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 this year 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.”
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.”
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.