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Early Career Teacher's Guide
Congratulations on your first teaching job!
The initial years of a teacher’s career can often be challenging but also provide numerous avenues for support and growth.
Whether you will be working in the Catholic or independent sector or as a CRT, the IEU is here to help you navigate any difficulties, protect your rights to a safe and fair work environment, and develop your skills as an educator.
Make sure you don’t miss out on the extra support and benefits, by joining 20,000 of your colleagues across Victoria and Tasmania in the IEU.
To get started, here is some useful information to help you transition into your first teaching job.
Click on each heading to access information related to that topic.
As a member of the Independent Education Union Victoria Tasmania, you are part of a great and growing union of over 20,000 members.
Convert your IEU student membership to graduate membership, and take advantage of our discounted membership fee for first year teachers.
This is important so that we can assist you should you encounter any difficulties in your employment.
You can join as a graduate teacher in a number of ways:
- join online
- get a form from the IEU Rep at your workplace
- by downloading the form and mailing / faxing it back to IEU Victoria Tasmania on (03) 9254 1865
- by ringing IEU Victoria Tasmania and requesting a form - (03) 9254 1860
Joining the IEU
- Helps protect your job and your rights at work
- Gives you a voice in negotiations with your employer
- Helps improve your pay and conditions through our collective strength
- Ensures both staff and students benefit from a safer, fairer and more democratic teaching and learning environment
- Gives you access to a comprehensive program of quality training and personal development
- Provides you with access to expert advice and support on any workplace matter
- Gives you the peace of mind with free legal advice, professional indemnity and legal liability insurance.
As well as providing you with support and advice about all aspects of your work, the IEU uses the collective buying power of our membership to help you save money on the home front.
IEU membership benefits include:
- Exclusive access for you and your family to the non-profit Teachers Health Fund
- Member Advantage discounts and special offers
- Union shopper
- Training and professional development
- Free legal advice
- Financial services through ME Bank
Get involved and shape the future of your Union by getting in touch with your IEU sub-branch rep or organiser today!
Your Employment Contract
Your contract is a legally binding document outlining many of your conditions of employment, including your rate of pay. If you have been offered a fixed term contract, it is particularly important that you contact your union to know your rights.
- Do you have a contract/letter of offer?
- Have you contacted the IEU Victoria Tasmania office to check that it meets its obligations?
- Have you signed the contract and returned a copy of it?
Your contract should also refer either to an Agreement or an Award, which provides more detail of your conditions. Agreements (including the Multi-Enterprise Agreement covering all staff in Catholic schools) are negotiated between the IEU and your employer, and provide you with improved pay, conditions, and rights. If your school is not covered by an Agreement, the relevant Award provides a basic “safety net” of minimum standards. See the industry-specific detail below.
For more contract-related information contact us directly or refer to our advice sheet here: www.ieuvictas.org.au/your-union/ieu-advice/contracts-of-employment/
Information Specific to Independent Schools
Ideally as a beginning teacher you should be assigned a mentor and given a reduced load.
Many schools have made collective agreements through negotiation with the IEU. This is the first place to look to ascertain your conditions of employment. Below is a link to a list of Enterprise Agreements: an Enterprise Agreement is the most secure and efficient way of improving conditions of employment in your workplace. If your school has such an agreement, it is legally binding.
If your school is not bound by an Agreement, your employment conditions will be underpinned by the relevant Award, the Education Services (Teachers) Award 2010. This document contains the minimum set of conditions and protections that a school is obliged to provide, and does not represent the industry standard.
Information Specific to Catholic Schools
If you are working as a beginning teacher at a Catholic school, your employment conditions will be contained in the Victorian Catholic Education Multi-Enterprise Agreement, which has been negotiated between the IEU and the Catholic education employers. This document outlines your rights at work in relation to such matters as salary, hours of work, teaching load and other conditions
As a beginning teacher, having a reduced load of face-to-face teaching hours will allow you to prepare your full VIT registration application and also to settle in to your new career.
In Victorian Catholic schools, primary teachers may be allocated a maximum of 21 hours of scheduled class time per week in their first year, for secondary teachers the maximum is 18 hours per week in their first year.
Additional Qualification and Accelerated Advancement
If you have successfully completed a qualification of Master degree, its equivalent or higher, you will be entitled to advance up the incremental scale by one sub-division (clause 52 of the Agreement) from 1 May following the date on which the extra qualification was attained. Obtaining a second or subsequent higher qualification will entitle you to advance further up the scale. You must notify your employer in writing of the acquisition of any additional qualifications attained and provide satisfactory evidence.
Information Specific to Casual/Relief Work
In addition to the provision of relevant employment information, schools offering you casual relief work should ideally provide you with opportunities to undertake activities required for you in respect to application for Full Registration. Some of these activities may include classroom observation sessions, collegial activities and meetings.
