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1 December 2017

Emmanuel: 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?”.

Through Testing Teachers, Emmanuel was able to share his own journey with his students, helping to develop a stronger sense of community.

“The biggest impact Testing Teachers had for me was the honest and authentic conversations that I was able to have with my students afterwards. They were exposed to the reality of what’s it like to be in the classroom from the teachers’ point of view.”

His passion for education stems from his own lived experience, and the life changing impact that his education afforded him.

“Stories are powerful. I am always open to discussing my own experience and what school was like for me. But, [Testing Teachers] made it easier to talk to the students about my own values, my family and my background.”

“In turn, we developed a sense of trust and openness and were able to talk about their own goals for their education.”

In 2018, Emmanuel will continue his work as a full-time teacher at Melton Secondary College in Victoria, teaching Years 8, 9 and 11 maths and science.

“The documentary helped to emphasise some of the convictions that I already held. I feel like I have more to offer.”

“Next year will be vastly different – now that I’m finished studying, I can focus wholly on my teaching. I’ve worked as a teacher at the same school for two years, I know how the school works, I know what my role is. That experience will make a huge difference to the students.”

“Now that I know where to aim, it’ll be much easier to reach my goals.”

What’s the one thing Emmanuel would change if he could, to help improve the outcomes of his students?

“I’ve thought about this over and over. You’d think it would be easy, but it’s not.”

“For me, the thing that would make the biggest difference, would be to reduce the gap in understanding between teacher and student. As a teacher, you can never have a perfect understanding of what your students are going through.”

“But when you truly know their experience, their context, their hopes, motivations and fears… The closer you get to understanding these things, the better the teacher you are. It would make such a difference.”

This article is part of a series related to the SBS documentary Testing Teachers