Becoming a teacher in Australia opens a world that is relatively inaccessible to anyone who does not have the proper training. There are specific educational degrees that one must hold to obtain the required teacher registration (equivalent to certification in the United States). The prospective teacher will need a senior certificate (high school diploma) or an adult equivalent, such as an SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) score from a TAFE (Technical And Further Education) college or an adult matriculation certificate, available through night school at various high schools throughout school districts in Australia.
Gain the relevant qualifications for teacher registration by obtaining either a four-year bachelor of education (BEd) or a three-year degree, such as a bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BSc). You can then enter an education faculty of a university and complete a graduate educational methodology degree, which will enable you to teach in high school.
Note that in Australia, if you obtain a BEd or other primary degree, you must have two majors or teaching areas to be registered as a teacher. When considering courses, make sure you select two teaching areas. Note also that in Australia, a three-year degree is equivalent to a U.S. four-year degree, as eight courses are completed each year in Australia, as opposed to six in the United States.
Become registered with the relevant Teacher Registration Board in your state. In Queensland, there is the Queensland College of Teachers, which is automatically notified of all graduates in education from universities around the state. Newly graduated teachers, however, will still have to contact the College of Teachers to obtain their registration information.
Apply for teaching jobs. Once registration is finished and you have an ID card, you can approach any private school for a position as a teacher; however, if you wish to teach in the state school districts, which pay higher rates, you are required to go before a panel of Education Department staff for a suitability review. This is an interview, during which you are required to answer in writing exactly how you would handle a number of different teaching scenarios, thus demonstrating your teaching abilities.
Receive an S (suitability) rating following the interview, which will determine how quickly you will be offered a position in the state school system. A rating of S1 will be offered a job almost immediately, and an S2 may have to wait a few weeks. An S3 may need to take whatever school is offered, no matter where, and an S4 really should study some more and try for another interview in a few months.
Learn the operating rules peculiar to each state system. The rules will differ slightly in each state in Australia, but they are essentially the same. The teacher unions in each state are no longer compulsory, but most teachers become members mainly because the unions offer comprehensive legal representation in case of litigation.
- State schools tend to be much more tolerant of bad behavior. Caning (corporal punishment) is banned from all schools. Generally, a university education will not prepare you for the realities of school teaching.
Enzo Silvestri is an author and educator in English, languages, and social sciences. Currently teaching in college he has published novels, poetry and a variety of articles for online health and fitness publications, and is currently working on two new projects as well as continuing online writing.