New teacher in town
MOSSMAN woman Ebony Leyden had a dream to further her education and after completing her Bachelor of Education just last year, has scored herself a position at the Port Douglas State School.
Ms Leyden completed her education through Remote Area Teacher Education Program ( RATEP) at the Mossman Primary School, a community-based teacher education program that aims to increase the number of registered indigenous teachers and paraprofessionals in Queensland.
‘‘I always wanted to become either a teacher or a nurse but never had the confidence to even attempt university,’’ Ms Leyden said.
‘‘After Year 12 I worked as a teachers’ aide and that is when the opportunity arose to begin further study.
‘‘Initially, I began a Diploma through TAFE, studying at the RATEP site in Mossman. Upon completion, I went straight into my second year of University to study a Bachelor of Education through the Mossman RATEP program.
‘‘It is now four years later and I am a teacher at Port Douglas State School teaching a beautiful class of year one students.
‘‘Without RATEP I would not be in the position I am in today. It has provided me with the opportunity to study in Mossman with the same support that on-campus students would receive. The teacher coordinators have been extremely supportive and encouraging all the way.’’
RATEP is a joint initiative of TNQ TAFE Cairns, Education Queensland and James Cook University.
Now in its 23rd year, RATEP now has 15 sites spread throughout Queensland from Bamaga in the Far North to Maryborough in the south, Mt Isa in the west and an ‘off site’ model servicing another 12 communities and towns throughout the state.
‘‘There is a need for more indigenous teachers in the education system. University always seemed so daunting to me but the whole scary side is taken away through RATEP. Even if you are just considering teaching as a future, get in contact with the girls at the RATEP site to find out more information,’’ Ms Leyden said.
‘‘Being a beginner teacher, I constantly feel like there is always so much to improve on. Recently I had John Fleming (EQ Explicit Teaching Pedagogy Consultant) come into my classroom to conduct observations for my consolidation lesson. The feedback he gave me really boosted my confidence, especially when he said that I was an ‘exemplary’ teacher.
‘‘The support provided by the staff at Port Douglas State School has really helped me to grow as a teacher. I have also had the privilege to work with an amazing bunch of students that make each day full of hilarious and amazing memories.’’
Any indigenous person wishing to undertake study in the area of education should contact the school on 4098 3510 and ask about RATEP.