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Country students win as career changers go bush

Teachers standing outside a Roxby Downs Area School sign
9 April 2021

Students in regional schools will benefit from the next phase of a pilot program that provides an accelerated pathway into the teaching profession for subject experts.  

The Department for Education is working with Teach For Australia (TFA) to recruit up to 12 subject specialists for the TFA Leadership Development Program.

The program recruits talented graduates, young professionals and career changers to country schools and supports their development in the classroom over two years, while they complete a Masters of Teaching through an assisted scholarship.

This is helping to fill hard-to-staff positions in country high schools and improving access to subject specialists.

Round 1 of the pilot was successfully launched last year, with 2 aspiring STEM teachers, Bec Magee and Josh Biermann, placed in Roxby Downs Area School and a career musician and music teacher, David Drummond, placed at Stuart High School in Whyalla.

Bec comes from a background in pharmacy and is teaching year 8 maths, year 10 science and year 11 and 12 physics.

She’s enjoying the new experience of living in a rural community and says getting hands on experience while completing her Masters is a real strength of the program.

“Being able to put the theory directly into practice straight away definitely helps me learn and is helping me to become the best educator I can be.”

“But also being placed directly in a remote school where there is a need for enthusiastic educators who want to develop themselves and also help where there is the greatest need is very rewarding.”

Josh has also relocated to Roxby as part of the pilot after working as a civil engineer.

Teaching year 9 STEM, year 9 enterprise, year 10 maths and year 12 information processing and publishing, Josh also feels the TFA program is helping him develop as an educator while allowing him to dive into something he loves.

“Whether you’ve studied your Masters at uni or are going through a program like TFA, as teachers we all face that day one and I think the biggest benefit of the program is actually starting teaching in front of students from day one, rather than later on in your study.”

“It’s great to hit the ground running and apply the knowledge we’re learning. I’ve also been able to apply experience from my previous work to the classroom.”

“For me, the biggest highlight is being able to get in the classroom and share the journey with students as they’re learning. It’s an absolute joy.”

Applications for the round 2 pilot close on Sunday 18 April. Apply on the TFA website.