Western Australia-based Cat Trigance (Cohort 2016) recently represented Teach for Australia at the Asia-Pacific Regional Alumni Gathering in Malaysia. Cat explored educational contexts in the Asia Pacific region, expanded her network, and collaborated with Teach For All Global Network partners from twelve countries.
The second Asia Pacific Regional Alumni Gathering was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 30 August to 1 September. The conference saw more than 100 people from around the Asia-Pacific come together to connect, collaborate, develop their leadership skills and explore educational contexts across the region. Alumni from twelve countries, as well as Heads of Alumni from six Teach For All Global Network partner organisations, attended.
“It was an incredible experience,” Cat said. “My preconceptions of what’s possible within the education context were just blown out of the water.”
“Earlier this year I participated in the Limited Resource Teacher Training (LRTT) program in Uganda. During that time, I experienced first-hand that education faces many of the same challenges – no matter where we are in the world. This conference was a further reminder of many of the challenges we as global educators face on a daily basis.”
Though some attendees were still teaching in the classroom, many had started their own projects in the education sectors, while others had moved into government and policy positions.
“It was really great to have that mix of people because, at the end of the day, we were all there for the same reason. It was really great to see the many ways people are continuing to have an impact on education, even outside the classroom,” Cat said.
The three-day event saw Cat arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Friday morning, just in time for the conference’s midday start.
“I arrived on the Friday morning and hit the ground running. We started out by meeting each other, and enjoying a lot of getting-to-know-you activities,” Cat said.
“We were placed into learning circles for the conference, and that group of nine was the small group of people we stayed with throughout the whole conference. We did work with other people but they were the main ones we’d bounce ideas off. It was really nice to have a small group of people to focus on building relationships with.”
On Saturday, Cat gave a four-minute presentation on the Australian educational context, and followed that up with more collaborative work and discussions about other contexts. On Sunday, attendees focused on the work of Teach For Malaysia, exploring their education system and examining what they have been doing over recent years to challenge educational inequality in Malaysia.
“We participated in a gallery walk, which allowed us to see some details of the projects that were happening in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. One that really stood out was a project from an Alum who started educating homeless students while she was teaching in the Philippines. Another project we looked at was the Global School Leaders’ India School Leadership Institute, an organisation focused on training school principals to be effective leaders,” she said.
Cat herself has started work on a small project of her own, focused on connecting schools in the network to each other to help students and teachers learn more about education around the region.
“Thanks to the conference I feel a lot more committed to helping tackle educational inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. We all focus on our own contexts, but thinking more broadly about how we can share and collaborate with others around the region will help build a stronger network of Alum and knowledge that will benefit students and teachers,” Cat said.
Cat said that the opportunity to engage with the wider Teach For Global Network has empowered her in her work at home.
“The knowledge I take home from this conference will add to the many experiences I’ve had from my time as a Teach for Australia Associate and Alum, as well as my recent experience with LRTT. Learning more about education worldwide has given me a broader outlook when reflecting on my own practice as a classroom teacher,” Cat said.
“Representing Australia at this event was an amazing experience and I’m proud to have been selected to do so. Events like these are an incredible opportunity that people should be willing to learn more about.”
The Teach For All Global Network has a number of upcoming opportunities for Teach For Australia Associates and Alumni, many of which are available online.
Edited by Matthew Todd
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