Following on from World Teachers Day, the Federal Government has launched its ‘Be that teacher’ campaign to raise the status of the teaching profession across the country.

A joint Australian and state and territory governments’ initiative, the campaign features 15 Catholic school teachers who explain why they chose teaching as a career and who share their inspirational stories about the lasting impact they have on their students.

The program is part of the broader campaign under the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan (NTWAP) to address teacher workforce challenges.

It is an important initiative aimed at lifting the status of teachers in Australia and attracting more teachers to the profession. Teacher quality has the greatest impact on student learning and Catholic education welcomes the significant focus by the federal, state and territory education ministers to respond to the challenges we see across all sectors of education, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas.

While it’s critical to attract more teachers to the profession, we also need to provide the best initial teacher education we can, coupled with ongoing professional learning and mentoring to support teachers throughout their careers. I hope young Australians and those in other fields will be inspired to consider teaching as a career by hearing about the great work teachers do.

Part of the NTWAP is the significant investment in Commonwealth Teaching Scholarships providing bursaries of up to $40,000 each that were announced this week. Unfortunately, these scholarships are targeted solely at the government school sector.

Our principals are telling us that they are unable to compete with the incentives being offered in the public sector.

To favour one sector over another creates an uneven playing field and makes it extremely difficult for Catholic and other low fee schools to attract teachers. 

Jacinta Collins
National Catholic education executive director