The Illawarra Grammar School (TIGS) teachers Jodie-lee Leitch (pictured right) and Megan Arnet belong to a unique group of early childhood teachers in NSW to achieve Experienced Teacher (Band 3) accreditation under the Independent Schools Teacher Accreditation Authority (ISTAA) system.
Jodie-lee has been at TIGS nine years and is currently teaching the pre-prep class. Megan teaches a prep class and has been at the school 11 years.
She said the accreditation process was made less arduous having “Megan alongside me”.
“We probably didn’t realise how much it entailed and how huge it was when we began,” Jodie-lee said.
“At the end we felt that we’d achieved something special though. The school supported us all the way through too.”
Megan said she wasn’t that keen to undertake the extra work until Jodie-lee and IEU Professional Officer Liz Finlay talked her into it.
“I was happy to continue doing what I was doing in the classroom and staying where I was,” Megan said.
“But with Jodie-lee and Liz supporting me and saying ‘we can do this’ it helped me along.”
Liz Finlay is able to provide one on one support for IEU members wishing to undertake Band 3 accreditation.
Jodie-lee and Megan said her support was invaluable.
Jodie-lee said: “Liz was amazing. I don’t think we could have done it without her support.
“She guided us the whole way and broke it down into small steps so we could understand it. She gave us small tasks to do between our regular meetings with her.
“She reviewed what we’d done and gave us tips on things to add that the accreditors would be looking for.”
Megan also said that without Liz and the Union’s help she would have struggled with the process.
“She put me on the path and I could see the end goal and keep working towards it. I think you need a lot of planning and guidance to get through it.”
Both women said they would recommend any independent school teachers to join the Union and use its services.
“Liz’s knowledge of what the accreditors are looking for is invaluable. Every school programs differently and every teacher is different. She helped us formulate the work properly,” Megan said.
“Our position as early childhood teachers was particularly challenging because we use the Early Years Learning Framework rather than BOSTES guidelines, so we had to make that fit the guidelines.
“We’ve a great sense of achievement thanks to the help we got from the Union.”