Leadership Development Program

From the zoo to the classroom

Three minutes
Tuesday, March 21st, 2023
Fiona McIntyre

Fiona McIntyre had a mix of career experience before joining Teach For Australia’s Leadership Development Program – from being a zoo photographer and tour guide, to working overseas in the wine industry. But one idea was a constant presence.

“Teaching had always been in the back of my mind,” Fiona said.

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fiona relocated from Victoria to the Northern Territory to teach visual art at St Joseph’s Catholic College in Katherine as part of TFA’s two-year program.

We are grateful to the Hansen Little Foundation for supporting Humanities, English, Arts and Literature teachers like Fiona in the program’s Cohort 2023.

As a career changer, Fiona said the program not only offered stability – as TFA Associates earn a full salary – but also a sense of connection and inspiration.

“Teach For Australia was suggested to me by a current Associate up in the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory – she was very positive about the program,” Fiona said.

“One of the main drawcards for me was being surrounded by people that I knew I’d be able to instantly connect with. Everyone has such a different story to tell, but I love hearing them, and I wanted to be around that and feel really inspired by what I was doing.

“It felt like the right path.”

‘Back yourself’

Fiona said that despite teaching being on her mind for so long, being accepted into the TFA program still came as a surprise.

“Even though teaching was something I’d considered for quite a few years, I think there’s considering it, then there’s going for it, and then there’s the reality of being accepted into a program like this that has such high standards and that seeks people who are going to make a difference,” she said.

Her advice to anyone considering applying is to “back yourself”.

“As stressed by the TFA recruitment officers – just be yourself, back yourself, and know that even if you haven’t done a PhD or a prior Master’s or anything like that, life experience is very important and relevant and they want people like you.

“Back yourself, give it a try and you never know what will happen.”

Inspire young minds

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 earning a full salary, TFA Associates complete their Master of Teaching  and receive  coaching and mentoring to accelerate their professional development.

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