Stories of Impactful Educators in Australia

May 2024 by Tradewind Australia

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Welcome to our Inspiring Stories Series, where we cast the spotlight on the amazing people Tradewind is privileged to work with on a regular basis!

We are pleased to kick off our series with inspiring teacher stories. Here, we chat with four people from very different backgrounds who are contributing their skills and hard work to the cause of education. Read on to discover what’s inspired them as teachers, what drives them to excel and their advice on building an education career.

What Drew You to a Career in Education? 

  • Keith, Casual Relief Teacher: “My desire was to prepare the next generation of adults for meaningful careers and personal lives.”

  • Karen, Casual Relief Teacher: “After completing my Arts degree, I pursued a Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), which allowed me to use my skills in dance and drama. Since gaining my qualification, I taught in various school systems before transitioning to a community school environment. Students benefit here from a smaller setting and can build resilience and self-confidence.”

  • Jack, Tradewind Recruitment Consultant: “After a difficult experience in the schooling system, I wanted to make a difference for students who aren't reaching all those desired targets, by focusing instead on all the strengths they do possess. Now, as an educational recruiter, I want to provide teachers with the right school for them to be able to support those students once more, so that they feel valued and seen in the education setting.”

  • Susan, Casual Relief Teacher: “I was teaching my brothers and sisters under the weeping cherry tree at the farm in New Zealand from an early age, the poor things. There was no TV – just one set of Arthur Mees encyclopaedias to lie under that same tree with and read during long summers in those days!”

What Has Been Your Most Significant Career Achievement So Far?

  • Jack, Tradewind Recruitment Consultant: “As an educator, it was building positive working relationships with students and seeing particular kids go from having low attendance to coming to school every day happy to be a part of the classroom environment I had set up. As a recruiter, it’s again been building positive working relationships, but with the teachers, and helping them to feel confident and happy going out into schools.”

  • Susan, Casual Relief Teacher: “Too many to count! Making the transition from Primary to Secondary teaching in a best Practice School, based on merit, was a proud moment. In Canada, teaching Grade 8 (Canadian History and Geography included) in the Rocky Mountains for a year and climbing Mount Stephen with my Grade 8's to do a science lesson at the fossil beds was a definite highlight! Working in Juvenile Justice gave me new insights into forming positive relationships with disengaged youth.”

  • Karen, Casual Relief Teacher: “My part in developing a VCE dance course in a community school setting. I specialised in a Dance and Movement Graduate Diploma and was able to fuse my studies into the building of this course and the future development of an arts and dance evening.”

  • Keith, Casual Relief Teacher: Helping develop trades training centres in secondary schools has been a definite highlight!

What Do You Find Most Rewarding About Your Role?

  • Susan, Casual Relief Teacher: “Working with kids is fun! Good teachers make a difference. I love seeing kids succeed and their self-esteem soar. Watching their a-ha moments is truly rewarding. We are enabling lifelong learners to find their place in the world.”

  • Jack, Tradewind Recruitment Consultant: “As a recruiter, it’s most rewarding to hear from teachers about a great day they’ve had at a school that we placed them in. When you’ve had a positive influence on a teacher’s days at work, you just know you’ve had a positive influence on a student’s day, too!”

  • Karen, Casual Relief Teacher: “Currently, I work as a CRT, which grants me the freedom to teach in various school settings. Thanks to Tradewind, I've had opportunities to teach both primary and secondary school levels, allowing me to engage with the arts across all age groups.”

  • Keith, Casual Relief Teacher: “Working with diverse and different groups of students and teachers is immensely important and rewarding!”

What Advice Would You Offer Someone Looking to Enter Education or Just Starting Their Career?

  • Karen, Casual Relief Teacher: “A teaching degree offers plenty of flexibility and opportunities for specialisation in areas related to your previous studies. As a teacher, you play a highly unique role in guiding young minds into the world, which can be both rewarding and challenging. It is certainly a continuous journey of learning, for both the teacher and students.”

  • Keith, Casual Relief Teacher: “Be a good listener and observer of your students and be prepared to be flexible in achieving positive outcomes for all your students.”

  • Susan, Casual Relief Teacher: “First of all, do it for the right reasons. No day is ever the same. Because. Children! You have to want to be present, engaged and positive, and form relationships with children in your care. Always have the end goal in sight – the welfare and education of your students, not the endless paperwork teachers are currently faced with.” “Give children the opportunity to be creative and play, as play is work for them. So much research points to the fact that clock watching should not be the norm. Children should have the chance to complete tasks and get constant feedback. If a random teaching moment occurs, use it, and go off on a tangent. That may well be what they remember from that day as being exciting. If students are not engaged, always try something else.” “Did I mention patience and good listening skills? Children will test and challenge you. Celebrate the wins however small. “Teach and reteach and then teach a concept again. Break down the skills needed to succeed. Never spend longer preparing a task than the class will spend completing it. Ask others for ideas. There is no point in reinventing the wheel.”“Finally, find a good life balance outside of school. Kia kaha and good luck! ”

  • Jack, Tradewind Recruitment Consultant: “There is always tomorrow. Teaching is one of those jobs that has an endless list of jobs to do. Prioritise the most important tasks, set a timeframe, complete your work to a high standard, and leave the rest for tomorrow. Being burnt out doesn't support a thriving and happy classroom. “And, don't lose yourself! Bring your own experiences and knowledge into the classroom. No one loves you more than when you're being yourself, and it’s no different with children.”

How has your experience with Tradewind contributed to your career? 

  • Karen, Casual Relief Teacher: “I've been with Tradewind for a few years now and they’ve helped me seamlessly transition back into teaching after gaining valuable industry experience. Their process was clear and efficient, and their user-friendly app was especially helpful. I am deeply committed to working for Tradewind, as I know I’ll always have access to support and guidance from staff who understand the challenges of teaching. They give you regular phone check-ins, giving you time to address any needs or concerns. Tradewind staff have teaching experience and can relate to your daily encounters. Support and guidance are always accessible to help you build the right teaching experiences with the schools of your choice.”

  • Jack, Tradewind Recruitment Consultant: “After a seven-year teaching career, I decided to take a step back from the classroom and pursue a career in recruitment. I feel very lucky to have found Tradewind, as working here allows me to put my education background to good use and support teachers in finding work that aligns with their needs, wants, and goals.”

  • Keith, Casual Relief Teacher: “Tradewind has assisted me in becoming more flexible in my pedagogical and personal approach to students and their needs.”

  • Susan, Casual Relief Teacher: “I have worked with Tradewind on and off since 2010. I am even more patient and flexible, if possible, as a result. I have been in the fortunate position of being able to travel extensively in my semi-retirement years in between working for the next fare and I am thankful my skills are valued and recognised. I have valued Tradewind’s support and feedback over the years and the laughs. A sense of humour is an essential survival skill! Thanks to you all.”

Need Education Recruitment Expertise and Support?

Hopefully, these inspiring teacher stories have ignited a spark within you to explore the fulfilling world of education – or motivated you to continue making a positive impact in your own teaching journey!

For more inspiration and guidance for your education career or hiring your next teacher, contact the team at Tradewind Recruitment today. With our deep understanding of the education sector and what teachers need to succeed, we're equipped to guide you towards your professional or hiring goals. Don't hesitate to reach out and chat to our team – we’d love to hear from you!

*Responses have been edited for clarity