Although phrases such as “If you can’t… teach” poke fun at teachers, some of us use them because we are a little jealous. No really. There are few jobs with such a good starting salary that actually make you feel better about yourself as a person. “Rates of pay vary across each state and sector,” says Select Education’s Louise White. “Generally a casual teacher could expect to earn $200-plus per day especially in the bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne.” And the reality of actually landing a job that pays so well shouldn’t be just a pipedream. White says: “There’s always demand for teachers across Australia, especially casual teachers in Sydney.” But, as anyone who has already worked as a teacher should know, you need to be organised to get the work. “To have your qualifications accessed by each state you are generally required to submit your CV, qualifications, transcripts, visa/passport, birth certificate and current police clearances,” says White. If you are planning on moving around, be prepared for a lot of filling in forms, because Australia doesn’t have a national curriculum. Therefore, each state varies with registrations. If you’ve got the right qualifications and your paperwork is in order, then the most important thing to have is a willingness to be flexible. “In Sydney, we place teachers across a wide band of suburbs so teachers should be prepared to travel,” says White.
AN INTERVIEW WITH A TEACHER
Patricia Moran, 25, from Ireland
What made you decide to teach in Australia? I always wanted to travel. A friend recommended teaching here and suggested I come over and register.
What do you do now? Casual teaching in schools across Sydney. I have been lucky to secure a long-term position teaching special needs students in a mainstream school.
How does teaching in Australia compare to home? It’s different being a casual teacher. The experience of meeting new students and schools every day has been challenging and has professionally enhanced my teaching. I have gained experience in very multi-cultural settings, which has increased my knowledge of different backgrounds and involved me with cultural days.
How long do you plan to teach in Australia for? I’m planning to teach in Sydney until June. I’ve been here since November. I can teach in each school sector for a period of six months at a time due to my visa.
Where have you worked so far? I’ve been working in Sydney government schools. Next I’m travelling around Australia before heading over to New Zealand, Fiji and then on to the USA and back home.
What’s your best teaching experience? Working in the special needs class. I have been able to learn the children’s needs, been welcomed as a staff member, plus been involved with school concerts and extra curricular activities.
Any days not that great? We all have challenging days… The usual behavioural problems and trying to establish the boundaries with students.
How does the pay compare to your expectations? Pay is very good in comparison to other jobs, especially when I’m able to use my knowledge and skills. And of course there’s bonus of finishing at 3pm.
What advice would you give keen teachers-to-be? Do your research. Be organised and registered with the appropriate teaching boards/departments in each state to ensure all paperwork is in order. Also have a street directory and train timetable – it’s a lifesaver!