Teaching in NZ looking more attractive for locals and internationals alike

Chances are you will hear some odd accents around your colleges this year. Don’t worry – it’s likely one of the new teachers recruited from around the world to help relieve the shortage of teachers many schools are experiencing.

The government have funded a global recruitment drive to boost teacher numbers, and in the last year has helped relocate over 200 foreign teachers and 81 returning Kiwis to fill gaps in schools here.

The arriving teachers come mainly from Britain and Ireland, South Africa, USA and Canada and Australia, while a small group are returning Kiwis. Altogether the new teachers have come from 15 countries.

International teachers quickly learning NZ ways

Almost 860 overseas-trained teachers were registered in New Zealand for the first time last year, contrasting with 3166 NZ-trained teachers starting their career.

The Ministry of Education is also helping schools to release the foreign teachers for half a day a week for three or six months so they can get to know more on the local curriculum and cultures. Many of the new teachers will do this local study online via Otago University.

As well as filling gaps, overseas trained teachers can bring different experiences, attitudes and viewpoints to their schools. They also bring energy and a willingness to adapt, as demonstrated by their major move to this part of the world.

Local training numbers starting to climb up

The shortage of teachers, combined with indications from the current government that teachers’ pay will start to increase, has seen the numbers of people heading into teacher training around New Zealand starting to climb.

This rise in teacher training numbers comes after slight increases in domestic students entering teacher training in 2017 and 2018. The numbers had seriously declined (by more than 40%) in the period 2010-2016.

Universities in NZ have seen teacher training numbers increase with a 15% rise in new teacher trainees at Massey and 10% increase at Otago, while the other 5 universities providing teacher training report stable and strong numbers. AUT saw a 15% jump in student teacher numbers last year after opening a new teacher training school at their Manukau campus.

Scholarships aplenty to get you underway with teacher training

Government scholarships have helped attract trainee teachers too, and many students in the new intakes are already graduates with science, technology, engineering and maths degrees benefitting from these scholarships

There are also longstanding scholarships for about 150 teacher trainees a year in te reo Māori and 30 for Māori and Pacific high achievers.

Primary and secondary school teachers usually earn around $48,000 in their first year, and this can climb to between $78,000-$80,000. Teachers with larger responsibilities such as principals can earn significantly more.


MORE: Find a teacher training opportunity that works for you with SchoolLeaver