Policy-maker, teacher and influencer: Amy’s story

Amy Haywood

Cohort 2013

Degree
Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of Melbourne

Teaching areas
English

Current employment
Senior Analyst with the Education Policy team in Deloitte Access Economics

At university, Amy knew that she wanted to inspire real change – although admits that she’d never considered herself as a potential teacher. It was Teach For Australia’s mission that resonated with her:

“Growing up in a small rural town in north-west Victoria, it was only in the later years of high school that I became acutely aware that I had been afforded many opportunities that others simply had not. I was lucky.”

In Australia, children from low income households are almost three years behind those from high income households. A child’s opportunities in life, including level of health, further education, employment and income, diminish because of this educational disadvantage.

Amy realised that through the Leadership Development Program, she could have a real impact on student outcomes.

“If I’m completely honest, I don’t think I would have chosen teaching if not for Teach For Australia, but I am so glad now that I did,” she says. Teaching was rewarding, and she could see the positive impression her work was having on young people first-hand.

“Teaching is challenging and very much not like it is fictionalised in films. The most rewarding moments are often small and seemingly insignificant, but where you get to see your students triumph in some way – whether it be celebrating with them that they now know how to use full stops consistently throughout an essay, hearing about their acceptance into their university course of choice or seeing them shine in a debate they were incredibly nervous for.”

She has just finished her fifth year of teaching English – and now Amy has her sights set on influencing education policy.

Since completing the program three years ago, she took a few months off to finish her Masters of Teaching in Finland, where she could study Finland’s education system and to compare systems internationally. She also completed the EdFellows policy fellowship program, which is run by another Teach For Australia Alumna, Jacqueline Macgee. EdFellows is a year-long policy incubator program for early career teachers.

“I’m a passionate teacher, but I’m also curious about the way that teaching is shaped by the policy environment around it,” she explains. This year, she will start a role in the Deloitte Access Economics Education Policy team. “Utilising the knowledge that I’ve gained from teaching, I hope to be able to shape policy that I know when implemented will have a positive impact on the teaching and learning that is happening in classrooms.”

Looking back on the past five years, she has some advice for her younger self: “This is going to be hard. You won’t be so great at it at the start. But don’t worry – it’ll be worth it.”

Change starts with you. Apply now.

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