As we approach the end of another busy year, it feels like a good moment to pause and take stock of the journey the profession has been on in 2023. 

Once again, teachers have demonstrated their resilience and ability to adapt. The profession has navigated its way through workforce pressures and a difficult industrial context, continuing to prove their fortitude. It won’t be news to anyone that Australia is facing a severe shortage of teachers, with reforms underway across many states and territories in an effort to retain and attract the highly qualified workforce that we want in our almost 10,000 schools.

Australian education still has an enormous standing on the international scene, and a testament to Australia’s 515,000 registered teachers, and the expertise residing within them, all in the face of substantial challenges.  In fact, many countries have contacted us in the last year to learn about the work we do with the profession, how we went about that work and what’s on the national agenda to assist the education workforce. 

Having worked as a teacher and a principal, I’m really passionate about the difference we can make to each student, each day. There are the simple joys in life, and I hope that the profession can hold on to the joy of teaching amidst the turbulent wider context. 

This year we heard a lot about Chat GPT and other artificial intelligence tools, and what impact AI may have – or is already having – on the profession. Our last Spotlight report for 2023 dives into the subject in more detail, and I was glad to be able to speak to The Educator and at various conferences this year. It will be interesting to continue to follow these emerging technologies to see how they evolve, keeping in mind that the evidence shows that quality of pedagogy has a more significant impact on student outcomes than edtech usage.

It was wonderful getting to talk to educators from across the country at the HALT Summit this year too. Certification as a Highly Accomplished or Lead teacher is a significant achievement for teachers and can lead to opportunities for career advancement, professional growth, and most importantly - recognition of their high-quality teaching practices. With 96% satisfied or very satisfied with the collaboration sessions, it’s fair to say that the 400+ expert teachers – as well as senior representatives from systems, sectors, regulatory authorities, and principal associations – benefited from the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise. 

World Teachers’ Day saw the public demonstrating what the research shows – that teachers are valued by the community; serving a vital role in society. We were overwhelmed by the 5 million+ people across Australia sharing special messages, personal anecdotes, dance routines and even love stories. World Teachers’ Day continues to be a highlight of the year for everyone here at AITSL, as we see students and the public all sharing our appreciation for the expertise of teachers.

We know that teachers and leaders will be already deep in planning for 2024, in preparing for new classes or giving some of our students a taste of next year’s curriculum. AITSL is busy planning our year ahead too, with actions from the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan keeping us focused on the future, with some targeted evidence-informed resources on the way.

We hope that you will have a well-deserved break and enjoy time with your loved ones (or perhaps some solitude away from them!). If you’re on the lookout for a good book or podcast recommendation, have a look at AITSL’s summer “chill list”. My top read this year was My Dream Time by Ash Barty; a wonderful insight into purpose and perspective.

I want to express my deepest appreciation to the entire AITSL community – our dedicated staff, our valued stakeholders and key partners, and, most importantly, the educators and leaders who work tirelessly to shape the future of our nation through education. Together, we are making a difference, and I am excited about the journey ahead.