Finding purpose and meaning through teaching: Belinda’s story

Belinda Crowe (Cohort 2010) is an Alumna from Teach For Australia’s very first cohort. Belinda started her journey with Teach For Australia in Victoria in 2010 and has since held a number of titles and roles. She now finds herself back in the classroom, teaching at Taminmin College in Darwin:

When I started looking at graduate positions in fields that were relevant to my background in communications and commerce, I just didn’t find that I was particularly drawn to them. At some point it dawned on me that I wasn’t finding that sense of purpose and meaning that I was looking for – I really wanted to care about my work.

Joining TFA was the best decision I’ve ever made – I formed incredible and supportive friendships through Teach For Australia, that were invaluable sources of care, pep-talks, passion, big ideas, support, wisdom and a shared sense of “oh my god what have we got ourselves in for”.

After the program I was lucky to take up an AVID assignment in Vanuatu working to support the Ministry of Education in implementing a new national curriculum and teacher training program. I worked there for over a year, and it gave me a wonderful perspective on working in education in development. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

After four years working in education outside of the classroom, I started to really miss working directly with young people.

Teaching is such a remarkably challenging role. Being part of Teach For Australia compliments the chalk-face experience with connections, discussions and learning that allows you to consider the big picture implications of educational disadvantage.

In my own education, I had many wonderful teachers.  My year 12 English teacher in particular – Ms Wright – was very special. Somehow, she managed to be completely delightful, gentle, patient and consistent with everyone.

I will always remember the day that she read aloud a creative writing piece of mine to the class, and praised it, and I just glowed with pride and felt like a budding Shakespeare. As a teacher, I recognise now that that feeling didn’t just occur in isolation – Ms Wright created a classroom culture and relationships that celebrated success, and valued sharing and feedback. That’s a really hard thing to do, and it’s something that I am constantly aspiring to create in my own classroom.

I love that teaching matters, every single day. I can’t imagine another job that I would care so deeply about – I care so much about the young people that I teach, and every single day I am challenged to do the best that I can to support them in their learning and aspirations.

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