The Sydney Christian Schools Teaching Hub - A better way to become classroom ready

College Blog Sunday, 06 Aug 2023

A lot of teachers I have spoken to in different schools find the first few years in the classroom really tough. This seems to be a pretty common experience, even though beginning teachers have spent years studying at university. To start out, a teacher is just happy to survive. It’s disheartening to hear numerous stories of teachers left in tears at the end of each day, feeling unprepared for the reality of the classroom. Some even question if teaching is truly the right calling for them. My observations are backed up by a lot of evidence. Many beginning teachers report a large gap between theory and practice and lack confidence in the way they manage student behaviour. There must be a better way to prepare teaches to be classroom ready.

Since ancient times artisans have been required to teach their craft to the next generation. This developed into more formalised apprenticeships during the middle-ages. Guilds were established to protect, maintain, and grow the quality of each specific craft or industry. Recruits were required to complete an apprenticeship lasting between 2 and 7 years. While some things have changed, (like no more child-labour!), this model continues to flourish in many technical trades, and for good reason. A novice can stand to learn much more than just a trade from a skilled journeyman. They can also get the support needed to manage themselves, get along with others and learn how to face the inevitable challenges we all face at work. 

For this reason, Norwest Christian College has partnered with Alphacrucis University College and 6 other Christian Schools to establish the Sydney Christian Schools Teaching Hub (SCSTH) to provide a Christ-Centred Apprenticeship model to Initial Teacher Training. Member schools of the SCSTH cover a large part of Greater Sydney metropolitan area and have a combined enrolment of around 1 in 5 of all students enrolled in Christian Schools in NSW. While each Christian School has a slightly different focus and operates in a different part of Sydney, all share a common conviction and vision: to partner together to support the formation of the next generation of classroom ready Christian Teachers.

Trainees in the SCSTH complete a NESA accredited Initial Teacher Preparation Program as they complete either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with Alphacrucis University College. At the same time, they are paid to be placed in a classroom one day a week from the start of their studies to learn from a Mentor Teacher and progressively do more of the things teachers do. Trainees also meet each week to bridge the gap between theory and practice and to encourage and support each other. At the completion of the program, Trainees employed by SCSTH member schools are also able to have 50% of their fees reimbursed.

As the Director of the SCSTH I am writing to you invite to support this initiative in three ways. Firstly, could you please pray for the Trainees and Mentors involved in the SCSTH. We have much to give thanks for, including the current cohort of Trainees who are currently making great progress and learning a lot. Please join me in thanking God for the generosity of each Mentor Teacher and the way that each of the Trainees has been called to the vocation of Christian Teaching and are already growing so much in their knowledge and understanding of the craft of teaching. Would you also join me in praying for God to draw together our next group of Trainees to start in the SCSTH in 2024, with applications now open.

Secondly, would you please consider letting other people know about the SCSTH. As much as I would love to be able to employ a skywriter or billboard campaign to get the word out, the best way to share this great opportunity is through word of mouth and through the relationships and connections of the Norwest community. Please consider following the SCSTH on Facebook and Instagram and also talk to family and friends considering teaching about this opportunity.

Finally, I would anticipate that among the Norwest community there will be currently some considering the vocation of Christian Education. Christian Education provided through schools such as Norwest is uniquely placed to honour and value each student at the College and invite them to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 32) as they become inspired and equipped to grow into their God-given purpose. 

If you share this conviction and are considering teaching, please visit the SCSTH website to learn more. 

Andrew Beitsch
Director of Sydney Christian Schools Teaching Hub