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The Education Sector, an area of Circumstantial Opportunity – Steven Anthony Hall Working in education can be extremely rewarding, both in terms of job satisfaction and pay. Teachers and other educators enjoy passing on their knowledge as experts in their field. One of the great benefits of being an educator is that no matter what your interests are, there is usually a job that you can fill passing on your knowledge and skills. However, whilst there are a vast number of opportunities, they are often restricted in some sense to certain subject areas and locations. I will focus on three particular types of jobs in education: tertiary teaching (university), tutoring (through companies and privately) and secondary teaching (high school). A tertiary educator may have a variety of names including professor, lecturer or subject tutor. My experience is as a subject tutor, and initially in my career I had been training with the intent of becoming a professor or lecturer. A subject tutor is often the closest teacher to the students, as they communicate with the students directly and solve problems. They ensure that students understand how to use subject material. The subject tutors and students usually communicate to each other back and forth. A lecturer or professor, on the other hand, communicates by speaking, only occasionally taking questions from an audience. Their role is much more passive. Job opportunities in tertiary education are somewhat of a mixed bag. Like many areas in the education sector, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) are in much higher demand than other subject areas. In my own career, I became employed as a subject tutor at a university before even completing my undergraduate studies – I was teaching fellow students although a student myself. Unsurprisingly, this subject area was mathematics. I also completed studies in creative arts, and it was clear that in this subject area jobs were much harder to come by. Although subject tutor jobs are well paid (approx.. $130 an hour for the first class of the week, approx.. $40 an hour thereafter at the university in which I am employed), the hours are short. I averaged only 4-6 hours a week, which whilst worthwhile, was not a reliable income source. These hours are also only offered during university semester (26 weeks a year). Teaching jobs as a professor or lecturer also face issues in that they are often offered on a temporary basis. Unless a professor or lecturer has established themselves as a great educator, they are often only employed on the basis of their research presence. The advantage of this is that these educators are often very in touch with current developments in their field. However, most lecturers and professors do not have any form of teaching qualification, which may impact their quality of teaching. They usually work very long hours, often completing research papers between other tasks. Quite often they will work five or six days a week, often checking emails and reading correspondence and papers in their spare time. The job does pay well, however, with some jobs being upwards of $130000 a year. There is also the issue in that to maintain employment, lecturers and professors often move to a new city (quite often NSW, due to the high number of universities) for jobs and also country to country. This can be very stressful on their home lives. Secondary educators are usually referred to simply as teachers, or high school teachers in Australia. These teachers can be employed on a number of different terms including part-time, full-time, casual (call-in) and contract. High school teachers require either a state-recognised four-year university teaching course (a bachelor degree) or a bachelor degree in a relevant subject area (such as English Literatures or Maths) plus a Master of Education (secondary) degree (two-year course). They must also obtain relevant checks and certifications, such as a working with children check and complete anaphylaxis awareness training. Different states may require different training, however in recent years there has been more of a push towards nationally recognised courses and a national curriculum. Some schools, such as religious schools, Montessori method schools or private schools may have additional criteria. High school teachers have an advantage in the job market, particularly amongst jobs requiring a university education, since they are needed in all Australian states in both city and remote areas. Thus, it is possible to obtain employment in almost any area. There are far more jobs available in remote areas than city areas due to lower population density in those areas. It is a little easier to obtain a permanent position in those areas than in a city. Teachers in city areas often begin their careers in casual teaching, where they cover classes for teachers on leave. These jobs are often advertised online, and applications can often be made directly to schools. Like other education jobs, teachers in STEM areas are in much higher demand than others. It is rare for a teacher qualified in an area such as music to obtain a permanent position immediately after university. Teachers of subjects in less of a demand often work on a causal basis, sometimes even teaching areas outside of their expertise. Quite a few teachers I have known are qualified to teach health and physical education, yet they often teach science classes casually. It is possible for a teacher to retrain in other subject areas after they have already qualified as a teacher, however this often requires further education. Mathematics is in extremely high demand at the moment, with many teachers finding positions immediately. English plus another subject area (such as history or drama) is also a classic combination that often helps teachers secure employment. High school teachers have a salary starting at around $65000 and can reach $90000 after several years of work. Their hours are the same as school hours (plus some additional meetings), however, teachers often spend an exorbitant amount of time planning lessons, marking and designing units. The amount of work teachers do is often overlooked by parents and people in the community. In addition, there has been more pressure on teachers in recent years to ensure the success of their students from parents. Parents have been working longer hours in recent years, with both parents working. This has put pressure on families as well teachers. Tutors are usually employed as assistants for individual students. During my own training, I worked as a tutor for university students as well as high school students, both on a private basis and through a tutoring centre. These jobs are easy to obtain and there are always students one can advertise for private tutoring, using methods such as flyers or Facebook. However, in my experience, mathematics is one of the only subjects it is easy to find students for tutoring. Chemistry and English tutors are also occasionally needed, but not to the extent of mathematics. This is consistent within all areas of Australia, although it is easier to find students to tutor in city areas. A private tutor usually benefits from having university education in their field, although rarely, some tutors find work having only finished high school with good grades. A formal teaching qualification is not essential but beneficial. Regardless, if a private tutor is working with students below 18 years of age, they should obtain relevant checks such as a working with children check. It is best to advertise for students individually or directly contact a tutoring centre for job availabilities. Tutoring centres often churn through tutors quite quickly. It is very rare to obtain permanent employment as a tutor. Working as a tutor is extremely satisfying. Because you often work with students one-one-one, you see their progress directly. Working with students privately is the best way to achieve this, as their parents also have direct contact and are quite pleased when they see their child doing well. At a tutoring centre, you may tutor multiple students at once. The satisfaction is quite similar. In terms of pay, it is usually better to tutor students privately, and rates can be adjusted to your own qualifications and experience. As an undergraduate, I charged $25 an hour, however, as my training and experience increased, I also increased my rate to $40 an hour. At tutoring centres, you often only receive a maximum of ten hours a week and the pay is poor, ranging from $18 to $25 an hour. There is also pressure for students to improve drastically, since parents often pay up to $60 an hour for tutoring. Teaching is a rewarding career, however, circumstances such as subject area or location often restrict job opportunities. Regardless, most teachers will be able to find work, eventually. The pay is relatively good for the work, however during their first years of teaching, many teachers will often find the pay insufficient for the work that is put in, especially as a high school teacher. To be a teacher, you must have a passion as an educator – it is not a job to simply do for convenience.
Guest posted a topic in Aussie ChatHi there.. looking at coming on the business 457 visa but need ideas on where to go to for sponsors.. I am looking for work in the child care field. Any thoughts or ideas? looking for the newcastle to sydney areas thanks janine