The nation’s new educators recently descended on Sydney to learn about common issues across the country, and develop their knowledge and skills in activism.
While at the annual National New Educators Conference, participants also learnt about the international context of public education, with early career teachers speaking from Kiribati in the South Pacific, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Teachers were able to relate to some issues such as workload and pay issues, while there were stark contrasts with other countries in terms of class sizes and resourcing.
NSW participant Phil Baker said: “The conference was a fantastic opportunity to not only network with fellow activists but also allow for a national and global perspective into issues impacting public education.
“It is refreshing to realise we are not alone in our cause, and that our union is making huge inroads in helping improve our public schools while empowering our teachers and students in the process.”
Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe addressed new educators about today’s political landscape, including concerns about the failure of the Federal Government to provide needs-based funding and the effect this has on our more vulnerable students.
Federation President and AEU Deputy Federal President Maurie Mulheron provided new educators with a history of the union movement focussing on the power of campaigning and also challenges faced by the profession by the Global Education Reform Movement.
NSW high school teacher Rebecca Roth also valued the workshop presentations. “The conference’s professional development workshops were a particular highlight, energising, motivating and activating members to recruit, build workplace capacity and learn about critical issues in our country and abroad,” she said.
“Through my participation in the National New Educator’s Conference, I have built many professional relationships with young activists near and far, and feel a greater connection to union campaigns and actions to better public education globally. The National New Educators’ Conference allowed participants from all across Australia to come together in solidarity and build collective strength, not only in their representative states but on a national and international scale. Being a part of this conference, and especially attending in its 10th year made me proud to be a union member and an activist.”
For the past 10 years, AEU branches from around Australia have joined annually to enable new educator members to connect and become more aware of national perspectives. This milestone was celebrated with federal Secretary Susan Hopgood cutting the 10-year anniversary cake alongside Kelly Creedon (Queensland) from the first national conference and Caitlin Buralli (Northern Territory) from the latest conference.