Teaching is undoubtably a profession that can impact the lives of others while offering a myriad of challenges to learn and grow from. Universities in Australia offer a solid foundation in their education and training courses. They includes industry experience, leadership programs and other extensive practical work.
Secondary school teachers teach one or more subjects within the school curriculum to secondary students. On the other hand, primary school teachers educate primary-aged children across the whole curriculum.
Note that this article refers to careers in both primary and secondary teaching. More information on specialist teaching — such as a specific discipline, early learning or tertiary education, can be found on The Good Universities Guide.
5 benefits of a career in teaching
1. Learn globally transferable skills
Australian-educated teachers are highly sought after around the world due to the rigorous training undertaken, meaning your job could take you to other countries where you can help teach a wide variety of children important life skills.
2. Shape future generations
You’ll likely work with students of all backgrounds who go on to do all sorts of things – including becoming the next generation of healthcare workers, entrepreneurs and CEOs. You may end up witnessing the start of some incredible careers; and even play a part in helping the student get on the right path for them. In 20 years, successful past students may be crediting your teaching for helping them become who they are.
3. Do challenging and rewarding work
Working with and educating young adults is certainly hard work — teachers often work outside their allotted school hours to prepare classes and mark work. But through all the long weeks and testing days, there are very distinct rewards. Seeing students show improvement and achieve great results after your teaching efforts can be a wonderful feeling.
4. There’s always a strong demand for teachers
With new schools opening constantly, there’s always a need for more teachers. Job Outlook predicts that teaching will continue to be an industry of strong growth, as they expect the number of working teachers in Australia to rise to 151,600 by 2024.
5. Decent pay and holidays
For all of their hard work throughout the schooling year, teachers are reasonably well compensated. Job Outlook says the median weekly salary for an Australian secondary school teacher is $1,914, which is above average. While teachers may work longer hours during the school terms, the additional leave over school holidays is considered a perk for many.
What does the role of a teacher involve?
Among many, many other things, a teacher:
- prepares daily lessons and long-term teaching programs in accordance with state or territory curriculum and guidelines
- teaches using a variety of methods, including formal lessons, discussions, practical activities, experiments, projects, assignments and excursions, taking into account the differences between individual students
- sets tests, exams, projects, assignments and homework — this also includes marking and correcting assessments
- guides discussions and supervises work in class
- maintains discipline in classrooms and other school areas
- discusses individual progress and problems with students and parents
- supervises student teachers on placement
- participates in staff meetings, educational conferences and workshops.
What kind of people make good teachers?
Those considering a career in education (primary or secondary) will need to ensure they:
- enjoy working with children or teenagers
- and creative and organised
- and diligent and confident
- have an enthusiasm for, and ability in, the chosen subject area
- have the ability to communicate concepts and instructions clearly
- can be patient when dealing with students of differing abilities and cultures
- accept of the rights and needs of all individuals
- are prepared to work outside of school hours.
How to become a teacher in Australia
How to become a high school teacher
To become a secondary school teacher, a four-year integrated course in the subject area is needed — teaching components are taught throughout (for example, a Bachelor of Secondary Education majoring in visual arts). Alternatively, you can complete a degree in a subject area related to the current secondary school curriculum (like science, history or mathematics, followed by a postgraduate qualification in education — for example, a Master of Teaching (Secondary).
How to become a primary teacher
To become a primary teacher, a four-year degree in primary education or primary school teaching is needed. Alternatively, you can undertake a postgraduate qualification specialising in primary education — such as a Master of Teaching (Primary — after completing an undergraduate degree with relevant study areas.