Bridget had always lived in a city prior to joining Teach For Australia in 2016, and when she was placed in the outer regional town of Kalgoorlie, it may as well have been a world away from her hometown in Perth. Far from the beach with a population of just 30,000 people, moving to Kalgoorlie was a giant leap of faith.
“I’ve enjoyed it so much more than I could have imagined. I don’t think I ever understood what it means to be part of a community until I moved here. There are always people looking out for you and ready to help when needed, the town was very welcoming,” she says.
As part of the Leadership Development Program, Associates are always placed in clusters, usually with others teaching at their same school and in schools nearby as an essential network of support. Kalgoorlie now has 11 Associates and Teach For Australia Alumni still teaching in the town, and featured in The Australian.
“My network of TFA colleagues are my closest friends,” Bridget said. Living in a small town also offers opportunities to immerse into the community, with Associates quickly passing familiar faces in the streets in their fellow Associates, students and families. “I also play hockey for a club in town, sport is big deal here and it’s been a good way to get more involved in the community. Many of my teammates are either students from my school or their parents.”
In addition to being involved in local sport, Bridget also founded a young professionals group to bring together the local community which has amassed over 150 members. She also volunteers at the local Red Cross Soup Patrol.
Immersing into the town has been integral to establishing as a teacher, particularly while also studying.“Textbooks cannot teach you how to engage with your students and their parents, it’s something you learn on the job and from being part of their community.”
While she points out the hard work involved in teaching, Bridget says she can’t imagine doing anything else. “I honestly don’t think its possible to get bored in this job, as there’s always more to be done to make classes more engaging and ensure every student is doing their best. I think the reason I love my job so much is the sense of purpose inherent in teaching. The students sitting in front of me each day is what drives me to focus on improving my teaching practice to ensure I’m giving them the best I can.”
“Watching a student get excited about the content you are teaching or grasping a concept they’ve been struggling with is a great feeling.”