Relocating halfway across the state and starting a new job can be a daunting affair, and it can be compounded further when you are starting a new career too. However new teachers Tom Cain and Chris Weinberg have settled into life in Portland and the Portland Secondary College with ease.
As part of the fifth cohort of Teach for Australia (TFA), they have relocated their lives for the next two years as part of a two-year program that helps place highly skilled workers into the education system.
The secondary college enters its third year of hosting TFA associates, having mentored Liam McNaughton and Adam Ross towards full teacher registration and their Masters degree.
They gain experience and study towards a Masters in Teaching through a combination of on-campus/off-campus study as well as face-to-face mentoring with experienced educators.
Both teachers, hailing from Melbourne, came into the program from uniquely different ways. Mr Cain completed an economics and arts degree at Monash University, before working for two years in the automotive industry, and a further 18 months in the energy industry.
While volunteering at a homework program for Sudanese youths, he was drawn to the program and decided he was ready for a career change.
Mr Weinberg studied commerce with a focus on economics at Melbourne University, and while completing his honours year was introduced to a TFA
representative through a mutual friend. “After one ‘coffee on campus’ session my mindset completely changed,” Mr. Weinberg added.
Both men were able to meet with the previous cohort of alumni residing at the secondary college, and were able to see first hand the skills and experiences that the graduates accumulate.
“It was good to come in at the tail end of their experience and see the completed package.” Six months into their program, with Mr Cain teaching History to Years 7, 9, 10 and 11, and Mr Weinberg teaching Economics to Year 11 and Mathematics to Years 7 and 11, both men have nothing but positive views about their experience so far.
“It has been a challenging and rewarding time,” said Mr Weinberg. Outside of the school, both have immersed themselves into Portland life, with Mr Cain playing for a local football team and Mr Weinberg slotting into the senior hockey team with ease.
“The natural beauty of the area has enhanced our experience,” said Mr Weinberg.
“The fact that after a long week you can go to Bridgewater and relax is amazing.”
A unique aspect of the course is the openness of options at the end of the two years, while many stay on and continue teachers, others move on and use their
new skill set in various industries.
“It’s good think that you don’t have to commit to anything long term, and that the options are open in the end,” said Mr. Cain. “Initially I wasn’t sure what I’d like to do at the end of the program, but six months in I’d like to think that this is something that I’d like to continue doing,” added Mr Weinberg.
New teachers immersed in life in Portland.
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