From the Principal

Teacher Shortages and Rockstar Teachers

Who would have thought that Mathematics teachers could be the new “rockstars” of education? Eddie Woo and other inspiring teachers have certainly changed the perception of Mathematics teachers.

That is good news for mathematics teaching.

The bad news is that many students in NSW are being taught mathematics by teachers who are not qualified to do so.

“One in five maths (sic) classes are now taught by out-of-area teachers.”  
Daily Telegraph 02.11.21

St Columba has been fortunate in that we have been able to not only attract qualified and experienced mathematics teachers, but we have also attracted teachers who qualify as “rockstar” teachers!

Dr Janine Stewart is an ambassador for the national Maths campaign. In 2016, she received a CHOOSEMATHS Teaching Award for Excellence. Janine has a PhD in the area of nonlinear partial differential equations.

This makes an incredible difference to our students.

In the face of Australia’s declining mathematics performance in international benchmark tests, such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), we know the difference that having passionate, engaging and well-qualified teachers can make.

This is the same in the other key areas of the current teacher shortage — Science and Technology.

Our outstanding results in these areas show the quality of our teaching staff.

Nationally, 38 per cent of secondary teachers reported that they had taught subjects outside their field of expertise, mostly in maths, science and technology.


The idea that ‘any good teacher can teach anything’ is harmful for the profession. I believe out-of-field teaching can affect the quality of teaching we provide in our schools and the wellbeing of the students, teachers, parents and school leaders involved.

St Columba firmly believes that the quality of the person in front of the class plays a significant role in student achievement. Therefore, we will always endeavour to offer our students the services of qualified teachers.

NSW is facing a large and growing shortage of teachers. The shortages would be felt most acutely in areas already facing recruitment issues, such as regional schools, and subjects such as maths and special education.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell

If the predicted shortage of teachers ever causes us to not be able to staff a subject with an appropriately qualified teacher, then we will not run that subject.

To do otherwise would seem a betrayal of the trust our families and our students place in us.

Terry Muldoon

Want to share your thoughts on this story, or do you have something you’d like to add? Email me at

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