Having learned of Teach First while living in England, Lucienne was excited to see that Teach For Australia was about to launch when she returned home in 2009.
“I heard incredible stories about the work of sister programs globally. I was excited to be a part of a group of smart, committed and likeminded people who felt similarly passionate about the need to address educational disadvantage in Australia,” she said.
Starting her journey with Teach For Australia in 2010, Lucienne has spent the last six years tackling educational disadvantage all over the world.
As an inaugural Teach For Australia Associate, Lucienne was placed at Victoria University Secondary College in Melbourne as a humanities teacher.
She believes the Leadership Development Program changed her life by giving her confidence and a funnel for her energy and commitment to changing education.
As an Associate, Lucienne had the opportunity to participate in the Teach For All global workshop in Mumbai, India. The experience enabled her to engage in a broader discussion of educational disadvantage and seeded her desire to reform education on a larger scale.
“It was through the Teach For All experience that I realised the gravity of what we were doing – one student, school, city and country at a time,”
After completing the Leadership Development Program, Lucienne took on a policy role in the Victorian Government.
“I was lucky to be a part of a small team assembled to negotiate the Victorian position on the Federal Government’s Gonski school funding reform proposals,” she said.
Throughout 2013, she continued to work on education reform domestically, establishing new frameworks for the professional development of teachers across Victoria.
In December 2013 Lucienne moved to Amman, Jordan to work with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Discovering the role on the Australian Volunteers International website, she had the opportunity to work on a number of education reform programs supporting teacher development and school empowerment.
Reflecting on her experience at home in Australia and overseas, Lucienne has found that educational disadvantage and the challenges associated with it can be very similar across countries and cultures despite the different contextual factors.
“The fight to support the value of education and the role of teachers and was just as necessary in UNRWA schools as it was in Australia or elsewhere in the world,”
“Specifically, I worked on providing a new professional development curriculum to teachers of grades 7-12 in Arabic, English, Maths and Science,”
The conflict was incredibly challenging for UNRWA staff, heightening the realities of providing education during conflict and protracted displacement.
“I was asked to create education in emergency curriculum materials for teachers who would be conducting classes in open spaces and makeshift accommodation during the conflict,” she said.
The following year, Lucienne received a Rotary Peace Fellowship and moved to Sweden to undertake a Masters in Peace and Conflict Resolution.
The Rotary Peace Fellowship would see Lucienne return to Amman in 2016 to work with Caritas Switzerland, supporting Caritas Jordan to provide education, counselling and humanitarian assistance to people in need.
“I took a role in managing the development and implementation of a ‘Cash for Work’ livelihoods program for some months, which was focused on supporting vulnerable Jordanians and Syrian Refugees,” said Lucienne.
While there, Lucienne also had the opportunity to work with the Syria Response Office at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The NRC provides humanitarian assistance and support to thousands of Syrians inside the country, in both besieged and hard to reach areas.
“At NRC I supported work in a number of their humanitarian response programs across the education, protection, shelter, wash, and information and legal counselling and advice areas,”
Lucienne feels incredibly fortunate to have been able to contribute to education and youth issues in varied contexts and countries across the world.
“Being able to step into the lives of young people through roles as a teacher or contributing to education programming is a privilege and responsibility,”
“Quality education is a goal of most countries, whilst equity and access similarly remains a challenge to most,”
Lucienne will complete her Masters in Peace and Conflict Resolution this year.
When she finishes her degree, she hopes to return to Amman to continue supporting the work of non-government organisations in responding to the ongoing Syrian conflict.