Teachers – and what ATAR score will be needed going forward to become one – have been trending in the wake of Labor’s pre-election call-out that a score of 80 or more should be needed to enter the profession.
The argument that only the best and brightest should enter teaching as a career (up there alongside medicine, law, engineering and science) is laudable. The formation of young minds is vital if generations to come are to succeed and flourish.
It, however, takes more than just high marks to teach. It takes aptitude - right person, right fit, right job. You might have a great analytical mind, but dislike interacting with people. Or the science chops to figure out the next technology breakthrough, but lack the patience to guide others to make those leaps of logic. You might make a great surgeon, but can’t formulate that knowledge so that somebody can learn it for themselves.
If this is the case then teaching isn’t for you, regardless of your marks, or a help to those you are tasked with teaching.
Few would dispute that teaching as a profession requires an overhaul. If you want the “best and the brightest” to see it as an option then better pay and support are needed. Outsiders might think teachers’ lives are cushy, with long holidays and short school days. But take into account out-of-hours activities and at-home marking and the working weeks are closer to those in medicine.
Labor’s blanket high-mark call-out on teaching entrants (and retribution for universities who don’t adhere to the new standard) was also an insult to those teachers who have dedicated their lives to the field. Who found a calling and followed it. Who have challenged and encouraged their pupils to fly high and far. The teachers who didn’t all get high ATARs.
Should we make sure that the best are going into teaching? Of course. They should be highly educated and engaged. But they should also possess the ability to inspire others to greatness. That is a vital element of teaching, the aptitude for which is rarely reflected in an ATAR mark.
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