Thursday, January 15, 2009

W.A. Teacher shortage

In today's daily newspaper there is an article telling of the teacher shortage in Western Australian government schools. The Education Dept is down around 170 teachers as the start of the school year approaches. This is very hard to understand as our daughter Helen and no doubt hundreds of other teachers still do not have notice of their 2009 placement and indeed if they even have a job this year.

There are permanent teachers and temporary teachers. Helen is a 'temp'. It is quite difficult to become a permanent teacher. There are three avenues to permanency as I see it. 1. You select a country school with the flies and the heat and cold with often poor accommodation and stay there for a few years. 2. You can ask to be sent to a school which is difficult to staff. In other words a school in a poor area with difficult students and parents. The third way to gain permanency is to apply for a position in a school offering Merit Selection. Not many schools offer Merit Selection and quite often the position offered is already marked for someone. There are many female teachers who remain temporary because of family or other commitments.

So, are these teachers, the temps, counted in that 170? Many teaching positions are notified within days of the start of the school year. Thank goodness Joan and Kev were always permanent and didn't have that hanging over us up until the day before the start of the school year.

Helen has been looking at other jobs and one I pointed out to her was at the U.S. Consulate in Perth. The job was an Executive Officer and the salary started at $87,000 per year with nice working conditions etc. The job was well within Helen's experience, having worked in a similar position at BHP for a number of years. When we came to read the Selection Criteria it was obvious that the job was written for someone already in the job. The education level was High School! This high-flight job should demand at least a degree, with some business quals. Damn!

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