Over two years Associates in our award-winning Leadership Development Program teach subject areas directly related to their previous studies – and become part of a dedicated community committed to tackling educational inequity.
We spoke to Gemma (Cohort 2020) about relocating from Victoria to Hobart for our Leadership Development Program and her experience contributing to building TFA’s vision of an Australia where education gives every child, regardless of background, greater choice for their future.
What drew you to the TFA mission?
The emphasis on social justice is what drew me to the TFA mission. I strongly believe in the power of quality education, and that it should be accessible to all. I was excited by the idea of having a job where I can engage with young minds every day and make an impact.
You began the LDP last year. What was it like starting your placement at the same time as a global pandemic?
Beginning my placement during a global pandemic was bizarre. I was only just getting the hang of classroom teaching and establishing relationships with my students when we went online. It was difficult to stay motivated at times because I wasn’t feeling the same sense of reward and enjoyment as I did during face-to-face teaching. However, I was lucky to be part of a team of both new and experienced teachers who banded together and supported each other. I also learnt new skills that I otherwise would not have, which has positively impacted my teaching today.
What was the most surprising thing about relocating for the Leadership Development Program?
I was most surprised by the immediate sense of community amongst the Associates in my region, including those from previous cohorts. Nearly everyone in my placement state had relocated from interstate, and there was a willingness to help each other wherever possible, whether it was moving bulky furniture or chatting about the best and worst things that happened at school that week. I think this was strengthened by the fact that most of us were unable to see our loved ones for almost the entire year due to state and territory border closures. We really supported each other through this.
Tell us the biggest lesson you’ve learnt about becoming a leader in the classroom?
I learnt that relationships are the most important part of becoming a leader in the classroom. To be an effective leader, you need to know the students and their needs, to know how best to lead them. Give them a voice, show your understanding, and make space for fun and laughter in the classroom. This comes before the curriculum for me.
What advice do you have for future Associates relocating for the Leadership Development Program?
Try to immerse yourself in the community. Acknowledge and respect the cultural differences that may be present there, and allow yourself to learn from the students. Reach out to other Associates. Take care of yourself; sometimes it will be better for yourself (and your students) for you to spend time visiting your loved ones instead of planning the “perfect” lessons.
Teach For Australia Admissions works on a rolling basis, and we have clear application deadlines. The application saves your progress automatically to work on it over time, but please note that some subject areas close early.
If you’re yet to chat to a member of our recruitment team about applying for the program, express your interest here or reach out to email@example.com.