SEPTEMBER RESEARCH SEMINAR
11:30AM-12:00PM 25 September 2017
LEVEL 8, NEXUS BUILDING, 10 PULTENEY STREET, SMaRTe ROOM, SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
EARLY CAREER TEACHERS’ WELLBEING: INFLUENCES ON TRANSITION AND RETENTION
PROFESSOR FAYE McCALLUM
ABSTRACT: Teacher quality is one of the most influential factors that impacts on student achievement and there is widespread acknowledgment that perhaps the most important factor in determining how well children do at school is the teacher. Australia, like other countries, has been concerned about teacher quality and over the last decade there have been over 40 reports on various aspects of teacher education, each making various recommendations for improvement. Initial teacher education is identified as one such area and the most recent report, Australian’s Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) which was established 2014, was to provide advice to the federal government concerning the effectiveness of the pedagogy, subject content and professional experience offered by teacher education providers. According to TEMAG’s own report the review itself grew out of ‘two clear propositions: that improving the capability of teachers is crucial to lifting student outcomes; and that the Australian community does not have confidence in the quality and effectiveness of new teachers’ (TEMAG 2015, p. 1).
Thus the attraction, retention and sustainability of early career teachers to the profession is critical. Responses to the Staff in Australia’s School survey in 2013 indicated that the majority of teachers expected that teaching would be a lifetime career, but, teachers experience transition challenges as they adjust to the workplace, attempt to accommodate school expectations and workloads, feel pressured in implementing school policy and curriculum, and feel high accountability for student learning outcomes. Teacher wellbeing is increasingly affected by feelings of being overwhelmed, having low self-confidence, and oscillating levels of motivation and energy.
This presentation reports on a joint project that investigated the impact of wellbeing education in initial teacher education for early career teachers as they transitioned to work. Purposeful sampling of participants include graduates (one to five years) across Australian and British contexts and their responses to an anonymous online survey. Applying an iterative research design, influences on teacher wellbeing that are specifically related to transition and retention will be discussed
BIOGRAPHY: Professor Faye McCallum is Head of School of Education, at the University of Adelaide, a school based on long standing tradition in South Australia which offers initial teacher education specialising in senior secondary, and post-graduate programs in Australia and internationally, specifically in South-East Asia. Her two main research interests have attracted funds nearing $2m and include: wellbeing education; and, the attraction, retention and sustainability of teachers in rural areas. Outputs include publications in high impact journals and a book published by Routledge in 2016 on Nurturing Wellbeing in Education. Other outputs include numerous consultancies, grants and publications on learner, pre-service teacher and teacher wellbeing. She has worked in higher education for the last 30 years in South Australia, NSW and Queensland and has led accreditation, curriculum reform and the implementation of online teaching and learning