Leadership Development Program

‘Becoming a teacher has filled me with such joy’

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

A love of learning and a passion for educational equity have taken Mark Tomlinson from the military to the classroom through Teach For Australia’s Leadership Development Program.

Mark studied history, political science and geography – and now he’s able to impart his knowledge and share his passion as a Humanities teacher at St Joseph’s Catholic College in Katherine as part of the program’s 2023 Cohort.

Drawn to TFA’s mission

Hailing from South Africa, Mark served in the South African Defence Force and while serving he was able to join the Military Academy where he completed a Bachelor of Military Science, Security and African Studies.

Mark’s experience in the Military Academy made him realise that one day, after he felt satisfied with the accomplishments in his military career, he would eventually like to become a university lecturer.

After serving in the Defence Force for 14 years, Mark made the decision to move to Australia with his young daughter to continue his military career in the Australian Air Force. He had an incredible experience living and working in small communities in the Northern Territory, which is where he learnt about Teach For Australia.

Applying for the Leadership Development program was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, as it would allow him to head down the teaching career path he had once pondered pursuing.

“The Teach For Australia program has such a supportive team and I really love its mission – fighting education inequality really resonates with me because of my upbringing in South Africa and becoming a teacher has filled me with such joy,” Mark said.

Inspiring students’ curiosity for learning

As someone with a lifelong love of academics, Mark’s personal mission as a teacher is to inspire his students to also fall in love with learning while striving to help them reach their academic potential and beyond.

“It’s so inspiring as someone who has such a passion for learning, thinking and self-reflection to teach subjects that I really love and see that the students are really responding to the content, and it’s even more rewarding to see the critical thinking skills that they’re developing continue to improve,” he said.

“Witnessing students, who don’t typically like to engage with school, go above and beyond with their assignments as they start to believe in the value of learning, is my ultimate goal as a teacher. I want to inspire their curiosity for learning and watch it continue to grow.

“I have always dreamed of becoming a teacher, especially a history teacher, and I just feel so fortunate to be in this space and to have the opportunity to positively impact my students and their futures.”

Embracing life in Katherine

Not only is he achieving his dream of becoming a teacher, Mark also can’t speak highly enough of his new school and community in Katherine.

“I love my school and my colleagues – the management at St Joseph’s College is the best that I’ve ever come across in my 17 years of working,” he said.

“They are amazing and so is the community and lifestyle in Katherine. It’s a very peaceful place and the people here are fantastic and I always find myself having such wonderful conversations.”

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