Imagine traveling 2 plane flights and over 8 hours to your first teaching job- with little people who spoke a different language and who were from a different cultural background to you.
You might be forgiven for thinking that the scenario I am creating was set in Asia or Eastern Europe. But this adventure takes place in outback Australia in one of many remote outback communities who are eagerly advertising for Early Childhood Teachers- you.
As you fly into the regional airport you are met with a foreign view from the window- burnt orange desert intersected by red hills and green and blue river ways. You are excited. It’s so different than anything you’ve ever seen and certainly different than the view from your window as you left your leafy green town.
As you step off the plane you are hit with the hot wind, like someone holding a hairdryer to your whole body. ‘Something to get used to’, you think as you peel off your jumper and descend the stairs.
The drive out to your new home is long, the scenery subtly changing as you drive the hour or few out on first sealed roads then gravel. Each passing moment the anticipation, excitement and nervousness grows.
What will it be like? Will you fit in? What adventures await?
And then you are there unpacking in your new home, getting ready for the first day of school and walking around the new community. Meeting little people who smile and ask you many questions at once. Their stories a mix of kriole and traditional language dancing to your ears. They tell you they are in your class or another. They hold your hand and lead you around showing you the local pool, the shop and the school. You see the donkeys, and the dogs, and the children chase the lizards. Later they leave you at your front gate with the promise of coming to school next week.
You think you won’t sleep that first night overthinking your day tomorrow, but you do. Exhausted from your travel and unpacking, from meeting and greeting and learning.
And soon enough the day is here and you stand at the gate looking in at the adventure that awaits.
Inside you are met with the smiling faces of your new colleagues both interstate like you and local First Nations educators. You see your classroom. You do your professional development. You sit with heart and mind open to all the new things: differentiation, special needs, culture training, trauma-informed teaching, working with ESLD students and more.
And after school you walk in the cool of the afternoon with your new friends and talk about home. You share with them your family, friends, pets and adventures. They share theirs. And you walk slowly on a new adventure.
And soon the day is here. You wait at your door counting down the minutes until school begins. Ready to greet your new little people. You wonder if you will teach your students half of what they will teach you? Time will tell.
Can you see it? Teaching Early Childhood in remote outback communities can be a big adventure and career move. If you are ready- take the leap. You never know where remote teaching can take you.
ECA Recommends: Initiating a Reconciliation Action Plan: Where do I start?
This course will introduce early childhood professionals to the concept and context of reconciliation in early childhood education within Australia, and where to start when initiating a Reconciliation Action Plan. This course can also support practitioners in leadership roles to understand the Reconciliation Action Plan process and best support their team in initiating developing and implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan.