4 Online Services NSW Casual Teachers Should Know About (So You Want To Work in a NSW Public School Part 3)

Many teachers apply directly to schools for casual relief positions, and I gave some suggestions for how to go about this in my earlier post, So You Want To Work in a NSW Public School Part 1.

However, there are also a number of online services and agencies that will help you get a foot in the door.

Casual.Direct  is the NSW Department of Education and Communities’ automated casual teacher staffing system.  While my school doesn’t take advantage of it, a lot of schools across NSW use this service to replace teachers who have called in sick. Schools request casual teachers through Casual. Direct and staffing officers then ring teachers who are registered with them to fill the position.

Class Cover is a private online booking service that is gaining popularity with schools. Unlike Casual.Direct, schools can create their own casual teacher lists using the service, and can search and browse the CVs of teachers who are registered with them. There is a subscription fee for schools and teachers using this service.

JobFeed, from Teach.NSW is where you will find longer term temporary and permanent jobs with NSW DEC advertised. You can subscribe to the JobFeed using the link on the right hand side of their website.

There are a few things you need to do on your first day of casual teaching in the NSW public system to sort out your pay, taxation and superannuation. This page from NSW DEC has all the information you’ll need.

The Casual and Temporary Teachers Handbook from the NSW Teachers Federation is an essential resource for casual teachers. It tells you all about your working conditions, hours of duties, leave entitlements etc. It’s important for you to understand exactly what schools can and cannot ask of you.

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Of course, getting your first casual teaching appointment is just the first step. To get called back, you need to make a good impression. My tips on how to get called back are here.

Applying for permanent work in NSW public schools is a very different ball game. I’ll be posting about that in part 4 of this series.

Teaching Quality or Teacher Quality – Framing the debate around education.

Just think about the difference between these two terms:

Teaching Quality

Teacher Quality.

The simple change, from a verb to a noun,  brings with it a massive shift in the way we think about the education system and the work of teachers.

Teaching Quality directs our attention to what teachers DO.  A few years ago in  NSW, we adopted the Quality Teaching Framework, a model of pedagogy which we used to guide our professional development. It included evaluation tools that allowed us to reflect on our practice, identify areas that we were doing and identify those areas in which we could become more effective. It was a tool for learning, that enabled all teachers to develop their practice and improve their teaching quality. The idea of Teaching Quality brings with it the notion that teaching can be learned and can be improved.  It also brings with it the idea of investing in and building a culture of ongoing professional learning.

Teacher Quality directs our attention to who teachers ARE. There is an ongoing debate around this idea in Australia at the moment. Should only our highest achieving high school graduates be allowed to study teaching, or should everyone be given access to a teacher education course?  Does success at school predetermine Teacher Quality?  Read this article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald for a taste of the debate. The term Teacher Quality  focuses us on the TYPE of people who become teachers rather than on investing in their ongoing professional growth.

I find the use of the term Teacher Quality extremely problematic when used to frame debate around education.  Too frequently it is used in a  way that, intentionally or not, denigrates the profession. As I wrote in my post The Problem with the Teacher Quality Debate,  often it puts the entire responsibility for an education system on to the shoulders of its individual teachers and other issues, such as equity, school management, funding, provision of access to professional learning and provision of adequate time to prepare lessons can be conveniently ignored.

A cynic might even believe that conservative governments and commentators,  who are eager to reduce rather than increase public spending,  deliberately use this language to avoid responsibility for dealing with the difficult and complex nature of an education system. The  solution is appealingly easy: recruit a better, higher quality type of person into teaching,  so that we have Quality Teachers and the education system will become one of the world’s best.  When the system doesn’t work, instead of dealing with complexity, we can just blame those other teachers, the one’s who aren’t of quality.

Back to school

Here is a great post from “Wharton Hears a Who” with some really practical tips for new teachers. Check it out.

Wharton Hears a Who

Confession: almost every week of an 11 week Term 1 in my first year of teaching I had no idea what I was doing. Not in terms of content, I know my subject and where I had to take my students, but I do clearly remember doing administrivia in week 9 which should have been done in week 1. It’s not my intention to sound like a victim, but rather I want this post to serve as an active reminder of what to do when you start school and some things that should be completed by the end of Week 1 to set you up for success.

In no particular order…

  • Calendar of dates in daybook. If you use a daybook, it is very much worthwhile in recording your teaching periods, important dates etc. into a daybook which you will continually refer back to.
  • Roll call. Print off a copy…

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