New Educators: Connect with us - Heading "Beyond the range"
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 4, 28 May 2021, page no.26
This column is a space to explore issues directly affecting our new educator membership, featuring their voices and experience. This edition explores the department’s “Beyond the Range” program, which supports undergraduates financially as they experience the lifechanging benefits of working in regional, rural and remote locations.
I undertook a two-year Masters in secondary teaching after completing an arts degree, majoring in archaeology. I knew it would be worthwhile getting some experience in a regional or rural location, knowing that Queensland is a huge state and that teaching opportunities are not only centred in the south east corner.
So, I contacted Maryborough High and they were happy to host me for my final professional placement. They helped put me in contact with people I could board with during my placement and were very keen to have me at their school.
I had been advised that the “Beyond the Range” program was designed to encourage final year students to do a prac in a regional, rural or remote school, so I made contact with the department and was indeed eligible.
This program provided me with a generous grant, which allowed me to cover rent while I was on my four-week prac and covered the cost of transport and other living expenses. It meant that I didn’t have to worry about work/money while I was on the placement.
One of the benefits of the program is that as a student you get to see if the school and the community are a good “fit”, and if so, you may be offered a permanent placement at the school in the following year. Win/win for all involved. You can find the details of this grant and the current conditions at: https://teach.qld.gov.au/scholarships-and-grants/beyond-the-range-professional-experience-grant
This program allowed me to genuinely experience working in a regional town, and to get to know the local culture and community. I was able to establish professional relationships with the school’s staff and made connections with teaching colleagues that helped sustain me through that final practicum.
The experience of undertaking my final prac there was a great one, and I was very happy to start my new teaching career at Maryborough State High the following year. This meant that the normal stresses of starting work as a teacher were greatly reduced, because I knew where I was going, how the school operated and who I’d be working with.
I can’t recommend undertaking a Beyond the Range prac experience more highly.
Working in a regional school is great. Take the plunge and have a go!