“As a principal, I know that taking trainees straight off the street and putting them in front of a classroom is absolutely inappropriate,” said national president Louise Green.
“Teachers need high-quality, professional training and education to learn the skills of teaching,” she continued. “They need an understanding of child development and the curriculum.”
Green made the comments after a last minute amendment was made to the Education Legislation Bill – the changes would enable schools to cheaply hire an unqualified person in an unsupervised teaching role while they undertook an initial teacher training programme.
Green argued that the move made no sense, particularly as there is no skills shortage making recruitment difficult for employers. In fact, there is actually an oversupply of certificated and registered primary teachers in New Zealand and – according to the Ministry of Education – just 15 per cent of newly graduated teachers find permanent fulltime jobs.
“The amendments appear to be wholly inconsistent with the government’s goal of lifting the status of teaching and moving towards teaching as a post-graduate profession,” she said.
“Any teacher will tell you how daunting it to teach a class just after graduating with a teaching qualification. It beggars belief that someone could hope to be an effective teacher with anything less.”
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Sometimes, pushing employees in at the deep end is the best way to have them learn on the job but there are some workplaces where the technique just isn’t appropriate – NZEI Te Riu Roa says schools are among them.