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Leadership Development Program

Productive move to teaching has Ben teaching passion subjects

Wednesday, May 17th, 2023

It was a chance conversation that led to Ben Richmond finding a unique opportunity to combine his love of sport and agriculture with his passion for teaching.

After a career playing professional football in the AFL, Ben returned to his Tasmanian roots and completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management.

While studying, Ben kept close to the sports industry and worked in Sports Administration where he delivered participation clinics at primary schools – an experience that made him realise he had a strong motivation to become a teacher.

Luckily, he crossed paths with one of his old principals at this time who suggested he apply for Teach For Australia’s Leadership Development Program.

He is now in his second year of the TFA program, teaching Food & Fibre Production and Sport & Recreation to years 7-10 at Sheffield School in Tasmania.

Unique opportunity

The school sits on a 160 acre farm and operates as a fully commercial dairy, which has allowed Ben to make good use of his studies and previous experience in Agriculture Business Management.

Teaching students about the agriculture industry – something he is so passionate about – isn’t a pathway that Ben would’ve considered as an option initially if it weren’t for Teach For Australia.

“If I hadn’t gone through Teach For Australia’s Leadership Development Program, I don’t think I’d be in the position I am right now, where I’m able to teach something every day that aligns with my interests and skills,” he said.

Passion for educational equity

Ben was drawn to Teach For Australia’s mission to create education equality across the country, and the need for providing extra education support in rural and regional areas and low socio-economic communities is something that resonated with Ben, who grew up on Tasmania’s North West Coast.

“I personally wasn’t a really great student growing up, I just had sport on my mind, so that’s given me the motivation to be a teacher that can help shape my student’s plans for the future and keep them on track if they need it,” he said.

“My bachelor degree in Agriculture Business Management is pretty unique and I’m glad I’m able to help provide students with exposure to the industry, which will hopefully help a lot of them consider the local employment pathways available after their schooling.”

Challenging yet rewarding

Ben’s assumptions that teaching would be a rewarding, yet challenging career was confirmed after spending the last year in the classroom. Studying while teaching is something that Ben has learnt to juggle thanks to the incredible support from both the Teach For Australia staff and his colleagues at Sheffield School, and he’s looking forward to a long career as a teacher.

“There are certainly some challenging moments but when you have a really good lesson, or a great conversation with a student at lunch or recess about their day or what they’ve learned, those moments become the highlights and are what keeps you coming back each day,” he said.

“I’m constantly reflecting about each day so that I can better assist my students. It’s only my second year teaching but it feels like you could never stop improving, which is what I love about it.”

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