One week after the event, it’s just dawned on me that I’m yet to follow up on this previous tweet:
So… I’ve accepted a new position for the 2013 school year! No longer will I be a Year 6 teacher at leafy All Saints’ College in Perth, WA; as of January I’ll be a Deputy Principal in the primary section of Kununurra District High School. Exciting times indeed!
For the uninitiated, Kununurra is in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. By road, it’s the same distance away from Perth as Melbourne (approx 3200 km). Equivalent trips around the world could be made between Los Angeles and Chicago or Manchester and Istanbul. (Basically, it’s a frickin’ long way from home!) Here’s a map:
The town is home to some 8000 residents, roughly 50% indigenous and 50% non. Lake Argyle, Australia’s largest body of fresh water, is just down the highway; indeed, the town was built in the 1960’s to support Stage 1 of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. Most importantly, the town is the gateway into some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world, including the Gibb River Road, El Questro Wilderness Park and the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, home of these guys:
So the place is naturally stunning, and the weekend family camping opportunities have increased markedly, but what’s the attraction from a professional point-of-view? Why leave a permanent position at a highly regarded, well-resourced, technology-rich, independent school in the city for a gig in the outback?
My personal belief is that in order for one to become an expert in their chosen career, one must expose themselves to a wide variety of contextual settings. Allowing oneself a greater breadth of professional experiences will allow far greater professional growth. To that end, I’m not daunted by the notion of moving on from a well-heeled school that uses an investigative/inquiry approach built around a one-to-one laptop program, when I’ll be learning how best to tackle low rates of literacy and numeracy amongst indigenous children in a program geared around explicit instruction. I’ll be helping young children who’ve never seen a city, including those who need to borrow a pair of shoes for the school day when they arrive first thing in the morning because they don’t own any. And as well as applying what I think I know about education in a totally different context, I’ll also be fortunate to experience an initial foray into admin and school leadership.
So the 4WD’s been purchased, all of our winter clothes have been put into storage (the average temperature in July in Perth is a mild 18°C, in Kununurra it’s 30°C!) and we’re ready to embark on the next chapter of our lives. If you’re ever passing through the top end, make sure you get in touch if you’re up for catching a fish or three over a few coldies!