Edwina Dohle | Cohort 2010 Associate | Hometown: Mortlake VIC
Bachelor of Arts | Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Policy Officer | Australian Government Department of Education and Training
Mummifying a chicken wasn’t what Edwina Dohle had in mind as she embarked on teaching Ancient History to a class of Year 7 boys but an offhand suggestion from another Teach For Australia Associate sparked an unconventional idea that enthralled a group of distracted, unengaged students.
United from the very beginning with the belief that education is unrivalled in its transformative potential, Teach For Australia Associates and, eventually, Alumni place great value in sharing information and providing support. This is what Edwina believes makes the program especially unique.
“That connection between the Associates at different schools is so valuable, especially at the start,” she says, noting that even the most informal conversations can lead to new strategies and ideas. “To know you’ve got this network of people going through the same experience at different schools can be really energising.”
While collaboration around shared objectives is critical in helping Associates navigate through their two-year teaching experiences, it becomes equally as valuable when they step away from their schools.
“There are always conversations about the different work opportunities and the different career paths that people are taking to impact the issue of educational equity,” says Edwina who made the difficult decision to swap teaching for work in education policy. She gained experience in policy and planning by contributing to the school improvement team during the second year of her Teach For Australia experience and was motivated to tackle some of the bigger picture education questions.
Edwina acknowledges the different factors and dimensions that contribute to an education system that meets the needs of all Australians. With teachers and Teach For Australia Associates addressing educational inequity daily in the classroom, there’s a need for nationwide policy that supports development at the school level. She believes that Teach For Australia’s strength is that it addresses these issues through a strong, committed network of Associates and Alumni.
“Teach For Australia’s biggest impact is bringing together change-makers with people in schools, in not-for-profit organisations and throughout government,” says Edwina.
“Year after year, successive Alumni are moving into different areas and raising the profile of that conversation about education and how important it is to Australia’s future.
“Education is the key to social change in Australia. Nothing comes close to the potential impact it can have on making Australia the country we want it to be.”