After 22 years in the construction industry, Steve Couch admits he was more familiar with mathematical equations and building codes than teaching theory when he joined Teach For Australia’s Leadership Development Program in 2022.
But during the first part of the two-year program experience – the National Initial Intensive – the South Australian quickly realised he was bringing unique lived experience in leading and inspiring young minds.
“I’ve been very heavily involved in soccer coaching for the last 16 years in Jamestown but have been coaching kids since I was about 12 years old,” Steve said.
“What I have found is that because of my experience as a coach for such a long period of time – and as a parent bringing up young boys – a lot of what the theory relates to is learnt experience for me, so I find it very natural.
“Allowing children to ‘dream big’ with encouragement and support, while reflecting and recognising even the smallest achievements can build confidence and self-belief. Through my soccer coaching, I’ve enjoyed encouraging children to ‘have a go’ and helping them develop their skills in a positive and safe environment.”
As an Associate in the Leadership Development Program, Steve is teaching at Booleroo Centre District School this year – just half an hour’s drive from his home in Jamestown.
He said he felt that both his career and coaching experience would translate to his teaching in the classroom.
“I love problem solving – you wouldn’t be a builder if you didn’t love problem solving,” he laughed.
“Learning in a classroom is one thing, but when you can actually apply it in the real world and relate things to real world experiences is huge,” he said.
Steve is committed to providing a great education experience for his students and is keen to learn and adapt to the challenges ahead.
“There is a real opportunity to make an impact to children’s lives through education,” he said.
“I believe being a positive influence and mentor to children can have lasting impact for them later in life in social circles, work and relationships.
“It fills my bucket. There’s a fellow who only just moved to the local region and he’s been super supportive – and he said to me after I joined the program ‘I’ve never seen you so happy’.”
Teach For Australia fights educational inequity by recruiting and developing exceptional people like Fiona to teach and lead across Australia – in schools where they’re needed most.
While working in the classroom and earning a full salary, TFA Associates complete their Master of Teaching and receive coaching and mentoring to accelerate their professional development.