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Top professionals find meaning in teaching

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Engineers, scientists and lawyers comprised 70% of all applicants for the 2019 Teach For Australia (TFA) cohort (more than 1000 applications were received) indicating that teaching offers the professional satisfaction that other careers don’t.

In 2017, the Teach For Australia (TFA) program saw 57% of successful applicants come from another career. In 2018, 62% of successful applicants were career changers.

The Teach For Australia program partners with Australian Catholic University to offer a two-year teaching placement, delivering a Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Professional Practice) upon successful completion. 

Former Sydney resident and research scientist Dr Jane Franklin applied to TFA and was selected to work as a science and maths teacher at Katherine High School in Katherine, Northern Territory.   

Katherine has a population of around 10,000 and the public high school is mainly Indigenous students (61%). Approximately one-third of Franklin’s students do not speak English as their preferred language.

Franklin, a mother of two adult children, said she left the buzz of big city life after being impressed by a television documentary about the TFA program.

“I applied to TFA for an amazing experience and I certainly got one,” Franklin said. “I’ve never worked so hard, but this is the adventure I really needed.”

After successfully completing her first-year teaching, she is already halfway to completing her Masters.

“I try to meet all the students’ needs in my class,” Franklin said. “Katherine is a small town but it’s a big and beautiful experience.”

Melodie Potts Rosevear, CEO and Founder of Teach For Australia, said, “The world of work is changing dramatically. Studies show that graduates today will hold 17 different jobs across five industries, meaning soon most people will be ‘career changers’ at various points of their professional journey.

“Teachers with practical experience in their fields bring a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to the children they teach.”

Australian Catholic University Faculty of Education and Arts Acting Executive Dean Professor Elizabeth Labone said she welcomed ‘career changers’ choosing to join the teaching profession.

“These career changers bring subject expertise and immense life experience to classrooms in regional and remote Australia,” Labone said.

“The growing trend of successful professionals electing to study teaching shows ACU’s partnership with TFA is working well and that teaching itself is both desirable and incredibly rewarding.”

In 2018, the successful TFA cohort comprised 62% career changers with:

  • Academia (11%), Business (10%), Engineering or Mining (9%), Not-For-Profit or Community (9%) and Policy and Government (9%).
  • 49% teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects;
  • 48% having advanced university degrees;
  • 43% teaching in regional schools, and 9% remote;
  • 22% fluent in a language other than English.

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