The IEU runs regular PD conferences for CRT members to assist them to meet the minimum VIT requirements – check our website for details.
Rates of pay for relief teaching work will vary across independent schools, and are often contained in individual school Agreements (see tab above for further information about conditions in independent schools) .
In Catholic schools, the following rates apply.
Maximum Daily Rate
1 August 2015
Your Induction Program
As an early careers teacher you should expect your school to have an induction program in place for you.
What is a good induction program?
Variety – your school induction program should help you build upon your background knowledge and skills through varied forms of assistance
Resources – you should be provided sufficient support and resources; you should be able to work closely with a mentor in your first and second year of teaching
Workload and support – you should not be given an unreasonable workload; your school should encourage you to build your confidence and strengthen your work practice, respecting your teaching style.
The induction program should be developed and resourced according to your need.
It is important that you are provided with an overview and a timetable of the induction process.
Provision of information
You should be provided clear employment-related information. This should include and may not be limited to: duty statement, documents relating to ethos and mission of the school, superannuation entitlements and options, union coverage and benefits, salary and conditions entitlements, provision of training in school policies, procedures and general expectations, duty of care, mandatory reporting responsibilities and teacher/parent communication.
Provision and resourcing of Mentor Teacher
You should be allocated a mentor teacher who will be regularly available to meet with you throughout the year to provide support. Your mentor will work with you throughout the induction process and in the activities required and recommended to assist you to move from Provisional to Full registration.
Your roles and responsibilities, as well as your Mentor’s, should be clearly defined.
Your school may have a staff member who has been allocated responsibility for overseeing the induction program. This is the person you can talk to should you need to raise issues or concerns with someone in addition to your mentor.
Professional development opportunities
You should be provided access to appropriate ongoing professional development activities; this includes the provision of information concerning teacher unionism and professional associations. Your mentor should also be provided with the opportunity for professional development regarding their responsibilities in assisting you.
Reduced teaching loads
Ideally you should be allocated a reduced teaching load of not less than two hours per week in your first year of teaching. If appropriate, this could be extended beyond your first year. As an early career teacher you should also not be expected to teach curriculum areas outside of your teacher training. Your allocation of classes should support you to build and consolidate your skills whilst minimising planning, assessment and reporting requirements.
You should have access to general wellbeing counselling services without any reference to professional competence. Most schools should have a counsellor or well-being co-ordinator you can talk to.
Your IEU sub-branch and school OHS rep are also available to support you. Make sure you know who they are, and do speak to them about any issues, questions or concerns you have.
Have you provided your employer with a copy of your VIT registration number?
Keep in mind that you cannot teach in a Victorian primary, secondary or special education school unless you have VIT registration (or Permission to Teach). Most registration applications are processed by VIT in January and February so that you are ready to teach by the start of the school year. If you have not received your card by the time you are meant to start teaching and your application has been successful, you may be able to access your VIT registration number on the VIT Public Register:
Have you registered for a VIT Provisionally Registered Teachers info session?
VIT organises seminars for PRTs. These run from March to July and teachers only need to attend one after-school seminar over this period:
Make sure you read our PD section for more information.
Do you know what is required for you to move from Provisional to Full Registration?
Teachers new to the profession are granted Provisional Registration for a period of up to two years. Full registration requires provisionally registered teachers to have at least 80 days’ experience in an Australian or New Zealand school and to develop evidence to show they meet the professional standards for teachers at the proficient level.
The VIT website contains useful information relevant to provisionally registered teachers (PRTs): www.vit.vic.edu.au/prt/
Discuss the registration process with your mentor. VIT provides training for mentors, and it is important that your mentor is aware of their role in the process.
Have you discussed with your school what PD opportunities are available to you?
Your school should provide you with ongoing and regular PD opportunities.
IEU Victoria Tasmania
The IEU in conjunction with the AEU organises a number of PD opportunities for new teachers including:
- Early Careers Teachers Conference, whose program includes practical workshops for new teachers, covering subjects including different learning needs, classroom management and engagement strategies;
- PD in the Pub, is a free event for student teachers who are IEU and AEU members. The focus of this event is on effective classroom and behaviour management; it is run during after-school hours and it is a great opportunity to get to know other early career teachers.
Teacher Learning Network
The Teacher Learning Network is the not-for-profit professional development provider supported by the Australian Education Union and the Independent Education Union to provide professional learning for education workers.
The TLN offers a range of workshops in a variety of areas, including: iPads in the classroom, WebApps for Mobile Devices, Introduction to Restorative Practice, Leadership Skills for New Leaders, Primary Literary Basics, Community Engagement, and many more. Visit their website (www.tln.org.au) for more details.
If your school is a TLN member, you can get free access to their courses and resources. Find out whether your school is a member: www.tln.org.au/memberschools
School/System offered PD opportunities
Your school may offer a number of PD opportunities for you. Make sure you don’t miss out by asking your mentor or induction coordinator for information.