Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Early career teachers experience overlays of different stressors as they learn about school culture, their role and identity as a teacher and of teaching practice. Research identifies links between teacher well-being and student academic achievement as well as identifying the stressors of competing priorities such as ensuring academic excellence, preparation for external tests, sociocultural inequity and access to digital technologies as well as attending to student well-being.

The unit focuses on using evidence-based, researched-informed practice to develop an understanding and a repertoire of skills to navigate the challenges of early career teaching stresses. Students will be challenged to consider how their attitudes and beliefs about mental health are formed and how an accumulation of stressors develop burnout. Pre-service teachers are encouraged to develop strategies to work collaboratively with their colleagues, students, local communities and other professionals to build whole-of-community networking to reduce and decrease potential stresses as well as improving teachers’ lifelong learning, outcomes and wellbeing. Through examining factors leading to burnout, students develop workload and time management strategies to decrease stressors to develop robust mental health.

The aim of the unit is to encourage pre-service teachers to become aware of potential stressors, the duty of care to self and students, and the teaching code of conduct. Further, the unit seeks to build a pragmatic mindset and offers strategies to manage and mitigate the impact of teaching stressors. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify the most common school and classroom-based stressors confronted by early career teachers (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 6.1, 6.3, 6.4; ACECQA A6, B4, B6, B8, C1, C7, D2, D3, D5, E3, F3).

LO2 - Describe the professional, collegial factors that support and strengthen teachers’ mental health (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7, GA9; APST4.3, 4.5, 6.1, 6.3, 6.4 7.1, 7.2; ACECQA A6, B6, C7, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, E2, E3, F3 ).

LO3 - Research, reflect and analyse the experiences of early career teachers to identify useful, stress-management strategies that can decrease potential burnout, strengthen mental health and build collaborative networks (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA8, GA9; APST 3.3, 3.7, 4.3, 4.5, 6.1, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4; ACECQA B4, B6, B8, C1, C7, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, E2, E3, F3, F4).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.7 Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process.

4.3 Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

6.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in identifying professional learning needs.

6.3 Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.

6.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learnings. 

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A. Child development and care

A6 diversity, difference and inclusivity

B. Education and curriculum studies

B4 language and literacy

B6 social and environmental education

B8 physical and health education

C. Teaching pedagogies

C1 alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C7 contemporary society and pedagogy

D. Family and community contexts

D1 developing family and community partnerships

D2 multicultural education

D3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D4 socially inclusive practice

D5 culture, diversity and inclusion

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E2 contemporary theories and practice

E3 ethics and professional practice

F. Early childhood professional practice

F3 professional identity and development

F4 advocacy


Topics will include:

  • Relationship between teachers’ mental health and student well-being and academic achievement.
  • Attitudes and beliefs about mental health and how our attitudes are formed.
  • Attitudes about difference, stigma and impact of attitudes on others.
  • Identity and role formation as a teacher: The influence of societal beliefs and social media.
  • Contemporary understanding of mental health including classifications of needs and non-categorical approaches.
  • Philosophy and contemporary, consumer-led research underpinning mental health.
  • Impact of classroom life and other stress factors in the first five years of teaching.
  • Promotion, workload, burnout and impact on teachers’ mental health.
  • Consideration of support services and strategies available to early-career teachers.
  • Time management and communication strategies with children and families to reduce conflict.
  • Teachers’ code of conduct and duty-of-care.
  • Relevant legislation and policy including Human Rights, Anti-Discrimination, Disability Standards, Nationally Consistent Data collection, support strategies, legislation and policy to ameliorate burnout and support teachers’ mental health.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include lectures, tutorials, review of resource material provided and group discussion and individual self-paced activities.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.

Technology Enhanced Learning

Lectures and tutorials will be offered in synchronous time, but will be recorded for students unable to attend the scheduled sessions. Students will be notified via LEO when the lectures and tutorials will be held, their Zoom links and when the recordings will be uploaded. Additionally, the self-paced activities with links to digital resources will be available on the Learning Management System. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes by demonstrating attainment of academic and professional standards and develop graduate attributes consistent with university assessment requirements. The three assessment tasks are designed to build and increase an understanding of work-place environments and work-place stress which can be relieved by collegial networks and the development of workload and time management strategies.

The first assessment task, a visual essay draws on the students’ pedagogical knowledge to identify and examine the most common impacts on teacher’s mental health. The second, group-based task requires collaboration with peers to research how and why collegial networks support teachers and their mental health during difficult teaching and work-place situations. The third utilises the knowledge and understanding acquired from AT1 and AT2 so students can construct a self-care plan that considers research-identified strategies that protect and strengthen mental health.

Minimum Achievement Standard

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks and gain an overall pass result.

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Electronic submission and marking of assignments through Turnitin.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Visual Essay

With 5+ selected photos or images write an annotated photo essay that reflects knowledge of educational learning theories to explore your understanding of the key factors that impact the mental health of an early career teacher. 



GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Group task Media Representation

Using a range of literature, construct media content that examines the benefits of developing and maintaining social and collegial networks for positive mental health and well-being. 


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Writing Task

Care Plan with Rationale

Analyse current literature and develop a rationale for, and an action plan of holistic self-care appropriate for early career teachers in a post-pandemic world. 


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Sydney Catholic Schools, (2021). The code of professional conduct

NSW Department of Education (2021) Code of conduct

Aldrup, K., Klusmann, U., and Ludtke, O. (2017) Does basic need satisfaction mediate the link between stress exposure and well-being? A diary study among beginning teachers. Learning and Instruction. 50 (8): 21-30.

Cross, D. (2017). Teacher wellbeing and its impact on student learning, The University of Western Australia. Telethon Kids Institute.

Everymind, (2017). Start Well: A research project supporting resilience and well-being in early career teachers. University of Newcastle, Teachers Health Foundation.

Goddard, R., and Goddard, M. (2006). Beginning teacher burnout in Queensland Schools: Associations with serious intentions to leave. The Australian Educational Researcher. 33 (2): 61-75.

Harmsen, R., Helms-Lorenz, M., Maulana, R., and van Kleen, K. (2018). The relationship between beginning teachers, stress causes, stress responses, teaching behaviour and attrition. Teachers and Teaching. 24 (6).

Hogan, J.P., and White, P.J. (2021) A self study exploration of early career teacher burnout and the adaptive strategies of experienced teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education. 46 (5).

Makhdoom, I.F., Atta, M., and Malik, N.I. (2019). Counterproductive Work Behaviours as an outcome of job burnout among high school teachers. Bulletein of Education and Research, 41 (2): 79-92.

Mclean, L., Abry, T., Taylor, M., Jimanez, M., and Granger, K. (2017). Teachers’ mental health and perceptions of school climate across the transition from training to teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 65: 230-240.

O’Brien, P., Goddard, R., and Keeffe, M. (2008). Burnout confirmed as a viable explanation for beginning teacher attrition. A Report for University of Southern Queensland.

Seidman, S.A., and Zager, J. (1991). A study of coping behaviours and teacher burnout. Work and Stress, 6 (3); 206-216.

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