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Leadership Development Program

Preparing for the Leadership Development Program: Part 3

Monday, March 25th, 2024

This is the third part in a four–part series to help you prepare for our Leadership Development Program – from the moment you’re offered a place, to teaching in the classroom and everything in between.

In case you missed them, here are the first and second instalments to get you up to speed.

Once you’ve been placed at a school and undertaken intensive learning to build your foundational skills and knowledge, it’s time for the major milestone of stepping into the classroom as a teacher.

Your new career journey

From day one of Term 1, you’ll be teaching at 0.8 full time equivalent at your placement school, with 0.2 FTE study release as you undertake your Master of Teaching. While the Masters requires more hours of study than 0.2FTE each week, this time is allocated to reduce the amount of study you need to complete outside of work hours.

You’ll be supported by wraparound mentoring and coaching, including an experienced teacher mentor at your school, an academic mentor to support your studies, and a TFA Teaching and Leadership Coach – another experienced teacher who will provide regular one-on-one coaching, classroom observations and pastoral care.

Our participants consistently tell us that this unique three-tiered support structure is what makes TFA’s program stand out.

 “You have three different support people who are with you for the entire two years and have nothing but your best interest at heart.” – Eliza Kramer, 2021 Cohort

“The in-school mentor I had when I was an Associate was brilliant – she made me a much better teacher and still mentors me to this day,” – Sonia Loudon, 2013 Cohort

“When you come into the program and you have the cognitive overload from just managing 25 students at once, the mentor structure is invaluable because it helps you to focus and understand what parts of your expertise can fit into what parts of the school to improve outcomes for students.” – Alice Hu, 2022 Cohort

As well as receiving wraparound support, you’ll also earn a full salary when you start teaching during the program – approximately $62,000 to $65,000 base salary, depending on where you’re placed. It means you don’t need to sacrifice an income to study.

“I would not be a teacher now if this program didn’t exist. It just would not have happened. I couldn’t have taken the time off to do the study that I needed to become a teacher, also learning on the job was great!” – Anna Hildebrandt, 2023 Cohort

The classroom

When you step into the classroom, you will have the opportunity to inspire young minds and ignite potential by sharing your subject knowledge and passion with your students.

Teaching a class full of students can be a significant and at times overwhelming adjustment – but also a rewarding and life-changing experience, as you build connections with your students, colleagues and wider community.

The biggest thing to focus on in the first few weeks is to build relationships. As the legendary American teacher Rita Pierson once noted, ‘kids don’t learn from people they don’t like’. Having some routines to help establish a flow and rhythm to your classroom is vital, as well. And asking your students to contribute to some classroom values, about how they want the class to run, can make them feel empowered and respected.

The first few weeks are all about getting comfortable in your school, so ask lots of questions, tap into the knowledge of existing staff, and lean on your School Mentor, Teaching and Leadership Coach, and the other Associates or Alumni in your school, for pearls of wisdom.

Remember that lots about teaching will feel very mechanical at first. You may watch experienced teachers manage a classroom and the hundreds of things that happen in that space every hour, and wonder how they do it! But it will happen for you, with time, practice, and reflecting on how you’re going.

“For your first week, try and plan or find lessons that allow you to develop relationships with students and get to know them (and allow them to get to know you) – don’t try anything too complex or stressful in this time!” – Caitlin Conway, 2014 Cohort

“Regardless of how your first lesson or first week is, you are making an impact and you will continue to grow and develop and get better with each day.” – Sana Jamali, 2019 Cohort

“My favourite part of teaching is the students. The students are the ones who make your day. It’s such a fun journey with teaching … every day is a different journey, a different adventure.” – Natasha Woodcock, 2021 Cohort

The next 3-6 months

In our next edition in this series, we’ll move onto your first three to six months in the program – and how to balance the demands of teaching and studying.

Next: Part 4

Back: Part 2

About the program

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