similar position as you and feel a bit depressed about my current situation. I left a great school in the UK where I had taught for two years and loved every minute of it. I landed in Sydney in September and immediately got to work on becoming approved to teach. It took way long than anticipated, which resulted in my approval arriving in November. I am based on the Central Coast and have personally visited all the primary schools within about 30 minutes (approx. 30 schools). A face to face introduction seems to go along way and I worked 12 days out of a possible 35 across 4 schools. I was in high spirits going into the Christmas break but expected things to be slow after the holidays with teachers receiving a new class of children and implementing good habits etc. I thought I would get the occasional call for illness cover, maybe one day here and there for the first few weeks, yet I've had nothing whatsoever. I now feel very deflated despite being proactive and calling/emailing/visiting schools again to deliver my paperwork and personal information to them. I've had new schools contact me to confirm my availability etc but since the initial contact I have had zero work.

    I've had a huge amount of time off during the holidays, funds are dwindling and I'm itching to be back in the classroom. I've considered doing any form of casual work just to keep some money coming in from labourer to barista. I'm also looking into the possibility of rural/remote work but it's difficult since I have a girlfriend who is reluctant to move with me. On one hand, I'm worried about the strain on the relationship yet wonder about career progression if I did go with rural work. I really miss my permanent job in the UK at the moment and hope things improve quickly.
  4. RobbyBarron

    RobbyBarron New commenter

    I'd love to hear more about your regional experience.
    Did you get much support from the school and staff?
    What was everyday living like?
    Was there plenty to do?
    Do you feel it fast tracked you into permanent role?
  5. Hi,
    Just letting you know there are more opportunities in country towns than in the popular areas for primary teachers. I was visiting the Catholic primary school in Quirindi recently and the Principal told me they are having a lot of trouble attracting teachers. It would be a good way to get some experience under your belt and get off the casual treadmill.

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