During the month of July, Teach For Australia’s first and second year Associates took part in regional Mid-Year Intensives. This year, the inter-cohort Mid-Year Intensives were run in the capital city of each jurisdiction we place in – Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart and Darwin.
Mid-Year Intensive is a chance for Associates to reconnect and reflect with each other and the national Teach For Australia network, as well as to participate in high-level professional learning and development from Teach For Australia and Deakin University.
External panellists, guest speakers and education experts were invited to participate and present. Associates from all jurisdictions expressed an appreciation for the opportunity to engage with their peers and experts in various fields of education.
The TFA Northern Territory team introduced the theme ‘Tempered Radicals’, with a focus on what drives leadership in low SES communities. Guest speaker Dr. Simon Quilty addressed the issue of health in the NT, particularly in the township of Katherine, where he leads drastic change in policies and practices at Katherine Hospital. Dr. Quilty linked Indigenous health to education – specifically, he discussed the importance of early education in health and nutrition.
Second year Associates in the NT engaged in a peer coaching session, aimed at giving them the skills to collaboratively reflect and improve their practice beyond the two-year Leadership Development Program. This was complemented by a highly practical session by Teach To Lead Director Kalpana Rao on Driving Change That Sticks, which a number of Associates claimed was “the most useful session of any Intensive”.
First year Associates focused on reflecting on their first six months as teachers, and on the importance of looking after themselves. Self-care is something that we at Teach For Australia believe is essential to effective and sustainable teaching, as explained in this article by Alumna Pip McIlroy.
Additionally, all Associates engaged in sessions centred around building classroom culture – including curriculum development, differentiation (a universal design for learning), behaviour management, lesson planning, group-work, and so on. Importantly, they were able to reconnect with their peers from across the Territory – Associates are placed in Alice Springs, Darwin, Katherine and Tennant Creek, so catching up regularly is no easy feat!
The Tempered Radicals theme culminated in an all-female Leadership Panel on the final day, consisting of changemakers and leaders:
The rigour of discussion around the state of education in the NT was the highlight of MYI for many Associates!
Almost 60 Western Australian Associates gathered in Perth for their Mid-Year Intensive, where the theme was ‘Reconnect, Reflect, Grow’. Associates had the opportunity to reconnect with each other via dinners and activities like an ‘Amazing Teacher Race’, run by the regional Kalgoorlie Associates!
WA also saw a host of external presenters bringing their expertise to the program, including:
They had a focus on practical teaching strategies and on leadership for the second years, with sessions such as Leading Change that Sticks, Developing Your Vision for Change, and Becoming Empowered Alumni. Leadership examples hailed from a range of sources, including prominent sportsmen Justin Langer and Ric Charlesworth.
We’d like to give a massive thank you and congratulations to our outstanding Associates for making MYI such a great event – we can’t wait to catch up with them all again soon!