Kiwis flock back into teaching after shortage

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thursday, 7 February 2019, 8:47AM
Kiwis are flocking back into teaching after the shortage made them more confident of getting a job.

New Zealanders are flocking back into teaching with the shortage making them more confident of getting a job. 

Universities report a surprising increase in new teacher trainees, although the picture is patchy with jumps of 10 per cent at Otago and 15 per cent at Massey but broadly stable numbers at the other five teacher-training universities.

Numbers are also up at Christian colleges Laidlaw in Auckland and Bethlehem in Tauranga, and in the Teach First on-the-job training scheme.

The turnaround builds on similar slight increases in domestic students entering teacher training in 2017 and last year, after a disastrous 43 per cent slump in the six years to 2016.

That six-year slump has led to a record teacher shortage which the Government has filled by bringing in 225 foreign teachers.

According to Careers NZ, primary and secondary school teachers usually earn around $48,000 in their first year, and this eventually rises to between $78,000-$80,000.

Head of the Institute of Education at Massey University, John O'Neill told Mike Hosking the shortage has helped attract students.

"If you're contemplating going into teaching, you will say it's worth taking on that extra debt because you have a better chance of getting a job."

He said previously the fear that they wouldn't get a good job had stopped people from becoming teachers.

"If you look at the numbers coming out of the teacher education institutions, only about one-third of them at most get the sort of jobs that will give them a good chance at getting to full teacher registration two years later."

"They key thing for me is not just getting more people into teaching, it's giving them good supported employment pathways for the first few years so they can go out and compete with everybody else for jobs." 

Despite the interest, O'Neill said teaching is still extremely exhausting and has a very high workload.

Teach First chief executive, Jay Allnutt told Kate Hawkesby they have seen an increase of 380 applicants this year.

"We did significantly more recruitment last year, but I have no doubt that we would have benefited from some of the higher profile around the teacher shortage."

"We talk a lot about the need for great teachers to address the inequity around the country and I think more people are looking for roles with purpose."

However, he agrees with John O'Neill, saying that the shortage has also made people more confident that they can get a job after they finish studying.

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