Leadership Development Program

Fostering growth in young people through a career in teaching

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024

As an outdoor educator running school camps, Ethan Jolley witnessed growth and built meaningful relationships with students – but he would have to say ‘goodbye’ after just a few days.

Ethan made the decision to pursue a career in teaching through our Leadership Development Program to foster this growth over a longer time.

“I was working as an outdoor educator, coming into schools, running school camps with an outdoor ed and environment focus but I noticed it wasn’t sustainable for me to work in the industry as a casual contractor,” he said,

“I would develop these meaningful and trusting relationships with students over four-five day camps. I would notice growth in these young men over that period and then I would have to say ‘goodbye’ and that was hard.

“That’s what made me want to go into a school environment where I can support growth over a longer time.”

Teach For Australia’s program offered Ethan a structured pathway to become a teacher while continuing to make a positive impact on young people’s lives.

He joined our 2024 Cohort, teaching humanities, physical education and health at Nhulunbuy High School in the Northern Territory.

A change of direction

Ethan wasn’t always set on being an educator – he had wanted to be in the Airforce ever since he was young. But a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was just 17 years old “completely threw a spanner in the works”.

“The following year, after six months of chemotherapy – I still thought I could get in despite my health battles, but I was turned away with the final decision being made a week before my year 12 exams. I was shattered,” he said.

“I was fortunate enough to have a few amazing mentors, past teachers and other adults in my life who recognised my potential and encouraged me into a path of educating young people. I was given the opportunity to work as a swim teacher during my gap year and I guess that’s where it all started – my pathway into teaching.”

Connection to community

Ethan says he has a deep connection to the Northern Territory cultivated over three years working with the Yolngu First Nations community which has strengthened his ability to connect with his students.

“Knowing about the kinship system and being able to have a base level understanding of words and phrases instantly allowed for greater connection with the students,” Jolley expressed.

“They know that I respect their home language and that they can be my teacher in that world.”

When asked what he hopes to contribute to the future of education: “My hope is for the education system is to value First Nations perspectives, languages and culture.”

About our program

Passionate career changers – like Ethan – bring valuable experience, specialist knowledge and unique perspectives to classrooms in disadvantaged communities across Australia through our Leadership Development Program.

Our Associates work in schools teaching subjects directly related to their previous studies while they undertake a Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Leading Learning) with our academic partner Australian Catholic University (ACU).

During the two-year program, Associates receive one-on-one coaching and mentoring and earn a full salary – approximately $62,000-$65,000 base salary, depending on the placement location.

  • Professionals – change careers without giving up your income by joining our Leadership Development Program.
  • The employment-based pathway means you’ll earn a full salary while undertaking your Master of Teaching over the two years.
  • Make a difference for students in the classroom while kickstarting a meaningful new career.
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