Looking for change and challenge as an engineer: Zach’s story

Zach O’Conner (Cohort 2017) moved from Melbourne to Darwin to teach at Taminmin College at the beginning of 2017. He now teaches Maths, Science and Chemistry at the school and loves to see the impact that he is having on his students:

I studied a Bachelor of Environments and a Masters of Engineering at the University of Melbourne. After graduating, I worked for two years in the graduate program of a multinational engineering consulting firm in the environment team.

I had toyed with the idea of teaching for quite a while, but I always thought it would be further down the track. Then I realised it was kind of now or never, and TFA is a great way to make the change without having to sacrifice earning an income to get qualified. I was also really ready for a change – to move cities and to try a new industry.

Teaching is a much more exciting and active work environment than my previous work as an engineer. It requires a much more diverse skill set and is definitely more of an emotional roller coaster. I love working with people and the moments of chaos that come with teaching.

The students are full of character and it’s great to reconnect with youth in a meaningful way. Although I had volunteered in various capacities with youth before joining the program, I love the fact that I can now have a longer-lasting impact on children as a teacher.

I love that I can just tell people that I’m a teacher and don’t have to explain what that means. I like that even when it’s really hard, I know that it’s worth my time and effort because I am helping people to learn. The flexibility is great – teachers are in demand everywhere. Also the holidays are excellent.

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We work in regions and communities where Associates can have the most impact, which often leads to once-in-a-lifetime opportunties to live in a new, exciting, and diverse regions of Australia.