What your first year as a teacher is really like

So you want to become a teacher but find the thought of standing at the front of a classroom — shaping the minds of the next generation — a little bit daunting?


Becoming a teacher is a great way to take your current skills and expertise to new places. 

With Seek data projecting 10% job growth over the next 5 years in primary and secondary school teaching, it’s a great time to consider how a Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Health, Physical Education and Sport (Secondary)Master of Teaching Practice (Primary Education) or Master of Teaching Practice (Secondary Education) at RMIT could set you on the path to a fulfilling career.

The idea of a teacher as a lone wolf is one of the enduring myths of teaching, and you might worry that teaching is a lonely profession where you’ll be expected to know everything about the classroom from your first day. We asked Dr Richard Johnson, Senior Lecturer in our School of Education to help us bust some of the myths about teaching, and give insights into what the first year of teaching is like.

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At RMIT, you’ll do the job before you get the job

Teaching isn’t just limited to the classroom, and at RMIT you’ll gain the ability to apply your skills in a range of settings. Through extensive placements, you’ll gain confidence and build practical classroom experience before working in the field. 

Our courses are led by academics and guest lecturers with current professional experience. In your studies you’ll learn about the theory behind education. With 80-100 days of classroom experience in schools and educational settings during the Masters, you’ll get supervised experience in the classroom to build your confidence and give you opportunity to apply what you’re learning. 

After placements, academic staff will give you feedback on your lessons and how you taught concepts to students. It’s this extensive practical experience that will prepare you for your first year as a teacher.

You’ll build a network of passionate people

One of the biggest concerns students have before graduating is that once they take up a position in a classroom, they’re in it alone. But that’s not the case. 

When you enter a school for the first time, you’ll be given a mentor to be there for you and answer your questions. When you need to make tricky decisions you’ll have reference points in team leaders, colleagues and teachers next door.

Teaching isn’t an individual pursuit, it’s teamwork. As a teacher, you’re surrounded by a network of peers and support, from the experienced teachers and mentors on hand to the new grads from your teaching degree — people like you who followed their passion for education.

Making connections and building relationships with people both professionally and personally are instrumental to your success in the profession.

You’ll gain valuable soft skills

The typical concept of a classroom where the teacher stands in front of a room full of students who listen and respond to direction is becoming a thing of the past. 

How you operate and the energy you bring to a classroom is what employers are really looking for. When you’re in the classroom, your personality and interests will help immensely as you build relationships with staff and students. 

The school community is an environment for growth, and you can be part of it by expressing yourself as a professional teacher and learner. Students and teachers can collaborate together as partners in learning, so be open to collaboration, communication and teamwork.

You’ll never stop learning

You don’t stop learning once you graduate from university, and the path of a teacher is one of continual improvement. Once you arrive in the classroom, you can start putting the professional knowledge and practice you’ve studied into practice. 

You can take your time, try new things, and reflect on what works. The work is often continuous as you learn on the job, but each day you’re inspiring and educating your students.

Enter the teaching profession with a passion for making a difference and a willingness to keep learning and you’ll find you have a healthy balance of professional and personal commitments. 

Story: Hilary Jones

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer