Working at a start-up
Classroom Teacher at Narre Warren South P-12 College
My name’s Brenden.
I’m placed at Narre Warren South P-12 College,
southeast of Melbourne.
I’m teaching predominantly English,
but my second teaching area is politics.
I’m cohort 2019,
so I’ve just finished my first year in the program,
starting my second now.
Before I worked at Teach For Australia,
I worked for a small education startup.
I chose Teach For Australia
instead of a traditional pathway.
It just makes more sense.
The most rewarding aspect of the program
is seeing kids grow.
I think like,
seeing a kid struggle but work really hard,
and then get reward for effort,
or seeing someone who
is even really good at your subject
excel and grow in a way that
maybe they haven’t before.
Like, I think
getting the results for
the students, and seeing them
happy or proud of themselves,
just seeing those moments of growth and achievement,
that’s the best part of the program.
Returning to my old school through TFA
has been interesting.
I think maybe awkward for a week or so,
but really beautiful.
Like, I think I feel
a lot of connection to the community
and a lot of connection to
the students who have
the same handshakes and the same
or a similar kind of banter that we used to,
so I think it’s been a really nice experience,
returning to my old school
and like reconnecting with the community that I grew up in.
If I were to give myself a piece of advice,
before starting the program,
if I could go back a year,
I’d say keep a diary,
and just write down the little wins,
and write down the things that are best about it.
Those are the memories that make teaching so special,
and I think,
if I had like better track of those than just my memory,
that’d be really nice.
Brenden didn’t travel very far for his placement. In fact, he’s teaching at the very secondary school he had attended.
“Returning to my old school through Teach For Australia has been interesting,” Brendan says. “Maybe awkward for a week or so, but really beautiful. I feel a lot of connection to the community, and a lot of connection to the students who have the same handshakes and a similar kind banter that we used to.”
One of his favourite memories from his first year of teaching takes place in his Year 10 classroom.
“We were doing oral presentations, and she was among the last few students to attempt her presentation, and when we got up in front of everyone she was visibly uncomfortable. She didn’t speak, and I saw the tears well in her eyes, and I could imagine the anxiety building up, so I gave her an out and said, ‘Do you want to sit down?’ and she did.”
“After class, I arranged for the student to do the presentation in my office. When the time came next week, I reminded her she needed to do her presentation in my office, and she asked if she could do it in front of the class instead. When I told the class that she would be presenting that day… everyone sat ramrod straight, giving her as much respect as they could, and when she finished, they gave an enormous round of applause, and it was clear that they were as proud of her as I was. It was a really beautiful ‘team spirit’ moment.”
Brenden has found that the most rewarding part of teaching for him is helping young people directly, and knowing that you’ve made an impact.
“Getting the results for the students and seeing them happy or proud of themselves, seeing those moments of growth and achievement – that’s the best part of the program.”