Where to teach and reclaiming costs


The challenge for the Department of Education in our Northern Territory is readying teachers after training to undertake remote area teaching service. Very few teacher education graduates in the NT go to remote or very remote communities on appointment.

This is due in part to many pre-service teachers from interstate training by external mode. They intend to seek appointment in their home states. The other issue is that many of our local graduate teachers are mature age, with family or personal commitments that will keep them in Darwin, Palmerston and other major centres.

If interested about teaching in a remote community, it is advisable to try and organise a practice teaching round or two in a remote locality. Charles Darwin University has a policy of sending at least two people to aa community so they have the opportunity to talk, provide feedback to each other and generally share the experience.

It would be altogether wrong to go into a practice teaching round with romantic or “missionary” expectations or ambitions in mind. Undertaking a practice should be based on rational and logical pre-considerations. To consider indigenous students as a “special” group is often to under estimate them, their capacities for learning and their ability to make progress. Neither should they be regarded as unique in the context of being almost treated like special toys. They are people and need to be regarded as having the same expectations and abilities as anybody else.

If going into a community on practice teaching, it is a good idea to gain an understanding of the place by googling, reading, talking with people who may have been in that or similar communities in the past. Going in cold can be very unhelpful. Be aware of the facilities available within the community including accommodation, food, shopping, communications, and so on.

I believe it’s important if going into a community to maintain our cultural standards. In the past some teachers have let their standard slip in order to try and be like locals. They gain no respect but earn contempt if that happens.

Respect is a two way street. While it’s important to gain the respect of community members, it is also important to respect that community and not to belittle the people or place in your thinking or actions. In the same way as we talk with each other, including aboriginal people in conversation if working at their place is important. A lot is learned through conversation.

There is a place for our local graduates in remote area education in the Northern Territory. At the moment significant number of teachers who do bush service are recruited from interstate. That is because locals are not available to take up appointments. Our aboriginal population is very much a part and parcel of our Northern Territory. An ambition of our University and Education Department should be to train teachers for remote community. Lots of positives can be gained in life’s world from undertaking teaching service in these places.

If interested in training or on graduation in teaching in our remote communities, don’t let that ambition lapse. Follow it up. It could well be an appointment bringing you rich experience and personal satisfaction.



Teaching can be a cost heavy profession. Keeping receipts of expenditure related to costs can help when it comes to taxation time. I am not a tax professional. Googling or putting into your search engine ‘taxation deductions for teachers’ brings up the entry appearing below. It is good to be aware of what can be claimed because every bit helps when it comes to legitimate claims for taxation purposes.

Keeping documentation takes a little organisation. I keep an indexed notebook and glue receipts in against particular categories. Come taxation time, it is then a case of going through documentation and tallying expenditure against each deduction category.

I would never advocate dishonesty when claiming deductions. However, claiming legitimate work related expenditure can help with cost recovery.

What comes up when ‘taxation deductions for teachers’ is googled. (Australia)

“Teachers – claiming work-related expenses
About this guide
If you are an employee teacher, this information outlines some of the deductions you may be able to claim.
The work-related expenses include:
motor vehicle
clothing, including compulsory uniforms, protective clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning
other – such as phones, calculators, electronic organisers, computers and software, meals, and teaching aids
There may be other deductions you can claim that are not included in this publication. Refer to More information at the end of this guide for a list of resources.

When you sign your tax return, you are declaring that everything you have told us is true and you can support your claims with written evidence.
You are responsible for providing proof of your expenses, even if you use a registered tax agent.”

End of attention