The Trouble With Not Knowing

As much as I’m really excited about the prospect of the Teach for Australia program next year, and more specifically just getting into a classroom and teaching; there’s something really frustrating about this extended period of not knowing where that’s going to be. That’s no criticism of the program, but it’s just a strange position to be in. The planner in me wants to be able to start working out what it all looks like: sort out housing, work out which church community we might join, decide whether or not we can continue to be a one-car couple. Things like that. But instead, I’m left just wondering.

Teach for Australia in the media

Teach for Australia has been getting quite a bit of media attention recently, and while lots of it reads like a TFA press release, with a token comment from the education union for balance; there has been a couple of things worth highlighting.

I found the Canberra Times article a little amusing. Not only is the sub-editor missing any sense of headline brevity, but they still have the small-town mindset that requires that any Canberra-based influence on a story to be the primary focus:

“Can you learn to be a teacher in just six weeks? Australian National University students Emlyn Cruickshank and Lia van den Bosch think so. But they also readily agree it will be a huge challenge. They are the first two Canberrans to be accepted into the Rudd Government’s Teach for Australia program.” – Program puts pressure on to learn to be teachers in just six weeks – The Canberra Times

But from a more intellectually stimulating point of view, the debate held on Radio National’s “Life Matters” program was very interesting indeed. The discussion puts Professor David Berliner, an academic who has just published a significant study on the sister “Teach for America” program in the states, against Professor Field Rickards, Dean of Melbourne University’s Graduate School of Education. The University of Melbourne will be training Teach for Australia associates. In the debate Berliner outlined some big areas of concern for the Teach for America program, particularly in the area of teacher support once in the classroom, while Rickards talked about the changes Teach for Australia had undergone in order to address some of those issues. It’s an interesting discussion, and a pertinent reminder that this whole program really is a bit of an experiment. Guinea piggery here we come.