Education conference for aspiring Indigenous teachers

Deakin University's inaugural education conference inspires the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers.

Deakin University's Institute of Koorie Education hosted the inaugural education conference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pre-service teachers on 8 May.

Supported by the Department, the conference was part of a pilot project focused on recruitment, development and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers to Victorian government schools.

Supporting teachers to achieve their best

Following a Welcome to Wathaurong Country, Department spokespeople outlined initiatives to support graduate teachers entering the school workforce.

Conference participants also heard from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers currently working in Victorian government schools.

Principal of Tyrrell College Mark Corrie spoke about his journey into teaching via an American university football scholarship and into a leadership position.

Mark touched on the importance of relationship building and argued that 'Indigenous pre-service teachers [had] an advantage, as relationship building and storytelling is already at the heart of their culture'.

Mark also led a workshop for third- and fourth-year students about how to apply for a teaching position, the support available for new graduate teachers and building authentic relationships.

Hearing directly from teachers in the profession

The conference also featured Nicki Hood from Bruthen Primary School and Jamie Humphrey from Langwarrin Primary School.

The two teachers spoke to the pre-service teachers about their respective pathways into teaching and the challenges and successes they encountered along the way.

Nicki and Jamie also ran workshops on introducing a local language into a primary school and supporting students and their families in a disadvantaged school.

Feedback from pre-service teachers was overwhelmingly positive.

'All workshops and presentations were all very inspiring,' observed one conference delegate.

'It was very beneficial ... and gave me a powerful reminder of why I am here.'

Supporting inclusion in education

For more information about the Professional Practice and Leadership Division's program to support the attraction, recruitment, development and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers to Victorian government schools, email: Austin.megan.a@edumail.vic.gov.au

This week marks Reconciliation Week, running from 27 May to 3 June, which commemorates two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. For more information about reconciliation in Australia, see: National Reconciliation Week