Welcome to Australia

Being placed in a school that is unfamiliar helps me develop new ideas of teaching. A new curriculum, a new staff experience and a new student experience is important as I learn and grow from new ideas.

In February the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch welcomed 18 Canadian teachers to Australia on exchange. The IEU administers the exchange program for teachers in non government schools. This was the first time the welcome reception has been held in Parramatta as the Education Department Bridge Street building has now been sold.

While the visiting exchange teachers enjoyed networking with other exchange teachers placed in government schools, overseas spouses and children were given a ‘cultural’ exchange experience themselves, ie a historical walking tour of Parramatta.

IEU Officer Dave Towson and Exchange Coordinator Helen Gregory briefed those teachers who are teaching in non government schools and spoke of the differences between the government and the non government sector as many exchange teachers teaching in Catholic schools in NSW/ACT are from public schools back home in Canada. They are placed in these exchange schools as that is where the match is.

Adrian Bowers of Toronto will be teaching PE at Marist College in Canberra.

Adrian had been to Australia before on holiday and fell in love with the place and was keen to return on the exchange program.

“I love learning from new teaching experiences, and I wanted to give my three children a taste of world travel to show them how much you can get out of new adventures,” Adrian said.

“I’ve already gained good insight into Australian PE practices (ie assessment, teaching different sports) and I’m a big fan of our pastoral care set up at Marist.

“It’s given me a chance to learn new mentoring techniques and to put into practice techniques I’ve learned along the way.”

Unique playground

Andrew Foxcroft is from Ontario and teaching Year 4 at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Charlestown (Newcastle).

“It is a wonderful school with a unique playground and wonderful staff,” Andrew said.

He and his wife are hoping to provide a rich experience for their two daughters, and to challenge themselves to try something new.

“I hope to gain experience in a different educational system, and to learn about how other school systems support and develop students’ abilities. I hope to take back many new insights into learning and teaching.

“I am really outside of my comfort zone. I am pushing myself to be more adventurous and have experiences that will contribute to becoming more aware of everything around me.”

Kathy Bellcourt of Ontario is teaching at Marist College, Canberra.

“I teach Years 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 English. I also am a house teacher and have just been placed in extra-curricular as helping tutor students after school,” Kathy said.

This is her second teacher exchange. In 2006 she was at Scots School, Albury.

“2006 was the best year of my life. I fell in love with Australia and the people. My husband and I wanted to get back to Australia for many other reasons as well. The experience then, as now in 2019, gives me the opportunity to learn from another culture and grow from this experience.

“Being placed in a school that is unfamiliar helps me develop new ideas of teaching. A new curriculum, a new staff experience and a new student experience is important as I learn and grow from new ideas.”

Expanded resources

Paul Turnbull of Ontario is teaching Year 8, 9, and 10 science, along with Year 12 biology at James Sheahan Catholic High School in Orange.

He met his wife in 2003 at teachers’ college in Christchurch then taught for two years in Auckland.

“We often reminisce about our three years in the South Pacific and wanted to get back to this part of the world.

“At the end of my year down under I hope to have expanded my electronic resources for teaching science and biology.

“I am already fascinated with the amount of pracs/experiments done with high school students, along with the inquiry/scientific method used during the pracs.

“The curriculum is broader here among junior science classes, and my instructional knowledge can only get stronger with this.

“I am always reflecting on the best way to assess and evaluate my students. In just over a month I have added some clever websites to help with this, along with numerous tasks from the amazing science staff at James Sheahan.”

Ontarian Anthony Evans is on exchange at St Francis Xavier Primary School, Ballina, teaching Year 6.

“We wanted to remove our kids from their ‘bubble’ at home and show them what it’s like in other places.

“I’m welcoming the opportunity to teach with, and learn from others. I hope that I can share some valuable teaching practices and ideas with my peers here and take some new ones back home with me as well.”

Apply now

It is not too late to apply for an exchange for 2020 - keep an eye out on the school notice board or on the Union’s website. Here are just two ‘not so common’ exchange positions available:

Food Studies/Fashions – Calgary Alberta – Jodie teaches at St Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Calgary, home of the Famous Stampede. She is single, Catholic and has a two bedroom home available for exchange.

Dance – Vancouver BC – Lucie teaches Dance at Fleetwood Park Secondary School in Surrey, just south of Vancouver. She is qualified to teach PE and is also a French teacher with a Masters in French Literature. The incoming teacher would be teaching Dance. The school has its own dance studio with a full time dance program. Lucie is Catholic, married, and has a four bedroom home in White Rock available for exchange. White Rock is a beautiful neighbourhood by the Pacific Ocean.

For more information on these exchanges, call Helen on 8202 8900 or 1800 467 943 or email helen@ieu.asn.au