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Inspiring teachers

By Jenny Macklin - posted Tuesday, 14 November 2006

It’s been a few years since I was at high school but I still remember Miss Donovan, my inspiring history teacher at Wangaratta High School.

We’ve all had them - amazing teachers who’ve inspired us to achieve things we didn’t know we were capable of.

We still have them - dedicated men and women who give so much of themselves to our children, teaching them and then on top of that, running the school drama club, or staying behind to tutor a child who is falling behind: the teachers that mentor the new and inexperienced teachers, and the ones that run the professional development.


High teaching standards are the key to giving our children the education they need and deserve for their future. Of all the things a government can do to improve students’ learning, the most effective is to provide quality teachers.

The world has changed since Miss Donovan taught me Australian history. Sadly, we’re not attracting and keeping enough of these dedicated men and women in our classrooms.

Being a teacher doesn’t have the status it once did. Now, talented young people can have their pick of professions - doctors, engineers, accountants, you name it. Mid-career teachers start to fall behind the other professions in terms of money, and opportunities for advancement.

Labor wants to turn this around, to make teaching a profession of choice for our most talented high school leavers. We also want to keep the best teachers in our classrooms, not lose them to administrative jobs.

That is why Labor has proposed standards-based pay for teachers. An additional $10,000 a year for those teachers who meet rigorous standards for highly accomplished teaching.

In addition, Labor will fund the appointment of outstanding professional leaders in targeted schools: that is, schools that have concentrations of disadvantaged students and a high proportion of inexperienced teachers. These positions could attract a total salary and professional learning package of about $100,000.


Labor will establish national standards that we expect these teachers to meet. And we will do this co-operatively with the states and territories and the teaching profession.

What do we mean by standards?

A great teacher knows both the content of their subjects back to front, and how best to teach that content to their students.

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About the Author

Jenny Macklin is federal Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Employment, Education and Training. She is the federal member for Jagajaga (VIC).

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