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Community shows support for student teachers

By Patrick Nelson

The latest group of Growing Our Own students at Wurrumiyanga The latest group of Growing Our Own students at Wurrumiyanga

The Wurrumiyanga community on Bathurst Island has shown its support for eight Charles Darwin University students who have set their sights on becoming home-grown school teachers on the Tiwis.

School of Education lecturer Therese Kersten said the students had begun their Bachelor of Education Primary studies at the start of the year through Growing Our Own, the Indigenous teacher development program in partnership with Catholic Education.

“This celebration among their own people has helped reinforce the support and value that the community places in these students and their ambitions,” Ms Kersten said.

“The ceremony involved good will blessings and words of encouragement from church leaders, community leaders and the school community.

“We are excited by the prospect that in about three years from now we will have a group of fully qualified educators ready to embrace a range of leadership roles within the school system.”

Ms Kersten said the undergraduates were already gaining invaluable experience as assistant teachers working in the classroom and other learning spaces at either the Xavier College Wurrumiyanga or Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School.

“Two days a week are allocated for their course studies, with a CDU lecturer visiting them on-site for two days every fortnight to deliver our units.”

Ms Kersten said this was the third cohort of students on Bathurst Island since the Growing Our Own program began in 2009.

“We’ve had 26 student graduates across our remote schools on Bathurst Island and at Wadeye, Daly River, Katherine and Santa Teresa.

“Most of them are working in education, either in school leadership, as teachers or relief teachers, and some chose to remain as assistant teachers.”