A Wave of Teachers is Waving ‘Goodbye, I Quit’ to the Profession

13 May 2024

2.4 MINS

by Clare O’Callaghan

As an answer to the desperate call for teachers, West Australian universities brought back the Graduate Diploma of Education, (formerly the Diploma of Education) in 2024. The Graduate Diploma is a one-year course that qualifies graduates to become teachers in their specific field.

After it was changed to a two-year Master of Teaching course a few years back, many graduates were put off by the extra year and the fees and debts associated with that. However, after the drastic drop in teachers since 2020, West Australian universities and the Department of Education realised that a way to bump up the numbers was to bring back the one-year program.

Yet, although, the number of student teachers has definitely risen since the start of the year, this will not make a dent in the teacher shortage for some time, so the shortage continues.

According to the Australian Education Union, it is estimated that about 30 to 50 per cent of teachers quit or change careers within five years of teaching. This is due to factors including unsatisfactory pay, poor work environment, unsupportive work staff and lack of respect from schools, staff, and students.

Toxic Environment

One West Australian languages teacher says that coming to work is “demoralising” as no one – neither students, parents nor other staff – sees the value of his subject. This teacher states that it feels like being on a “hamster wheel”, because inattentive and disrespectful students are not putting in any effort and the low support from the school and staff makes this worse. He says that the 12-week holidays each year are the only professional bonus.

This touches on another major problem for teachers: while the work is emotionally, physically, and mentally draining, it does not come with many benefits, good pay or enough support from the government, schools or staff.

In Queensland, more than 12,000 teachers had quit from their positions since 2020. Queensland’s Department of Education established a goal to hire 6,100 teachers and 1,100 teacher’s aids by this year, which they are doing by investing in recruitment drives.

In Western Australia, regional and remote schools are suffering from more acute teacher shortages than are those in metropolitan areas. In 2023-24, the WA Government allocated $12.4 million towards allocating teachers to these remote regions, including the Pilbara and the Goldfields regions. The package offered up to $17,000 in one-off payments to teachers willing to work in the schools most desperate for staff.

Some subject areas are lacking teachers more than others. While there is a healthy supply of Drama and Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) teachers, the number of teachers in Maths, English and Music is critically low.


Clare O’Callaghan is a Perth-based freelance writer with a BA in French and English Literature.

Republished with thanks to News Weekly. Image courtesy of Polina Tankilevitch.

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One Comment

  1. Claire Kaltenrieder 14 May 2024 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    It would be interesting to know how many teachers resign in the face of WOKE agendas forcing them to teach such things as gender fluidity, and to lie to parents about their child’s chosen identity….. that is what drove Moira Deeming from a profession she loved and was good at!

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