28 February, 2009

Back to School

Many years ago I trained as a Secondary School teacher. It seemed at the time like the best option to make full use of my university degree in History and English. I completed the one-year course, during which I taught in three different schools, and graduated with a Diploma of Teaching.

The problem was that after graduation there was a shortage of jobs in teaching. I could count the list of vacancies on one hand. The only use I made of my DipTch qualification was to do some short-term, private tutition work, helping students prep for their exams. Eventually I moved into other work, and left teaching behind.

My teacher training never seemed like a wasted year of my life; as a manager of a number of staff in three different companies, I've found that many of the basic principles of classroom teaching have served me well. My teacher training gave me the skills to be an effective communicator, to keep people on task, to plan effectively.

Much as I enjoy writing, it's not lucrative enough to sustain me financially, so I've been giving so thought about what I want to do next. Preferably something that leaves me with enough time to continue writing part-time.

So I've been thinking about relieving teaching. My DipTch is still recognised; I just need to do a retaining course to get back up to speed and get registered.

I started looking into this last week and learned that the goverment funds free courses for returning teachers, to encourage people like myself to get back into the profession.

TeachNZ, the teacher recruitment unit of the Ministry of Education, pointed me in the direction of my old alma mater, the University of Auckland. When I finally got through to the right person (which was a mission in itself), I learned that there is indeed a retraining course coming up, but there's some doubt over whether it will take place as the course has not received any funding.

If the funding doesn't come though, the course won't take place. Without this course I cannot register and I cannot teach.

Meanwhile in the newspapers and on the television we're told that the goverment is pouring millions into job creation schemes. How about putting some of that money into teacher training...?

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