Teacher and education innovator: Liam’s story

Liam Ferris

Cohort 2014

Degree
Bachelor of Arts (International Studies and Criminology) from the University of Melbourne

Teaching areas
Humanities and Maths, Geography, History and Economics

Current employment
Account Manager at Edrolo

Liam thought he would become a lawyer. After taking a few subjects, Liam realised law wasn’t the path for him.“It’s not what I envisioned it would be,” he says. “Two years through my degree, I started critically thinking about what I wanted to do.”

“A friend told me to check out Teach For Australia,” Liam remembers. He’d never considered teaching, and he’d never heard of the organisation. “I googled it. It was almost too late to apply.” After talking to an Alumnus of the program, Liam says, “It clicked.”

The Leadership Development program offered Liam a unique opportunity for significant responsibility and autonomy while effecting social change. He wanted to work alongside passionate colleagues and develop lifelong relationships.

Liam was placed in Point Cook, just south of Melbourne, and moved in with another Cohort member. Through the recruitment process, Associates are placed where their skills and experience are most needed. Often, Associates are placed in clusters within the same school and schools nearby one another to increase the opportunity for impact within the community, as well as offering a network of support in the form of a regional cohort.

“The Cohort experience is unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I made some of my best friends through Teach For Australia,” Liam says. He has a close inner circle – they keep in touch on a text thread, and talk every day.

Though he found the start of the program daunting – he didn’t know anyone in the program, and Initial Intensive compresses a quarter of a Master’s degree into a challenging thirteen weeks – Liam quickly hit his stride and developed invaluable skills in the classroom. A key part of the program is each Associate’s Teaching and Leadership Adviser, who is an experienced teacher providing rigorous one-on-one coaching, regular classroom observations and general wellbing support to guide Associates’ development as a teacher and leader.

“Before, feedback was really difficult for me to take,” Liam says. But he learned that “it’s not about you doing a bad job. It’s about you trying to become better for yourself and your students.” Liam remembers his own Teaching and Leadership Adviser, Rod: “We get on like a house on fire. He would look at a lesson and choose one targeted thing for me to work on. Something really tangible you could walk away with – or, often we’d just talk about classes, self-reflecting and chatting about life. He cared about me personally.”

Currently, Liam is an Account Manager at Edrolo, where he remains committed to improving educational outcomes by innovating the way teachers teach through data. His time leading a classroom gave him a contextual understanding of the education environment, while giving him essential leadership skills to progress professionally.

Develop your skills where you’re needed most. Apply now.

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