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Relief Teacher Professional Development Courses: A Guide for Australian Teachers

For teachers across Australia, professional development courses provide an opportunity to step out of the classroom and expand the mind with courses, conferences and development beyond what they would get in the day-to-day. While professional development for full-time teachers is often organised and paid for by the school, relief teachers typically have to foot the bill themselves, and take time out of their schedule to do it. To help alleviate this pressure, organisations like the Relief Teacher Association (RTA) have been launched to provide a better option for relief teachers. Read on to see the PD requirements in your state and learn more about the courses available on the RTA learning platform.  

How much professional development do relief teachers need? 

Like full-time teachers, all relief teachers are required to complete a certain number of hours of professional development training each year or registration period. The amount that you need to do varies depending on which state or territory you live in. While there are some similarities, it’s a good idea to check the requirements in your area to ensure you stay up to date with your training. Here’s a full list of PD requirements by state or territory. 

Relief teacher professional development in New South Wales 

In order to maintain your accreditation, New South Wales requires relief teachers to complete 100 hours of training every 7-year maintenance period. NESA recently changed the rules outlining which courses and providers are accredited for teachers in NSW. You can learn more about that here 

The good news is, 32.5 hours of training from the Relief Teacher Association’s extensive course library is interim accredited under NESA, meaning it counts towards your hours.  

Explore NESA accredited training from the Relief Teacher Association 

Relief teacher professional development in Victoria 

Relief teachers in Victoria need to complete 20 hours of professional development each year to maintain their qualifications. Victoria classifies PD for relief teachers as “anything that develops a teachers’ professional knowledge and practice to support student learning”. This can include: 

  • Participation in education boards or panels 
  • Online or in-person courses 
  • Meetings and professional conversations with colleagues 
  • Research participation  

Here are more details from the Victorian Institute of Teaching.

Relief teacher professional development in Queensland  

Queensland requires all teachers working 20-days per year or more, whether they are full-time, contract or relief teachers to complete 20 hours of CPP (continuing professional development). The state asks teachers to demonstrate a balance between different areas in their PD, and can include: 

  • Online or in-person courses 
  • Workshops 
  • Forums 
  • Training for NAPLAN and QCAA 

Full details available here 

Relief teacher professional development in South Australia 

Teachers in South Australia are required to undertake 100 hours of professional development every five-year registration period. According to the Teacher’s Registration Board of South Australia, this is in addition to the ordinary responsibilities of a teacher. This quota applied to all teachers, regardless of whether you are full-time, part-time or working as a relief teacher. Here’s more information from the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia 

Relief teacher professional development in Tasmania 

The rules surrounding minimum professional development hours are more relaxed in Tasmania than some other states and territories. The Tasmanian government has not set out a certain number of hours to complete, instead requiring all relief teachers to be able to demonstrate that they have completed some professional learning in each registration period. According to the Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania, this can be anything that contributes to a teacher’s professional competence.  

Relief teacher professional development in Western Australia 

In Western Australia, the number of professional development hours a relief teacher is required to complete is dependent on how long they want to renew their registration. In order to get a full renewal, lasting 5 years, teachers must complete 100 hours of PD training. For a provisional registration lasting 3 years, teachers must complete 60 hours of training. For anything less than this, teachers must complete 20 hours of training for each year of registration. According to the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia, professional development can include: 

  • Online learning, workshops, seminars and other courses offered by PD providers 
  • Employer-provided activities like school-based PD days, research projects and mentoring 
  • Presenting at conferences or workshops 

Relief teacher professional development in the Northern Territory 

In the Northern Territory, teacher registration must be renewed every five years. In order to meet the requirements for renewal, teachers must have successfully completed 100 hours of professional development in the five years prior. This can include: 

  • Mentoring or being mentored by another educator 
  • In-person or online courses, programs and conferences 
  • Tertiary study related to a specific field within education 
  • Structured networking with teachers from other schools  

Here’s a full breakdown of PD requirements for teachers in the Northern Territory 

Relief teacher professional development in the Australia Capital Territory 

In the ACT, relief teachers must complete 20 hours of PD training each year. Per the ACT Teacher Quality Institute, teachers, like other professionals should show a commitment to lifelong learning for the benefit of their students.  

What options do relief teachers have for professional development courses? 

While full-time teachers typically receive free or subsidised professional development from their employers, relief teachers don’t get the same benefits. For too long, the only option was to attend in-person PD courses, with relief teachers forced not only to pay for training out of their own pocket, but also take unpaid time off while they undertook training. ClassCover’s Relief Teacher Association was designed to provide a better solution.  

What is the Relief Teacher Association? 

The Relief Teacher Association was launched to provide a better way for relief teachers across Australia to complete their professional development training. With PD requirements differing state-by-state, the learning platform was created to give teachers the flexibility and variety they need to reach their learning quota, while also satisfying their drive for continued learning. We are talking about teachers, after all.  

What professional development courses can I do? 

The Relief Teacher Association library contains over 85 hours of PD courses for you to do at your own pace. Topics range from introductory courses for new relief teaching graduates, to ways to integrate indigenous perspectives into your curriculum through to strategies to manage your own wellbeing in and out of the classroom. Here are some of our most popular new courses. 

Have you ever struggled to get students on side when entering a new classroom? You’re not alone. According to presenter Vicki Grant, by the time a group of students has entered the classroom, they have already made a judgement about you based on things like the way you dress, your posture, body language, your choice of words and the tone of your voice.  

With a number of years’ experience on the road speaking at conferences and creating teaching materials for Education Queensland, Vicki will guide you through her 12 strategies guaranteed to help you build rapport with students. Over 2 hours, this course addresses AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: 3.5 and 4.1.  

As a parent to five children and founder of Eyes Open Social Media, course presenter Tricia Munn is something of an expert in the field of social media. In this course, Tricia provides insights around the dangers — and opportunities — of social media for school-age children. One of the biggest challenges for teachers today is the pace at which social media is evolving. After taking this course, you will walk away with a new understanding of the social media landscape and feel confident to support students in dealing with any issues they face. Over 2 hours, this course addresses 3.2 and 3.4 from the AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.  

Let’s face it — life as a relief teacher can be stressful. Whether the source of the stress is the lack of routine, uncertainty surrounding work or the work itself, it’s important for all relief teachers to put steps in place to deal with the rigors of the job and ensure it doesn’t spill over into other parts of their life. In this course, presenter Lain Smith explores the underlying principles of stress management, helping you uncover the source of stress, put steps in place to manage it and build resilience in the long term. Over 2 hours, this course covers Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: 6.2 and 7.2.  

Time management is something a lot of us struggle with. Join course presenter, Amy Green as she gives you actionable tools to work more efficiently and have time for what you love. After travelling the world as a teacher, Amy discovered that many teachers — whether they are in London or rural NSW — suffer from feelings of stress, overwhelm and exhaustion, and aren’t always getting the support they need from schools. After studying human behavior and success coaching, Amy launched The Teachers’ Coach to share her learnings with relief teachers right across Australia. Now, Amy is bringing her teachings directly to you via Relief Teachers Australia!  

Get access to the Relief Teacher Associations professional development library now for just $99.  

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