55% of Australian teachers have considered volunteering abroad

55% of Australian teachers have considered volunteering abroad

In May, Palms asked teachers at Australian Catholic schools for their thoughts on teaching in communities in Asia and the Pacific. Over half told us that this is something they have considered.

When asked if they had ever considered teaching in low-income country, 55% of teachers in Australian Catholic schools said yes. 50.3% said that if they did teach in a low-income country their time abroad would be over 6 months. 24.5% would teach abroad for over 12 months.

The primary motivation for teaching abroad was to ‘put faith into action’ (30.23%), followed by ‘contributing to global international development’ (23%). Offering professional assistance in support of equitable education opportunities was a common theme in responses with one respondent from Newcastle stating they want to ‘give all children access to education and equality, and an understanding that they are important’. A teacher from Toowoomba stated they would teach in a low-income country because ‘education is the key to overcoming poverty.

Just 2.48% of respondents indicated they would be motivated by ‘career opportunities’. This suggests that when thinking about opportunities to teach in low-income countries, teachers in Australian Catholic schools are placing the needs of students in communities abroad above their own.

The most significant consideration for teachers when thinking about working abroad is their family and personal situation. 76.8% indicated this is highly likely to affect their decision to work abroad. One respondent wrote ‘I would have considered it before children. I would no longer consider it as I would not pull them out of school in Australia to travel overseas.’ Another suggested they would revisit the idea of teaching abroad after their youngest child finishes year 12. Financial considerations were also highly likely to influence the decision to work abroad (58.35%) followed by security and safety concerns (47.9%).

483 teachers from 17 Diocese across the country participated in the survey, with most respondents currently employed in Perth (27.7%) and Parramatta (27.5%), followed by Adelaide (9.6), Maitland-Newcastle (6.26), Bunbury (6.05) and Toowoomba (5.64). Palms Australia is proud to have signed agreements with several Catholic Education Offices across Australia supporting teachers who volunteer their expertise overseas with leave, continued superannuation payments, and a guaranteed position with a school in the Diocese upon their return.

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