Exemplary teachers in Queensland’s independent schooling sector are putting themselves forward to undergo a rigorous national certification process to confirm their impact in the classroom.
This week 37 senior teachers from 12 independent schools have taken their first steps towards national certification as either a Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher (HALT) – the highest levels of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
The teachers and their mentors came together to begin the 18-month journey with Independent Schools Queensland’s (ISQ) certifying team at an event in Brisbane this week.
Last year, ISQ was approved to become a certifying authority by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) which oversees the national program.
ISQ executive director, David Robertson, said this first intake of teachers represented “the tip of the iceberg of teaching talent and expertise in Queensland independent schools”.
“As a state and as a nation we need to recognise outstanding teaching practitioners and work to retain these masters of their craft in the classroom where they can make the greatest difference to student learning and progress,” Robertson told The Educator.
“Teachers undertaking national certification will be challenged to unpack their teaching methods and approaches and to evidence the impact they’re having on their students and colleagues.”
Celebrating the profession
Five teachers from Mueller College, on Brisbane’s northside, and their mentor deputy principal, Todd Langford, are taking part in ISQ’s 2018 HALT program.
Langford described the college’s 123-strong teaching workforce as “the engine of the school”.
“I think the job of the classroom teacher is the most important job in a school,” he said.
“Our teachers are really committed, caring and professional people. It’s important that teachers who want to remain in the classroom can see a clear pathway and are recognised and valued for their work.”
Mueller College Year 1 Year level coordinator, Sandy McCleary, said she was excited by the opportunity to reflect in an “in-depth way” on her teaching and be more analytical about “why we do what we do”.
Year 6 Year level coordinator, Glen Weir, said he was looking forward to sharing what he learns with his colleagues.
“In that first 10 years of teaching you focus on your own practice, but it’s made me start to think of my colleagues around me and what I can do to help them,” he said.
AITSL CEO, Lisa Rodgers, said the number of nationally certified teachers continued to grow with more than 450 now formally recognised for their leadership and expertise.
“The impact these teachers are having on the lives of students, and their leadership in terms of the teaching profession, is tremendous,” Rodgers said.
“We are delighted that 37 Queensland independent school teachers have this year embarked on the certification process, and look forward to welcoming them into the HALT Network.”
Rodgers said Queensland has been “a strong supporter” of HALT certification.
“We applaud ISQ’s endeavours to support quality teaching in Australian schools,” she said.
A further 36 Queensland independent school teachers who have already completed key elements of national certification through a previous ISQ professional learning program are expected to finish the final components this semester.Robertson said ISQ expects to certify the sector’s first Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers from this group in the first half of 2018.