Manager at Ernst & Young
Legal Studies, Accounting, History
Classroom Teacher at Mill Park Secondary College
My name’s Kath,
I’m part of Teach For Australia cohort 2019.
I teach currently at Mill Park Secondary College
and I’m doing VCE legal studies and accounting.
Before I joined Teach For Australia,
I worked for one of the big four,
Ernst & Young for almost nine years.
I changed careers from corporate world
into teaching primarily because I wanted more human contact,
things that I, where I was actually dealing face
to face with people rather than sitting behind a desk
and that kind of led me into thinking,
right well what kind of job can I get that I get
that interaction on a daily basis
and I can still use my skills.
Teach For Australia trumped other pathways
to teaching for me.
Firstly, on a practical level.
So instead of going back to university
to do a two year Master’s full-time
or potentially part-time over four or five years,
I would get to stay in the workforce
for the two years that I was
with the Teach For Australia program.
So having a number of commitments, house, dog, husband,
in that order, I had to keep those up
but also I liked the idea of just getting stuck
into things straight away,
I didn’t want to go back and sit in a classroom
and listen to lectures for two years,
I wanted to be out there in the classroom straight away
and although that’s quite a scary thought,
Teach For Australia really fosters
that support to give you that chance.
The most challenging aspect
of the Teach For Australia program for me
so far has been stepping back into
that beginner role at something.
My greatest emotion for year one
of the program is probably frustration.
Purely because I had gone
from being at quite a high level with my previous job,
down to the newbie again, I was in a school environment
that I hadn’t been in since I was 17
and things have changed so much.
I was constantly learning,
I was very frustrated that I wasn’t great
at it straight away and I’m still not great at it
but I feel a lot better and a lot,
I’m a lot less harsh on myself going into the second year
of the program than I was previously.
The most rewarding aspect of Teach For Australia
for me is 100% the students and getting to,
not just to teach them but getting to interact with them,
at my school there’s so many different cultures,
so many different backgrounds
and all the students have their own stories
so it’s so rewarding for me to get
to have those daily interactions with the students.
So if I had to give one piece of advice
to my younger self before joining TFA,
it would be don’t dampen your enthusiasm,
really I think the most authentic thing you can do is
to show that you’re very excited about a opportunity
and if that is genuine then that will come off really well.
(gentle upbeat music)
After nearly nine years in the corporate world, Kath realised that she wasn’t doing what she loved.
“I had plenty of time working for commercial gain,” she says, “and knew I wanted a renewed focus on doing something that is beneficial to society as a whole.”
She wanted a career with more social interaction, and less time sitting behind a desk. Kath wanted to pass on the opportunities she had in her education to another generation of students, but Kath didn’t want to put her life on hold to change careers.
“A priority for me was to not feel that I was taking a step backwards in my professional life, and taking two years out of paid work to attend a conventional Masters degree,” Kath says.
“The draw of the Leadership Development Program is that it throws you in to work straight away – and that very much suited me.”
“The most rewarding part of the program is that I get to form new connections every day with those who are either in the education system (students) or are passionate about improving it (Associates, staff, other teachers).
“To be able to guide my students through subjects that I love and to see them become interested in and motivated to pursue the subject is really something.”