Why further study could be the answer to teacher burnout in 2023
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Why further study could be the answer to teacher burnout in 2023

In the words of Alice Cooper, school’s out for summer. And student excitement is on par with teacher exhaustion. But before you disconnect the school Wi-Fi for the last time this year, you should take a moment to get ready for the growing challenges – and opportunities – coming in the new school year says Dr Natalie Robertson, Acting Associate Head of School Teaching and Learning at Deakin University.

Feeling burnt out? You’re not alone. 2022 was the year that was supposed to mark a return to normal. But in reality, it was more chaotic than ever as COVID continued to unsettle Australian classrooms.

The fallout is something that Dr Robertson understands all too well. “A lot of teachers are leaving the profession. They feel burnt out, stressed, demoralised – and undervalued.”

Dr Robertson’s thoughts echo research by AITSL, which found that 25% of teachers plan to leave before retirement.

How you can regain control

In the absence of meaningful solutions at the government policy level, how can teachers find ways to build better support for each other – and for students?

According to Dr Robertson, part of the answer can be found in postgraduate study. “Further study can help teachers feel more invigorated.

“But it can also arm them with expertise to take advantage of new opportunities that address critical issues like burnout,” says Dr Robertson.

Meeting the needs of educators head on

Deakin’s postgraduate courses help educators across settings – early learning, primary, secondary and vocational – meet contemporary needs head on.

”Educators can challenge their teaching practices and pursue opportunities to support new issues within the teaching world,” explains Dr Robertson.

For example, the Graduate Certificate of Education (Trauma-Responsive Education) addresses the growing mental health crisis in children – a leading cause of teacher stress and burnout.

“Ensuring our teachers are armed with the tools, knowledge and skills to support these children is vital for our next generation of families,” explains Dr Robertson.

But for those looking for a more generalised pathway – while still focusing on relevant, local issues – Deakin also offers the Master of Education (Leadership and Learning).

Through subjects like Leading for Staff Development and Wellbeing, teachers examine the issues impacting workforce supply, wellbeing and staff development. And look at frameworks that support strategic improvement to address those needs.

Backed by industry practice

Deakin’s six new Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) postgraduate courses are strengthened by industry links. These connections provide opportunities for placement and powerful feedback – improving your learning outcomes.

“Our strong partnerships with education settings across the state help us ensure our courses are relevant and realistic.

“For example, in our early childhood courses, we work very closely with Early Childhood Management Services (ECMS) to deliver exceptional student placements.

“They give us feedback about our programs and placements. And in return, we give feedback to ECMS about our students’ experiences.”

A flexible and supportive study experience

Deakin has been ranked number one in Victoria for student satisfaction for 13 years in a row –and Dr Robertson knows why.

“Relationships are important when teaching children. But they’re just as important when teaching adult learners. And our graduates provide lots of positive feedback about their relationships with our teaching staff.”

And because Deakin knows that balancing study with an already-intensive career can be daunting, they offer support services to help teachers up-skill in ways that work for them.

“Many of our students have young families and might be putting children to sleep during class time. So all the learning is either recorded or made available online.

“Challenges happen. They’re a part of life. So we have a lot of support available to help our students.”

Learn more or apply for a postgraduate education and teaching course at Deakin University.

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