Job success for new teaching graduates

Rebecca Archer with her students. (Photo/Rachel Walker).

As another school year gets into swing, all but one of Massey University’s new Master of Teaching and Learning graduates celebrate their study success by having a class to call their own in 2016 – the other is back in the classroom completing further study.

Just when many thought the teaching job market was going to be tough to crack, 24 of the 25 who finished the new master’s have found employment across primary and secondary schools in New Zealand, while one is doing further study at Massey.

Abbie Lawrence and Stephanie McPhail have both started teaching at Island Bay School in Wellington with a Year One and Two class, and a Year Four and Five class respectively.  

Both Ms Lawrence and Ms McPhail were proactive about finding jobs, and feel new graduates need to be open-minded about where they apply.

“I had my CV ready to go in September and as soon as I started seeing jobs I started applying. I went all over the lower North Island and didn’t confine myself to one particular place. I was lucky enough to land a role at a school I was really excited about,” says Ms McPhail, who initially studied a Bachelor of Health Science at Massey University.

Job success aside, Ms McPhail believes there is a lot to gain from getting a teaching qualification and that those thinking about pursuing it should think beyond the obvious career prospects. 

“When people ask me if they should study teaching I always tell them to just go for it, regardless of the job market. The skills and confidence that you gain from putting yourself into the school environment and gaining the qualification will always matter.  The degree tells employers a lot about you, your character and your ability to communicate well. There is always a place for good teachers out there,” she says.

Rebecca Archer was the first in her class to be offered a role as an art and design teacher, at Awatapu College in Palmerston North.

“I think I was unbelievably lucky. If you had told me that the art teacher was going to be the first to get a job I would have laughed,” she says.

Ms Archer, originally from Wanganui, feels that doing the master’s was a huge help and put her a step ahead.

“Being in school three days a week [during the degree] means you learn the stuff that textbooks can’t teach you. You build stronger relationships with the staff and students, can maintain long-term expectations, have the time to mature as a teacher, and really see a difference in the way you teach,” says Ms Archer.

Co-leader of the programme Dr Alison Sewell is proud of the programme’s first batch of high quality graduates, and of the encouragement their job successes can offer to others thinking about entering the teaching profession.

“The success of our graduates is a reflection of their commitment, knowledge and professionalism, and also to the quality of our innovative initial teacher education programme. It’s great to know that Massey have helped them to kick-start their new careers,” says Dr Sewell, a senior lecturer in the Institute of Education.

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