Teaching in Far North Queensland

Sheridan and colleague Rachel

Sheridan and colleague Rachel

By Sheridan Warne

Thanks to the AVCAT RSL Queensland scholarship I have immersed myself in a variety of amazing opportunities, including my most recent teaching practicum; it was twenty hours away from my home. It is my passion to live and teach in a rural community.

I completed my fourth practicum at Yarrabah State School, an Outer Regional school located in Far North Queensland. It ranges from prep to year 10, across a primary and high school campus. There are 458 students in total and the school has a 100% Indigenous enrolment. All students are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. Overall attendance of students is very low, an average of 62%, with an even lower average of 56% for Year Six students. Less than 17% of students attend more than 90% of the time.

I was placed in a year six classroom for the five-week practicum. I found building relationships with my students more difficult when compared to my previous placements, due to the complexity of the community.

I immersed myself into the community, doing a number of home visits to deliver Positive Postcards, participating in the local running club, attending a multitude of fitness classes at the local PCYC and attending local football matches.

In my initial weeks in Yarrabah, I actively participated in lunchtime activities, provided support to my students when completing tasks in the classroom and spoke to them about their interests as much as possible, allowing me to show them I had a genuine interest and investment in their lives. This allowed me to create lessons that engaged my students as they were designed around my students’ interests, which in turn allowed me to build strong and lasting relationships with my students.

Artwork at the Primary School
Artwork at the primary school

Reflecting on my experience I absolutely loved teaching in Yarrabah. I feel I had a positive impact on all of my students, academically and emotionally, by creating a supportive and engaging classroom. It also made my overall experience that much more rewarding.

I loved teaching there so much that I will be returning to Yarrabah State School in Term Two, to complete my Internship. I am over the moon to have received and accepted an offer for a permanent position at Yarrabah State School upon the successful completion of my degree in July 2019. All of this was made possible due to the financial support of the AVCAT RSL Queensland Scholarship, it has helped me follow my dream of teaching in a rural community.

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