New teacher recruitment campaign celebrates life-changing moments that matter

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Today’s launch of a $10 million teacher recruitment campaign sees Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s federal government working with all states and territories in an effort to find a sustainable solution for the nationwide teacher shortage.

With preliminary data suggesting teaching enrolments have already begun to increase following targeted teacher recruitment campaigns in early 2023, the federal government’s new campaign showcases the positive impact teachers can have on the lives of students.

The Be That Teacher campaign features public school teachers from across Australia reflecting on how valuable and rewarding a teaching career can be, by remembering a moment or a student that changed their life.

By sharing the real stories of real teachers at real state schools on the dedicated website, the campaign aims to showcase public education and highlight the direct pathway that can be taken for anyone considering a teaching career.

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The campaign underscores the urgent need to value teachers more and turn the currently low graduate completion rates around.

Sharing powerful personal stories

New South Wales-based Kirrawee High School music teacher Kerri Lacey recalls transforming the life of a Year 7 student called Michael.

She encouraged him through a rough time in his life by telling him he was a star. When she later discovered he had marked his graduation from school by visiting Sydney Observatory and naming a star after her, she was overwhelmed.

In her video, she chokes back tears as she shares the impact his action had on her and says: “There is not another profession that touches the human soul as this does.”

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Mr Albanese – with Federal Education Minister Jason Clare and NSW Education Minister Prue Car – will officially launch the campaign with Mrs Lacey and other teachers from around the country at Kirrawee High School on 31 October.

As well as sharing video stories, the Be That Teacher website is a portal for people to submit their own stories about teachers who inspired them – and for those interested in teaching to find out more.

Recruiting for the world’s “most important job”

The initiative has been co-funded by all state and territory governments, with the commonwealth contributing $5 million.

Preliminary tertiary admission figures reveal that the number of people enrolling in Bachelor of Education Primary and Secondary degree leading in to 2024 is up by 2.5 per cent across the country, equating to around 900 more students.

But, with Minister Clare describing the need to get more teachers in Australian classrooms as his number one priority, it is clear there is still more work to do.

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“This campaign is all about changing the way we as a country think about our teachers, and the way our teachers think our country thinks of them,” Mr Clare said. “I want more young Australians to want to be a teacher. To be that teacher, who inspires and changes young lives. Teaching is the most important job in the world.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]