Leadership Development Program

Belinda brings her passion for agriculture to the classroom

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

Belinda Short’s passion for agriculture was ignited by one of her teachers growing up – and she is now looking forward to being a supportive and inspirational teacher for her students thanks to our Leadership Development Program.

With a long background in agriculture and accounting, Belinda is teaching Agriculture and Integrated Science at Taminmin College in Humpty Doo, in the Northern Territory, as part of our 2023 Cohort.

“Joining the Teach For Australia program is such a valuable opportunity because I’m able to teach while I’m studying, so as soon as I learn something I’m able to put it into practice in the classroom right away,” she said.

“As my skill set grows, I’m able to adapt and improve my approach to teaching, which I really enjoy being able to do.”

From teacher’s aide to teacher

Belinda worked and lived on a cattle station in Far North Queensland while completing her Bachelor of Agribusiness, before taking on an agribusiness banking role with a national bank for nearly a decade.

While taking time off as a new parent, Belinda was made redundant which triggered a moment of self-reflection to decide where her next chapter would take her. 

In a previous life, Belinda was a teacher’s aide for a short period of time – a job that she enjoyed – and so she returned to her role as a teacher’s aide at Taminmin College.

One of the teachers there encouraged Belinda to look into Teach For Australia’s program because they saw great potential in her, and Belinda jumped at the opportunity to apply. 

“While starting out in the program felt quite daunting because I’m juggling studying, teaching for the first time and my family all at once, the Teach For Australia team have made it very clear that they’re there to support me,” she said.

“Taminmin College also has a really long history with Teach For Australia and my colleagues who are program Alumni have been really helpful because they have so much experience and knowledge that I’ve been able to tap into.”

Bringing experience into the classroom

Leaning on her experience from the agriculture industry, Belinda is thriving in the classroom. She tries to create practical, hands-on lessons so that her students can spend as much time outside with the farm animals as possible. 

“We’re lucky to have a full farm set up at Taminmin College, so for me, as an agriculture teacher, seeing the kids interact with the animals and watching their knowledge and confidence grow with the animals is an incredible thing to witness,” she said.

“Building relationships with and getting to know my students, how they learn, and what they’re interested in is one of the best parts about being a teacher. One day I had mentioned a few facts in passing, and during the next lesson, they all recited the facts back to me perfectly – I was so surprised and impressed.

“I wasn’t confident that classroom teaching was for me at first because school wasn’t my priority growing up, but I think coming into this new career with working experience and knowledge of how the world works is actually really beneficial for the students.”

About the Leadership Development Program

Teach For Australia’s Leadership Development Program recruits and develops high-calibre career changers like Belinda, and graduates, to teach in communities where workforce needs are highest.

Participants study their Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Leading Learning) through TFA’s academic partner ACU, while teaching subject areas directly related to their previous studies and supported by mentoring and coaching to accelerate their professional development.

Applications for the 2025 intake of the program will open in February 2024.

Learn more

Continue reading

Learn more about Teach for Australia, our programs and our cohorts.