Hey gal, this is me…. Hi! I’m Grace, I’m 20 and I moved to Sydney just over two years ago to study a Bachelor of Economics (Economics and Politics) at UNSW.
If I were to describe myself in three words… Motivated, Creative, Determined.
I always blow my pay-check on… Travel. One of my guilty pleasures has to be researching hotels and so a great one can end up determining my next holiday. Travel souvenirs are another thing I often spend my pay-check on; I once made my brother wheel our suitcases through a medina in Morocco for a purse that I knew I couldn’t get anywhere else.
I’m Currently… In the final year of my undergraduate degree. In addition to full-time study I also work for a not-for-profit called Teach for Australia. Teach for Australia is an organisation that tackles educational disadvantage in Australia by training high-achieving university graduates and career changes to be inspirational and motivated teachers. I’m working as a brand ambassador at the moment, speaking to students about the option to work in the education sector and contribute to a movement that works towards a quality education for all Australian children.
I got into it because… I felt connected to the mission. I have had a very privileged education but moved schools almost every 2 years. I spent a lot of time adjusting to new classrooms and classmates but quality teaching remained constant. We often take the presence of a specialised teacher in our classrooms for granted, or a teacher in any capacity. I believe that all schools should be given the resources to employ qualified teachers and all children should be afforded the right to be taught by one.
What I love about it… I love talking about Teach for Australia’s mission and hearing how different people relate to it. It is incredibly impactful to hear others speak about their unique and very personal experiences with the education system. Often, we ask university students if they had a favourite teacher during high school and it is always a reminder of the importance of their role in society.
What I don’t love about it… The reason that Teach for Australia exists. Reform in the education sector is quite a difficult process and it can be disheartening to hear about the challenging circumstances that some Australian children and the schools they’re enrolled in face. Ultimately, this is a source of motivation but that makes it no less difficult.
What I’ve learned from the experience… I’ve learned that working and contributing positively to society are not mutually exclusive. There are numerous opportunities, from a high-school level to full-time work, that offer you the opportunity to be an ally or an advocate on a social issue you are passionate about.
My advice to anyone pursuing this pathway is… The Teach for Australia pathway is just one option for life after university. Teaching is the most influential lever for improving student outcomes. However, Teach for Australia is not the only organisation that uses this lever and that is part of our success! There are so many opportunities for you to work towards a more equitable Australia and in infinite capacities.
I’m passionate about… What feels like far too many things to give adequate attention to in this space. However, I dedicate a lot of my time and energy to workplace gender equality through interventions at university and high school as well as system-level educational equality in Australia.
Most people don’t know this about me, but … I spent two years of my life in Papua New Guinea and three in Mozambique as part of my father’s job. It has had a huge impact on my life trajectory, my priorities and my interests. I also love languages and linguistics and am currently learning Arabic!
P.s In 5 years time I’ll be… Wherever I am I’m sure that I will continue to be an advocate for quality education and prioritise my own personal learning throughout my career.