A Weekend with Beginning Teachers

Last weekend I had the great experience of meeting many beginning teachers who have decided to start their career out west – way west. Federation hosted a Beginning Teachers Conference in Lightning Ridge and new teachers travelled from Dubbo, Walgett, Bourke, Cobar, and the New England areas to learn all about their new chosen career.

The Federation hosts beginning teacher conferences or courses all over the state and they are open to all new (beginning) teachers who are employed as full time, temporary or casual teachers by the Department of Education and Communities and are located within a reasonable travelling distance of the conference.

Beginning teachers learnt about their working conditions as permanent, casual or temporary teachers, their accreditation or maintenance requirements with BOSTES, and reflected on their teaching practice in sessions about planning, programming and classroom management. They had also had the opportunity to ask questions about their employment that they had never considered until they lived and worked in a town out west.

The enthusiasm and dedication of these beginning teachers is contagious and to facilitate a conference in a location that is accessible to teachers in remote and rural locations enables them to network, learn and ask questions while re-energising and sharing experiences with other new teachers in the same situation. Some of this networking occurred on the Saturday night where we enjoyed a sit down meal together and bonded over karaoke. It transpired that many of the new teachers out west have excellent singing ability.

The Lightning Ridge conference also provides an insight for our Sydney based Officers into the lives of our beginning teachers which can be truly appreciated in that environment. I had a great time reminiscing about my three years teaching out that way, regaling my colleagues with stories about dodging kangaroos and emus on the road as a learner driver…..

If you are about to embark on your career as a teacher in NSW public schools, be sure to check the Federation’s website for Beginning Teacher courses or conferences (depending on your location) to get the low down on things that other teachers just seem to know as well as an understanding of the requirements of your new position.

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