The West Side is the Best Side

When I first declared to my family I was going to become a teacher, they were a little sceptical.

“Are you sure?” said my mother (an educational assistant for more than 15 years).

“I thought you didn’t like children” quipped my father.

Ultimately, they agreed it was a decision which made sense for me. Social justice had always been my passion, and I found working with kids more interesting and enjoyable than any of my office job experiences.

The decision neither they nor my friends could quite believe was my preference for a Western Australian placement. I’m a born and bred Queenslander. I bleed maroon (literally and figuratively) when State of Origin rolls around.

Although I had expressed a desire to move around and live in other cities, they were always the stock standard ones: London, Sydney or Melbourne. Perth was a pretty left field choice.

Yet here I am, teaching in Perth, a proud member of TFA’s first Western Australian Cohort of Associates and enjoying my West Coast life. This is due in no small part to the amazing people and experiences I have had here.

 

A hilarious and heartfelt message from my year tens in one of the many beautiful birthday cards I received.

A hilarious and heartfelt message from my year tens in one of the many beautiful birthday cards I received.

 

The community I have found at Balga, the school where I teach, is unlike any I have ever experienced – not just because the staff are welcoming but because the students themselves are exceptional. My year nine class threw me a birthday party! I have learnt so much more about what it means to be generous and thoughtful from these kids than I ever thought I could.

The ‘Westie’ crew of Associates are some of the best people I’ve ever met. Thanks to them, the ever present mountain of work, PD and assignments are not an insurmountable and tiresome challenge but a thrilling, if at times exhausting, climb.

 

Just two of the four cakes I received from students on my birthday.

Just two of the four cakes I received from students on my birthday.

 

I do not understand this state’s love of AFL, and I don’t think I ever will. But running around the footy field with my students is some of the most fun I’ve had (even if I’m terrible at it).

From beautiful beaches to red dirt roads and desert sunsets, WA has opened my eyes to new cultures, new friends, and a new vision of my future. Living in London or Melbourne might happen one day, but first I want to explore the Kimberly, the Pilbara and the Gibson Desert and experience remote education.  Western Australia is the largest state after all, and there’s a lot of it to explore and to learn from.

 

My home away from home - Balga SHS

My home away from home – Balga SHS

 

Joining TFA and moving to WA was a life altering decision, and one I made during a time of great upheaval in my life. However, I know that it was the right one. I walk into school each week and feel at home. I know that I belong and that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. For me, the West side has truly turned out to be the best side.

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