Most, but not all, of the states in Australia are setting minimal standards for teachers to enter the profession. The testing of student teachers to see if they meet minimum literacy and numeracy standards is a good idea but some teachers will hope that it is not made retrospective or there may be a few more vacancies.

The setting of a minimum standard would seem obvious but it’s only a new approach as previously entry to a teaching course was based on the score a student received for their senior year and this did not require specific subject areas in most cases. At a time, the score required was below the media result although this was partially due to the low public opinion of teachers.

Of course, the reality in the workplace is different as there are some highly qualified people who are poor teachers. The other concern is that teachers are often asked to work out of their areas of expertise. As a mathematics/science teacher I have also taught geography, photography, woodwork, philosophy and coached sporting teams. Fortunately, all the girls who did the woodwork class still have all their fingers.

It is reasonable to expect that your children’s teachers are qualified, and more parents should demand it but at the same stage they should support the teachers and demand that they are well paid.

Dennis Fitzgerald,
Melbourne, Australia