Federation awarded 14 student teachers with Future Teacher Scholarships this year, some with teaching in their blood from parents who have also been part of the proud tradition of public education.
Delegates at August Council applauded the winners, William Greatbatch, Judith Peen, Suzanne Peters, Rachel Lord, Jessie Luchetti, Georgia Patterson, Rebecca Lupton, Lauren Hayes, Mallory Tuckey, Lachlan Willis, Andrew Hau, Terry Huang, Luke Kains and Molly Coulter. Here are some of their stories.
Andrew Hau said that, coming from a financially disadvantaged migrant family, he drew freely from the strength and compassion of his public school teachers. They gave him a passion for learning and language. Andrew wants to teach in schools with a large migrant population and be a role model for students.
Public education provided William Greatbatch with many opportunities, both academically and on the sporting field, including representing Australia in the Touch Football World Cup. He wants to empower Indigenous students to be proud of themselves as strong and smart learners.
Effective unions are important to negotiate and support processes that enhance salaries, working conditions and professional development, says Judith Peen, who is in the second year of an MTeach course.
Final-year MTeach student Suzanne Peters is on the Committee of the Sydney University Students Alumni Association (SAA), set up to create a philanthropic network that empowers alumni to support students. Suzanne says that although students from disadvantaged backgrounds or disabilities are disproportionately represented in the public education system, the burden on public schools is not derived from students but from government policies that underfund the system.
Growing up in a low socio-economic household, Rachael Lord says public education, with her teachers supporting and motivating her, helped create generational change: she is the first in her family to complete a secondary education and go on to a tertiary education. Rachael is a member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby and as its Community Engagement Coordinator understands the importance of engaging all workers to join their union.
Jessie Luchetti strongly believes access for all students to a well-resourced public education system is fundamental to national wellbeing.
As the daughter of two public school teachers, Georgia Patterson values the opportunities she has encountered in public school.
Rebecca Lupton grew up in a family with strong public education ties. Her mother was president of the NSW P&C Association and editor of its newsletter. She became aware of unions when a maths teacher at her school was sacked after he refused to accept a forced transfer, and witnessed the solidarity of Federation members in supporting this teacher.
Lachlan Willis grew up in a family of public education teachers. His grandmother was a home economics teacher, his mother a visual arts teacher and his father a science teacher. Lachlan knew he would follow in their footsteps.
Molly Coulter acknowledges the help of her teachers and growing up in a large family as shaping the person she is today.
By attending a school in a low socio-economic area and growing up in a family of six children, Molly Coulter’s eyes were opened to the values of public education in laying the foundation for a better life.