Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Making the transition into the first year of teaching: lessons from the Classmates initiative


Based on research into the University of Western Sydney's new secondary teacher education initiative, Classmates, this paper argues that first-year-out teachers placed in disadvantaged schools may be better prepared to deal with the needs of their students if three conditions are met: firstly, their practicum experience is focused on mainly one site, and this experience is continuous and well-supported; that their initial employment as a teacher is undertaken in their practicum school, possibly in a casual capacity; finally, that their inception year of full-time, permanent teaching occurs in a school in which they have undertaken their practicum. This paper purports that these approaches could grow a strong cohort of relatively confident new teachers and potentially reduce their individual stress while providing them the time and space to develop their pedagogical skills and institutional understandings within an economical framework. Additionally, such an approach could provide greater support for school faculties and school communities.