Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project asserts, “people who love their work bring an intensity and enthusiasm that’s impossible to match through sheer diligence”.

The Graduate Destination Survey 2013 – 2015 revealed that 41 per cent of University of Adelaide graduates proceeded to full time work in schools.

Through providing appropriate mentorship for beginning teachers, the industry can reduce the attrition of valuable graduates who are entering the industry at a steady rate.
 
Experienced teachers appreciate the demands of the profession and have the foresight to balance Professional Development within their role. Many teacher training courses focus on pedagogy and curriculum planning but may not clarify accreditation requirements.

Ironically, before a graduate teacher can begin their practice, they must meet all the requirements of accreditation or, in some cases, registration.

These requirements differ between Australian states and territories, and some are not mutually recognised. Once accreditation is attained, there exist retention processes.

The maintenance cycle also varies between Australian states and territories. For example, the cycle spans three years in South Australia and five years in New South Wales.

In SA, 60 hours of PD must be logged against the teaching standards within each maintenance cycle, whereas 100 hours must be logged in NSW.

It is necessary to understand the Australian Professional Standards For Teachers.

The key to accruing PD hours is to familiarise yourself with what courses and activities your state classifies as PD, and consider what you are already doing.

Focus on one or two standards throughout the year; work smarter, not harder.

Many graduates require support from experienced teachers, particularly those who work in remote areas.

Some states mandate an appointed mentor and reduced contact time for early career teachers. The Queensland Department of Education’s program Mentoring Beginning Teachers (MBT) provides just that. However, such policies are inconsistent across the country.

If collegial support in your school is limited, collaborating with teachers online may be a solution.

The Facebook group, Australian Beginning Teachers Lounge, founded by Rachel Wills, is a supportive group for Australian teachers. Participating in this group can lead to a certificate for accreditation.

When considering PD, think of your reasons for becoming an educator and focus on your personal goals. The Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders, August 2012 encourages teachers to identify a goal and consider the actions necessary to achieve it.

When you are enthusiastic about your goal, your choice of PD courses becomes clear, and logging hours should likewise be easier.

Adopt the attitude of a lifelong learner. You may even want to consider online learning. Apps such as Curious can help you to set goals and discover new interests.

Furthermore, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) also contains excellent resources related to professional learning.

It is advisable to gradually accrue PD hours and not to wait until your registration is due for renewal. Use the teaching standards as a guide, pursue your personal interests within the profession, and maintain your enthusiasm.

The first few years may be challenging and overwhelming, but they are the gateway to a fruitful career.