AITSL The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership

“That’s a very good question.”

Margery Evans, AITSL Chief Executive Officer. 17 March 2016.

We’ve all heard that said before, often when a person of media interest is caught in the unforgiving gaze of a TV camera. The implied addendum is “…and I wish you hadn’t asked it.” But here at AITSL, we want your questions. In fact, we can’t get enough of them. And that’s where you come in. Starting your professional life as a teacher can be stimulating but also challenging. So ask yourself: “What do I wish that I had known (or known more about) when I first stepped into the classroom?” Here’s your opportunity to pose that “very good question” or vote for questions posed by others that resonate with you. By doing that, you’ll be contributing to the skills and wellbeing of your profession and your newer colleagues, because AITSL will get expert educators to publicly respond to the most compelling questions over the coming months. So please take a moment to visit the question bank and you just might receive “a very good answer.” 


Submitted by Sharon Law-Davis (not verified) on

I wish I had known to make a booklet for parents with all the things they would want to know so they didn't always line up to ask me questions. I could have just directed them to my handbook.

Submitted by Phil Wilson (not verified) on

How does the mass industrial architecture of schooling and the hierarchical nature of education systems impact on the teacher practice and professional identity? Are the standards top-down or bottom up?
Can the standards help to mediate the tension between progressivist, child-centred models of education and human capitalist models of investment in outcomes for economic development?

Submitted by Ian Fairhurst (not verified) on

I wish I had known about the value of student feedback and peer mentoring/assessing. As a teacher you have a rich resource at your disposal and research now shows that often the feedback from peers can have a much deeper impact.

Submitted by Jacqui (not verified) on

I my first few weeks as a permanent teacher, I wish I had known how children learn to read. I didn't truly understand this until I trained as a reading recovery teacher. I also wish I had known how to write school reports. I had to complete reports by then end of my fourth week of teaching and had to redo every single one after the supervisor read them. Lastly, I wish I had support networks to guide and mentor. Eventually, an experienced teacher and a supervisor took me under their wing and gave me support and guidance. Without it, I probably would have needed stresss leave.

Submitted by Julia P (not verified) on

I wish I'd known that
What I'd planned was somewhat ambitious and I could not totally fulfil.
If I did not plan I did not have enough experience to 'wing it'.
I had the inexperience to be allowed to make mistakes and that parents were very forgiving at the time.
I had the energy and optimism to bounce back and try again.
I needed to take care of my health because every cold, gastro, virus the kids caught, I also caught. and I needed to get plenty of rest.
My classroom environment needed to be welcoming and vibrant .. and that took many hours to achieve.
I didn't have the answer for everything and had to reach out to my colleagues for advice.
Networking is essential.

Submitted by Belinda Miller (not verified) on

Breaking down early mathematical concepts. As a secondary maths teacher I wish I realised that I would have students in my classes that were working at year two to three level and understand just how far I would need to break the concepts down. I wish I knew how to teach multiple strategies for adding, subtracting and and place value.

Submitted by marianne (not verified) on

Thank God I am too old for accreditation so far. here is the current view out there;"The whole accreditation nightmare is a ploy to force as many teachers as possible to resign - not only the person trying to get accredited, but the overworked supervisor who has to put in effort as well. There'd be no accreditation on the scale that it is, if there were a teacher shortage." What can be done?

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