The changing nature of teachers’ work and its impact on teacher preparation

Year: 2019

Author: McCallum, Faye

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The world is in the midst of an unprecedented technological revolution and changes are underway on a vast scale with digitalization transforming economies, governments and societies in complex, interrelated and often unpredictable ways.These changes are fundamentally altering how people live, interact and work and this process inevitably affects how we do our work requiring a transformation in design and delivery. Teaching is not immune from this revolution, in fact it must play a critical part to prepare young people forinnovative, productive and socially just futures. Yet teachingis a highly complex profession.Australia's graduating teachers are entering the workforce at a time of unprecedented change, increased education opportunity, and over-whelming complexity.They start their teaching degrees wanting to contribute positively to learning and engagement with young people but are often overwhelmed with the complexity of their roles and can grapple with professional identity, poor school literacy and numeracy, and declines in student engagement in schools.We know that teaching is one of the most rewarding careers a person can encounter, yet it is one with increasing levels of workload; high levels of accountability, measurement, and administration; is experiencing new challenges in student and parent behaviours; and is a rapid ever-changing digital and global sector.

This paper argues for a re-think on teacher preparation that focusses on 21st century skills for an education system that prepares today’s young people for New Work Smarts in 2030 and beyond. Research in Australia and Canada has been undertaken on how well teachers feel they are prepared to manage their work by sampling early career teachers, mid-career teachers and those in leadership roles.Participants completed an online survey which included a number of categorical questions, answered via multiple choice, items responded via n-point Likert scales and some questions included open-ended answers. All results generated descriptive statistics (e.g. frequencies) displayed via bar plots and sunburst charts. The distributions of numeric data and averages are displayed via boxplots. Findings indicate that for children and young people to be well, to achieve at school and to be prepared for the future, teachers must also be well.A well-educated population is a key to a nation’sprosperity, peace and human flourishing andthus, high-quality teachers must be attracted to and retained, and the extent to which this is achieved is highly dependent on their wellbeing.