Serena Burnett, 18 April, 2022
After graduating in 2013, I spent a few years teaching in Brisbane before my nomad spirit took me to Da Nang in Vietnam.
I was looking for a teaching experience where I could make a difference, learn about a new culture and immerse myself in a community.
I gained this experience in Vietnam, but when I came home I realised these kinds of extraordinary opportunities to make a difference can be found in Queensland.
I was offered a role teaching in a remote Indigenous school on Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
My principal at Mornington Island said that teaching remote will make you a better teacher and he was 100% right.
You form really deep student and family relationships, and that gives you a deeper understanding of how to manage your classroom and their learning more effectively.
I would go camping with my students and they would show me their favourite bush tucker and share traditional science knowledge.
I was then able to incorporate this into my classes in a really meaningful way and that’s something I’ll have for the rest of my teaching career.
At Mornington Island, I had the opportunity to share my passion for the environment and conservation.
I set up a Care for Country clean-up crew with my students to collect rubbish and conduct marine debris surveys with Indigenous rangers.
We collected almost 100 bags of rubbish that would have ended up in the ocean, and although I’m not teaching at the school this year, the beauty of education is that I know my students are continuing without me.
I’m now a Teach Queensland Ambassador for the Queensland Department of Education, and am able to share my passion for remote teaching with new graduates.
I think as teachers, at the core of what we do is the desire to be able to provide quality education for every student, regardless of where they live.
My advice to beginning teachers is to think about the problem you want to solve and find a teaching role that will help you do that.