Australia’s need for educators has been driven by an interplay of salary, burnout and dissatisfaction, but new research will seek to find answers from a largely overlooked stakeholder - ex-teachers.
Experts from three major universities will survey teachers across the Independent, Catholic and State sector who have quit in the past seven years, as part of a national study into the country's staffing shortages.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Robyn Brandenburg from Federation University said ex-teachers are a critically underused resource in efforts to retain the education workforce.
“We've got more positions open than we can fill, and what’s happening is the teachers that are left in the classroom, their work is intensified," Dr Brandenburg told Education Review.
“There’s a wealth of talent and experience out there with teachers that have left, and it begs the question - do they intend to return, and what would it take?”
By 2025, the federal government estimates a shortfall of more than 4,000 high school teachers across the country.
A recent Monash University study which spoke to more than 2,000 teachers found more than 60 per cent planned to quit in the next five years.
Burnout, salary and underappreciation have been flagged as key factors driving a mass exodus, however there is little to no data on where teachers plan to move to in the next phase of their lives.
“What we want to do is connect with teachers who have left, and find out why they left, and how long did they think about leaving,” Dr Brandenburg said.
“This information is really going to inform universities, teacher ed programs, schools, principals, governance and policies.
“With their voices and their narratives we can learn deeper insight.”
Brandenburg, alongside Dr Ellen Larsen from University of Southern Queensland, Professor Alyson Simpson from the University of Sydney and Dr Richard Sallis from the University of Melbourne, plan to release their survey findings in mid 2023.
The survey, part of I left the teaching profession … and this is what I am doing now": A National Study, is currently open and can be completed here.Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]