Take the next step in your primary teaching career - Education Matters Magazine

Take the next step in your primary teaching career

Primary school teachers play a pivotal role in helping to shape the future of our young people, and there is an ongoing demand across the country for qualified teachers to hone their leadership qualities and step into higher-level roles.

With job and career growth opportunities for primary school teachers currently booming, now is a great time to be considering the next step in your pathway towards a more senior position.

While upskilling via a postgraduate qualification is now considered an essential for those wanting to work their way up within education, the challenge faced by many is how to find the time.

As demand for highly skilled primary school teachers continues to soar, leaders in online higher education, Open Universities Australia (OUA), now offer more than 25 online postgraduate education degrees from leading Australian universities, enabling students to drive their careers forward without having to sacrifice their income, family and other life commitments.

Skills to set you apart
While the hierarchical approach to school leadership may have been acceptable many years ago, this is certainly no longer the case. Emotional intelligence, a growth mindset and the ability to work collaboratively with other members of staff are the sorts of qualities that make for a far more successful educational leader, according to Petrah Harslett, director of Australia’s leading education job site, Teachers on Net.

“Being able to apply leadership skills to different areas comes down to emotional intelligence and the ability to get along with others and build a team around you. Empathy, collaboration and communication are key skills; and this is the case for both primary and secondary schools. Understanding mental health has also become very important – it’s about understanding your own mental health and understanding the mental health issues that can happen in a school, both with staff and students,” says Ms Harslett.

Through speaking with various principal associations and other experts on educational leadership, Ms Harslett says that interpersonal skills are also crucial in setting someone apart when it comes to selecting candidates for higher level positions.
“If you’re a maths teacher for example, it’s less about how brilliant you are at maths; and more about how well you get along with other staff members and how well you are able to work with them to achieve the desired outcomes.”

Ms Harslett strongly encourages aspiring school leaders to embark on a Master of Education to hone in on the skills required to achieve their goals, and to gain a better understanding of themselves and what they wish to achieve.

“For those wanting to get into a school leadership role, my advice is to work on yourself and consider something like a Master of Education for the self-development and vast growth opportunities that comes out of it.”

Making a real difference requires leadership
To be considered for roles such as head of faculty, curriculum coordinator or principal, a postgraduate degree such as a Master of Education will enrich your critical thinking, inform new perspectives on professional practice and also show employers that you’ve developed the in-depth knowledge and skills needed to investigate and solve complex educational issues.

“A Master of Education provides educators with the opportunity to get involved in lots of projects at their school, forces them into opportunities where they have to work on their leadership skills, and offers them visibility, where they get to showcase their leadership skills,” says Ms Harslett.

Choosing to study a Master of Education with leading Australian universities online through OUA allows busy students to upskill at their own pace and on their own schedule. The large breadth of choice means that you can choose the right degree for you, or even mix and match subjects from multiple universities to align with your own personal goals.

At the end of the degree, students will graduate with exactly the same qualification as if they had studied on campus.

At the end of completing Curtin University’s Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) through OUA, aspiring school principal, Ally Kettle (pictured), moved onto Curtin’s Master of Education, also through OUA.

Balancing her study with a graduate teacher position, it’s been a busy, yet fulfilling, few years for Ms Kettle who has always dreamed of becoming a teacher and says that she owes her success to the flexible nature of online study.

“I teach science to primary school children and so for me, being a STEM teacher and being able to study master’s level units specifically in the area that I’m teaching is extremely helpful and has really enhanced the way in which I approach my work in the classroom,” says Ms Kettle.

“I’m able to study at any time, anywhere and when it suits me which is amazing when you’re working as a teacher and have a busy lifestyle.”

New knowledge delivers new energy
Gain the expertise you need to become a school leader. There’s no need to give up your day job to take on further study – through OUA there are more than 25 Master of Education degrees from leading Australian universities to choose from. Graduates receive exactly the same qualification as on-campus students, but can obtain their master’s from the comfort of their own homes.

Explore your options online or call a friendly student advisor on the phone number below.

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Open Universities Australia
Ph: 13 OPEN