Canberra Conversations

In September, a group of six Alumni and Associates joined Teach For Australia CEO Melodie Potts Rosevear and other staff on a trip to Canberra to share their stories with Australia’s political leaders.

Associates Anish Badgeri and Lilli Morgan travelled from WA, while Alumni Holly Stewart, Peta Johnstone, Jack Collins and Tim Warwick journeyed from Tasmania and Victoria. Each attendee brought to the discussions their educational journeys, passion for educational equity and their hopes and aspirations for Australian students.

ANISH BADGERI: “My Teach For Australia journey really started when my parents migrated to Australia when I was 10. They moved for education – for my brother and I to have the best possible education – and that’s something that’s been incredibly important to me as a value. I think it’s something incredibly important for all students to have.”

Anish Badgeri and Lilli Morgan in Canberra.

HOLLY STEWART: “I joined Teach For Australia after my law degree because it aligned with my sense of social justice and all of my values including educational equity. In Tasmania, I have been working at setting up some engagement programs for some of our already disengaged, or at risk of being disengaged, students across Kindergarten to Grade 12 and it’s been a fantastic and rewarding experience. I just got a text about some kids who are currently building a pizza oven – these are kids who have done very little all year in their classes and are spending their day being super productive using lots of literacy and numeracy skills in a hands-on environment.”

PETA JOHNSTONE: “I’m part of the third cohort, meaning I have now been part of schools and in the classroom and working in leadership for the last eight years. I developed a great sense of joy out of being in the classroom with the kids and developing learning centred around science and love of science. I’ve been at Mill Park Secondary College for four years in a couple of different leadership roles. Over that time, I have developed some skills around coaching other teachers and working with them to develop their practice, to be able to reflect on their impact in the classroom, and build their own confidence in the way they are doing things and helping students learn.”

The TFA delegation that visited Canberra.

JACK COLLINS: “Getting this opportunity to come to Canberra was pretty daunting to start with but I’m absolutely thrilled I said yes and have had the experience. The best thing about it was reconnecting with the program and hearing from a number of other incredible Alumni about what they were able to achieve, which has reinvigorated me to go back to my own school and keep working hard towards the common goal of trying to end educational disadvantage.”

LILLI MORGAN: “I definitely have found the relationships I’ve built with the kids so incredibly meaningful, especially having the space with the Year 11 and 12s to look at their transition into life after school and what that’s like for them. That’s probably been one of my favourite parts of teaching. What I’ve seen in the last couple of years of living in Karratha and teaching there is the huge impact that individual teachers make on their students. ”

TIM WARWICK: “I’m part of cohort four which sent me to Shepparton, Victoria, where I’ve been for the past awesome seven years. I was very lucky to become Assistant Principal at Gowrie Street Primary School, also in Shepparton – the world’s best school with the most amazing kids. For the last year I’ve been extremely fortunate to be Principal of that school, introducing a whole range of different programs and initiatives to work alongside our wonderful kids and community.

Tim Warwick in deep discussion at Parliament House in Canberra.

I would really encourage other Associates and Alum to get involved with this type of [Teach For Australia community engagement] work. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect yourself to the mission of Teach For Australia, to what got us in to teaching in the first place, to what we’re all working towards, and it’s an amazing opportunity to share stories of our not just our work, but more importantly, those of the amazing students that we work with.”

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