Atwell College reaping benefits of Teach for Australia program

John Inverarity, Noel Woodley (Principal), Tilly Lambin, Fremantle MP Josh Wilson, Daniel Bruce.
John Inverarity, Noel Woodley (Principal), Tilly Lambin, Fremantle MP Josh Wilson, Daniel Bruce.

ONE studied law and another was working on a project at university but today both Dan Bruce and Tilly Lambin are important teaching cogs at Atwell College.

The pair arrived at the busy school via the Teach for Australia (TFA) program, which aims to attract high-quality candidates to the teaching profession.

Mr Bruce, a second-year associate, studied law at UWA and was a Social Justice Convenor at UWA Law Society.

He became interested in TFA as a path to developing education policy.

Graduate associate Tilly Lambin discovered the program during a research project at university.

Ms Tilly is now a fully accredited teacher.

Atwell College is one of 52 schools eligible for the program and currently has six TFA associates and graduates on its staff.

Principal Noel Woodley said it had provided a massive boost to the school.

“Often the associates have worked in other industries and professions and understand the work ethic required to establish oneself in a new profession,” he said.

“TFA associates are hungry to gain the curriculum knowledge required to teach complicated courses effectively.

“The TFA associates also have the cognitive ability to teach university entrance courses to a depth that advantages students.

“This is a bit harder to explain but very good ATAR teachers are able to see what can’t be seen in a curriculum.

“They have a complete understanding of the concepts involved in the curriculum and give confidence to students in the thoroughness of content knowledge known.”

The Education Department’s director of workforce policy and co-ordination Christine Porter said the TFA program attracted highly-skilled university graduates from a range of disciplines.

“They bring to schools their skills and knowledge in science, mathematics and engineering – areas where there is a great need for expert teachers – and work in secondary schools in low socio-economic areas where students can really benefit from their expertise,” she said.

WA Manager of the TFA John Inverarity, the Australian Cricket Team’s former national chairman of selectors, said the program was not for everyone.

“Teach for Australia is looking for excellent graduates with a passion for social justice and a high degree of emotional intelligence,” he said.

“Only about one in 10 TFA applicants make it through the selection process.”

Fremantle MP Josh Wilson encouraged graduates from a wide spectrum of university fields to dedicate their passion and expertise to a career in teaching with a focus on areas that face disadvantage was an exciting approach.

“It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the TFA associates and I applaud Atwell College for grasping this opportunity to support and develop an innovative program that will foster educational leaders of the future while addressing educational inequity,” he said.

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