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Study teaching while making a real impact in SA classrooms

Three minutes
Thursday, June 30th, 2022
Rob Berlin

South Australians considering a career in teaching now have an opportunity to study while making a real impact in classrooms in regional and remote SA communities.

The Teach For Australia (TFA) Leadership Development Program is the country’s leading employment-study pathway into teaching – and the third and final round of applications for the 2023 intake of the program opened this week.

TFA State Manager Gia-Yen Luong said the program was already open to South Australians who were willing to relocate to other states, but last year TFA began placing participants in secondary schools in regional and remote areas of SA, as part of a pilot with South Australia’s Department for Education.

“Great teachers change lives, and TFA’s program is a fantastic opportunity for more South Australian career changers and graduates to make the switch to teaching,” she said.

The TFA Leadership Development Program rigorously recruits high-calibre career changers and graduates and places them into partner secondary schools to teach subject areas directly related to their previous studies, in communities where workforce needs are greatest.

About 50% of the past two years’ cohorts placed across Australia are qualified to teach STEM subjects, helping to fill vacancies where significant shortages persist.

Across the two year program, participants complete their Master’s degree and receive extensive coaching and mentoring to accelerate their professional development, while teaching at partner schools.

Rob Berlin, from Tarpeena, started teaching science and mathematics at Allendale East Area School near Mount Gambier as part of TFA’s 2022 Cohort this year. He previously worked as a fly-in fly-out mechanical engineer and, more recently, as a school chaplain and youth worker.

Rob said he had reached a point in his engineering career where he knew he wanted to do something different, something that positively impacted people’s lives – and he now gets to work together with students to help them grow and become the best versions of themselves.

He said while undertaking his Master’s degree while teaching has been a big step, the support from his school and TFA network has been invaluable.

“My school has provided fantastic support. The step up to a Master’s degree isn’t straight forward, however I doubt I could have achieved this on my own,” he said.

“The camaraderie is brilliant – we each use our own strengths to help each other, which is a great lead into how working in a school should be.”

Rob said his career experience in engineering had helped him in the classroom too.

“The students really enjoy the incorporation of real-life examples into their learning,” he said.

“Of course, they don’t hang on my every word every day, but it certainly cuts through the communication lines when you describe something in terms of being used in a workplace.”

Three TFA teachers were placed into two regional SA secondary schools in the inaugural year of the program in 2021. This year another 12 TFA teachers began in eight more partner schools.

The third and final round of applications for the 2023 intake of the Leadership Development Program opened this week.

“If you’re ready to make a real impact and create lasting change by helping to break the cycle of educational inequity, we’d love to hear from you – whether you’re keen to apply or just curious and want to know more,” Ms Luong said.

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