Teachers union backs mentor plan

Mount Terry Public School teachers Leia Blanch and Ryan Bailey, with principal Paul Murray. Picture: GREG TOTMAN
Mount Terry Public School teachers Leia Blanch and Ryan Bailey, with principal Paul Murray. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

The teachers union has welcomed news of mentors for temporary teachers fresh out of university but believes more needs to be done to support non-permanent staff in the region.

The NSW government announced on Sunday that eight mentors had been appointed to support new temporary teachers at 38 schools across NSW.

The mentors will support temporary teachers to prepare, deliver and assess class work and help them attain accreditation at a "proficient" level, which is the professional standard for teachers.

No mentors have been appointed in the Illawarra.

While Teachers Federation regional organiser Nicole Calnan supported the move, she said there was still a distinction between support for temporary and permanent staff.

New permanent teachers receive two extra hours a week to work on gaining compulsory accreditation and other professional learning.

"You could have in one school, a permanent teacher on one class and a temporary teacher replacing someone on maternity leave," she said.

"The permanent teacher attracts the additional support but the temporary teacher doesn't."

Mount Terry Public School teacher Leia Blanch worked for four years as a temporary teacher at the school before gaining permanent employment at the end of last year.

Since becoming a permanent teacher, she has received two hours a week of professional development.

"I really feel that extra bit of time allows us to work with a mentor on our accreditation process," she said.

"It would be good to receive that as a temporary teacher, but I still had plenty of support and teachers who gave up their lunchtime to help me.

"We are lucky here."

Year 5 teacher Ryan Bailey said he felt the benefits of being mentored.

"It's great to have someone there [to answer] any question, whether it's about the academic side of teaching, a student-based question or just a general inquiry," he said.

Principal Paul Murray said it was not practical for beginning temporary teachers to receive the same conditions as permanent staff.

"Yes it would be wonderful in a utopian world, but... temp teachers can be a range of different things," he said.

"Some can be on for a full year, some only work a month. You can't have a system that caters to all."


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