In 2013, I had the opportunity to work as a Teacher’s Assistant at schools in the Northern Territory in Katherine and Kalkaringi. I was incredibly inspired by the teachers I worked with. I also experienced first-hand, for the first time, the educational divide pervading Australia.
After returning home, I resolved to return to the NT one day to make a contribution at a grass roots level.
Through the Teach For Australia program I was given the opportunity to work as a classroom teacher in the remote NT. I was apprehensive about making the move from Melbourne to Tennant Creek, 5 hours from the closest major town. Whilst I was excited by the opportunity, I had niggling fears that living and teaching in the desert would be too much of a change.
During the first few weeks of teaching I was working harder than I ever had before.
Surprisingly, though, I did not once find it hard to get out of bed every morning – I love my job.
This is largely due to the students I have the privilege of teaching. Many have experienced hardships in their lives that I can hardly comprehend and are by far some of the most selfless, loyal and resilient young adults I have ever met. They can navigate their way through multiple languages, and have ideas that you wouldn’t expect from someone double their age. And yet statistically, these students are years behind their peers in reading and writing.
Finding my feet as a teacher in term one was tough, but equally fascinating and fun. If you are considering working as a teacher to bridge the educational divide in Australia, I couldn’t more highly recommend moving to the remote NT.