Learning to lead
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 2, 20 March 2020, page no.16
The Department of Education has again commissioned the Queensland Education Leadership Institute (QELi) to shape an aspiring leaders course for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander teachers and school leaders, with programs offered in Cairns and Brisbane. Across the two cohorts, 41 participants registered, coming from both primary and secondary settings and from a wide range of geographic locations, including from remote areas.
QTU Rep Emerson Zerafa-Payne, a secondary teacher working in Ipswich, reflects on his experience: "The support that I have been provided with has been phenomenal. There is constant contact and communication between me and the facilitator through a variety of formats, be it online, over the phone or in person.
"Content is also presented in a variety of ways – verbally and interactively online. I have been able to meet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who are out in schools and in regional offices, listen to their stories and understand how they reached the positions they are in today. I was able to attend leaders’ conferences with others in Queensland already in leadership.
"I have been explicitly taught what leadership qualities are, and what to focus on. It is very powerful being part of a group of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aspiring leaders, as we all support and communicate with each other."
Rebecca McLean, a QTU Rep at Tully State School, attended the course in Cairns: "Throughout the course, we have created strong connections to each other and our cultures. This hasn't happened by chance. It is testament to how our course facilitators have fostered the very same team environment that we have now been trained to develop when leading others.
"We are all passionate educators, driven by our values and determined to make a difference to our schools and communities by improving student outcomes. As indigenous educators in Northern Queensland, we are often a minority on our staff, advocating to challenge the deficit discourse placed upon the majority of our students. For us, it's time to step up and take the lead.
"Our metaphorical dillybags are now filled with knowledge and skills, and with each others' continued support, we're ready to plan our future paths in school leadership."