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8 November 2017

Kitty: Where to from here?

Earlier this year, over one million people tuned in to Testing Teachers to witness the journey of six Teach For Australia Associates in their first years of teaching. As they prepare to complete the Leadership Development Program, we check in to find out how the experience has shaped their career and ask, “where to from here?”.

After two years of teaching drama and science at Melton Secondary College, Kitty is proud of the students she taught and how they worked together.

“They are interesting, energetic, diverse and excellent. They question how things work, they are resourceful and resilient, and it has been a pleasure to be their teacher!”

It’s been a tough two years, learning how to be a good teacher and inviting the whole of Australia to watch while you do it. But Kitty says Testing Teachers has helped to bring more people into the conversation around education.

“Outside of education circles, people are not necessarily interested in how the classroom runs – but the documentary opened that communication channel. It really has been a great opportunity to talk with people about teaching and how education works in Australia.”

Kitty says the documentary has also helped her to build relationships with parents of her new students.

“You feel somewhat removed when you only connect with parents by email or phone. It’s been lovely to have an instant connection when I call parents of my new students for the first time.”

“They have seen who I am in the classroom. I can’t hide!”

Like all teachers, Kitty is always thinking about what would be most helpful to improve the outcomes of her students. If she could change one thing:

“A rethink of how the school day is structured so that it gives students room to think, breathing space to learn in smaller core groups, and opportunities during the day to work on long-range projects that are interesting and challenging.”

“School often feels like a sprint, but deep learning and a love of learning only comes when there is time and space for it to take hold.”

As she prepares for the end of her second school year, Kitty says that she is committed to continuing her work as a drama and science teacher.

“I have loved working at Melton Secondary College over the past two years. My experiences in the classroom have sparked in me a desire to move regionally to teach, and to work on education projects which involve integrated learning, particularly in STEAM.”

But, for now, Kitty plans to take a break and make the most of the early years with her own daughter.

“The TFA program was a very busy period which spanned my daughter’s 2nd and 3rd years, so I want to make sure I get lots of quality time with her in this last year before she starts her own school journey!”

This article is part of a series related to the SBS documentary Testing Teachers. To find out more about Testing Teachers click here.