Participants: pre-service, graduate, early-career and retired teachers
Duration: 3.5 hours
Standards: 1.1 and 1.5; 6.2 and 7.2
Accreditation: teacher identified PD; however ClassCover does offer BOSTES accredited courses
ClassCover’s professional learning programs are designed to support relief teachers in their career journeys. Casual teachers are those who work to fill either day-to-day vacancies, or short contacts with a maximum duration of one week. I began my career relief teaching, and learnt a variety of skills and cross-curriculum knowledges, however found specific training for casual educators difficult to find in my jurisdiction. As a teacher educator I found that many recent graduates in the ACT still begin their teaching careers as relief educators, and my sister was a relief teacher in NSW for almost five years after completing her degree!
I completed the three hour online course titled Introduction to Relief Teaching for Graduates to provide an honest review of a free training package for pre-service and graduate teachers, and early-career educators who are in the casual cycle of employment. The training is facilitated by Open Learning for Class Cover who also offer membership to the Relief Teaching Association ($89 for 1 year membership). Besides the introductory training session, ClassCover also offer another free professional development course titled Effective Use of Interactive Whiteboards and a plethora of free association member courses (or $20 for non-members).
How is the course structured?
The course consists of ten modules that teachers can work through at their own pace. I found this particularly useful as it fit in around family commitments and work requirements. The modules contain a range of learning activities, some which are required for course completion and additional optional activities for further development. The main content is covered by direct instruction through one or two videos that go for about five to nine minutes. Teachers must completed tasks throughout including forum posts, quizzes and reflective submissions.
What was the highlight of the training?
I appreciated the opening module of the course which covered the theoretical basis for the content and the importance of the teacher in making a difference to student outcomes. The highlight of the course however was module two, a day in the life of a relief teacher, because it is situated early in the course to provide a thorough overview of what to expect and how to manage expectations. This foundation helps pre-service and graduate educators prepare for an environment and experience often not covered in their university training. Relief teaching has a unique set of expectations and module two specifically addresses the difference between relief work and contract or permanent positions.
What was my overall impression of the course?
I think that for a free training program this professional development course is worth spending the time on as it provides you with strong foundation and knowledge in relief teaching. However, if the approach for the paid courses follows a similar direct-instruction approach then I would find it difficult to continue to engage beyond the one course. I would recommend this training to pre-service, graduate and early-career educators, and even teachers who are relief teaching through retirement.
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