Over the final weekend in October, 9 delegates attended the second National New Educators' Conference in Adelaide and what an informative weekend it turned out to be!
The conference provided an opportunity for new educators from across the country to meet and discuss their stories, thoughts, goals and concerns. It was fantastic to be a part of this experience and to see in delegate's faces the realisation that teachers from across the country are facing similar working environments, challenges and problems.
There were certainly a lot of 'aha' moments over the course of the weekend.
The conference was opened by our AEU Federal President, Mr Angelo Gavrielatos.
He provided delegates with an overview of the national landscape and highlighted some of the challenges and opportunities these present.
He spoke about the federal schools funding and how the current funding system is blind to student needs.
It was pleasing to hear though that we are endeavouring to change this through the AEU campaign.
The funding review has received 7200 submissions, with 6000 courtesy of the AEU campaign. But more still needs to be done.
Mr Gavrielatos also spoke about the proposed bonus pay scheme as 'bad policy' as teaching is not a popularity contest.
He continued by saying that recent evidence in the USA has shown this compromises educational outcomes and that the bonus pay scheme has been banned in New York. It really begs the question as to why our government is considering implementing bonus pay into Australian schools.
Chris Bonner (author and public education advocate) and Bernie Shepherd (retired principal and public education advocate) addressed conference and presented some compelling information about My School and NAPLAN data relating to equity, or should I say, inequities in Australia's education system.
If only we could get some of this information further out into the public domain.
Margery Evans, CEO, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), also addressed Conference and provided an overview of the National Professional Standards for teachers.
These standards are intended for every teacher of every child and they have been developed with the education community to set and maintain standards for excellence in teaching and school leadership.
They have been designed to “define the work of teachers and make explicit the elements of high quality, effective teaching in 21st century schools.” AITSL is working towards 2013 for implementation of these standards.
This generated much debate, especially around the concerns of workload and access to professional development.
Pat Cavanagh, an SA educator from Woodcroft Primary School, provided conference with a teachers' perspective of the implementation of the Australian Curriculum. It was certainly interesting to hear from someone who is actually trialling the curriculum and not just from a CEO's view point.
After spending time in state branches, delegates were also given an opportunity over the weekend to mix and mingle. It was interesting to hear the differing views of the new educators and how perceptions differed.
Some of the hot topics that were discussed included professional development, the Australian Curriculum, National Professional Teacher Standards, Facebook implications, recruitment and AEU –history. It was intriguing to see how new educators were recruited and to gain a sense of how student membership programs were working in the different states.
The weekend provided an opportunity to make connections between delegates as well as between states.
It was an invaluable opportunity for new educators across the country to understand that teaching is a universal language.
We are all working together to educate the next generation.