This blog post is part of a series related to the SBS documentary Testing Teachers. To find out more about Testing Teachers click here.
I was born in August of 1991. Plenty was happening in the world then, much as it is now. Countries were in the throes of political crises, new technological innovations were challenging the old ways of doing things and The Simpsons were on our TV screens. Unlike now, however, in 1991 Australia was emerging from the depths of a bitter recession, dubbed by our then Prime Minister Paul Keating as one the nation ‘had to have’.
In the prevailing 26 years or so, Australia has been the economic envy of most of the developed world for our unimpeded economic growth and ability to weather events such as the Global Financial Crisis. Despite this being a source of pride for our country, and at that top of any talking points from our treasurers (starting with likes of Paul Keating and Peter Costello and continuing today with Scott Morrison), it is readily apparent that not all Australians have prospered equally. While there are many ways we can measure inequality in our society, one of the most evident means is to see the disparity, in educational opportunities for Australia’s children.
As my time as a Teach For Australia Associate concluded at the end of 2015, the Portland Observer and Guardian invited my fellow Associate, Tom Cain, and I to reflect on our two years as teachers at Portland Secondary College.
It was a great experience to again run the Year 7 Mock Election at Portland Secondary College. After the success of the initiative in 2014, the school collaborated to run the program again with a more rigorous approach to teaching the students about civics and citizenship.
Following on the from the success of welcoming former Premier Denis Napthine MP to Portland Secondary College in 2014, Dan Tehan MP for Wannon was invited to participate in a forum with the Senior Student Leadership Team and members of the Student Representative Council at PSC in August of 2015.
The Portland Observer and Guardian noted the substance of the students questions and praised their interest in connecting with their political leaders.
It was a great privilege, last week, to welcome a former lecturer of mine from my days as a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) student, Neville Norman, to my Year 12 Economics class at Portland Secondary College.
Thanks to the Portland Observer and Guardian for recapping Neville’s visit. In the article are some excellent reflections by students Jake Edwards and Annique Ray on how Neville’s workshop helped develop their understanding of the 2015 Federal Budget and the role it will play in the VCE Exam.
In moving to southwest Victoria to complete the Teach For Australia program at Portland Secondary College, I’ve been blessed to immerse myself in country life and challenge myself to grow in an unfamiliar context, after a twenty-two year urban upbringing.
I was given the opportunity to share these sentiments on ABC Statewide Drive on Monday 18 May in conversation with Nicole Chvastek. My reflections on relocating to Portland were part of a conversation about the increasingly mobile populations in regional and rural Australia.