What does a teacher do?

Regardless of the educational level and specialisation they work in, teachers are responsible for creating a positive classroom environment, allowing students to develop their skills and knowledge in a supportive and encouraging setting. Teachers can opt to follow a career that aligns with a personal or professional interest in the secondary and vocational education sectors, such as art, mathematics or hairdressing. In the case of primary, ESL or special education teaching, the focus is placed on addressing the educational needs of the student across the entire curriculum.

Tasks:

  • Creating lesson plans to a set curriculum
  • Assessing student performance and providing feedback
  • Developing teaching materials and assessment tools
  • Maintaining classroom discipline
  • Guiding students to resources

What skills do I need to be a teacher?

Teaching is a hugely varied profession but some key skills and attributes are common across the education sector. Organisation and planning are crucial for success as a teacher, not only are you devising lesson plans and scheduling your teaching terms, you’ll need to provide structured feedback and assessment results to each student in the class individually. Patience, understanding and a genuine interest in student welfare are necessary in this demanding profession, teachers often speak of their career as a passion rather than just a ‘job’. Creativity, sensitivity, technological prowess and the ability to work closely with students, teachers, parents and community groups in a respectful way are all elements of this rewarding career path.

Skills/attributes
  • Patience, resilience and understanding
  • Highly organised and detail-oriented
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Able to break complex ideas into simple concepts
  • Enthusiasm for the subject/age group

Specialisations

Teachers can work at different levels of seniority, in different subject areas and with different age groups and ability types, making this a very diverse profession with many avenues for employment. In order to work as a teacher in the Australian public school system, you will be required to complete a tertiary qualification, generally a Bachelor of Education or postgraduate Master of Teaching.

Primary School Teacher

Working in the primary school system, teachers are expected to teach students from K-6 a range of basic literacy, numeracy, social science, creative expression and comprehension skills, ensuring their foundational skills are developed and nurtured early.

High School Teacher

To work within the secondary education sector, teachers must complete a specialisation as part of their Bachelor of Education degree, completing the requisite amount of units in their teaching field. It is also possible to become a teacher through postgraduate study.

Special Education Teacher

The special education sector caters to the needs of students with sensory, physical, emotional or intellectual disability or other learning impairment. It requires a lot of patience, care and planning and involves working collaboratively with parents, carers and health professionals. Special Education teachers instruct students in key life skills in addition to meeting educational goals.

ESL Teacher

Teaching English as a Second Language requires cultural sensitivity, a very good understanding of English and creativity in developing and adapting course materials to suit student needs. Teachers work across K-12 to improve students’ proficiency in English, using a range of assessment methods and teaching techniques.

Teacher Librarian

Working in either primary or secondary schools, teacher librarians ensure that appropriate resources are available to students. They assist in improving student literacy, coordinate distance education programmes, familiarise students with information technology and research methods and manage the library facilities.

Early Childhood Teacher

Working in preschools and community kindergartens, early childhood teachers blend creative play and education to promote early development of key literacy, numeracy, art, music and comprehension skills. They’re responsible for nurturing a child’s social, physical and intellectual development during their preschool years.

Accredited Childcare Worker

An accredited childcare worker is able to provide a creative and supportive environment in which children can learn and play. Completion of a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care is necessary for accreditation, allowing you to take on more senior roles in out of school hours care and preschool environments.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) Lecturer

VET lecturers provide targeted industry-based instruction to students hoping to enter a specific professional industry. Completion of a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and relevant professional experience in your subject area will allow you to conduct classes, workshops or courses in your specialty area.

Head Teacher

Head Teachers report to the school principal, overseeing the teachers in their specific department such as science or English. In addition to teaching classes, they provide assessment for the teachers in their subject area and perform administrative and management roles.

School Principal

Principals oversee the performance and welfare of a school as a whole and the student body. Working closely with the heads of department and administrative staff, they approve the educational program in line with prescribed curriculum goals, organise fundraising programs and enrolment drives. They are generally very experienced teachers with a thorough understanding of the education system.

Study pathways for teachers

Becoming a teacher requires tertiary study in your field of specialisation, as well as ongoing professional development to ensure you’re on top of developments within the education sector and your subject area or field.

Getting Started

These courses will qualify you to work in the education sector as support staff or in child care, a great introduction to the world of teaching.

Skill Building

Completing a bachelor degree will allow you to pursue employment as a professional teacher in Australian schools.

Professional Development

Additional training is available for those refining their skill set or pursuing a specialisation.

Industry Recognition

In order to work as a teacher you will need to join the register of qualified teachers in your state. Find out more in our Resources section.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your teaching career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for teaching jobs.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Teaching is a profession that always seems to be in demand. Qualified teachers are able to find employment at all levels with predictions of growth in future job openings.