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Teacher Tom's giving back to his new community in Darwin

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Education, Studying in Australia
Tom at the Waterfront Campus

Tom always knew he wanted to be a teacher. Starting out teaching Mandarin to international students in China, Tom honed his skills tutoring in Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia. It was these opportunities that gave him a new perspective on education.

"I found diversified education settings in those countries that are different to China's," he says. 

To explore more sociocultural and educational environments, I decided to come to Australia to study education.

After three years of study in Melbourne, Tom took the opportunity to move to Darwin and study a Master of Teaching at Charles Darwin University.

Tom at the Waterfront Campus

"I think studying in Darwin is a good idea because it is a multicultural city with various communities," Tom says.

He has found it easy to connect with different people and communities through events and getting involved with volunteering and employment organisations.

The benefits of the Master of Teaching were also a major drawcard.

I want to teach in Australia, and I can learn more about how to practice in classrooms given many units in the Master of Teaching relate to effective pedagogy and classroom management.

Putting knowledge into practice

Firmly settled in Darwin, Tom had the chance to put his new knowledge into practice in one of many placement opportunities within his course.

Teaching students Chinese and History at Darwin High School, CDU supported Tom both in and out of the classroom.

The InSchool teacher from the CDU placement team arranged my two practicums. He is very nice and professional about organising my placement details, including where to teach and how to contact my mentor from that school.

"I did team teaching with another student each time – my pair," Tom adds. "We took turns to teach different content to the students and discussed feedback with our mentors."

Tom has gone from volunteering to a paid teaching position with the STEPS Group in the Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP) to support his studies.

"My students usually are adults who have immigrated to Australia from their home country but need to learn functional English for life and work. Their English proficiency varies but will learn a lot after practising."

Tom has also been a learning club tutor with the Smith Family at Millner Primary School and Sanderson Middle School. He is also a Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) tutor and ran a resume writing workshop for students, offering drop-in sessions to help students with English.

Tom Wang Award

Embracing the whole experience

When he’s not busy working on his dream of teaching here in Australia, Tom is involved in the Kindness Shake, Study NT Ambassador Program, CDU Student Ambassador Program and the CDU Buddy Program.

For that incredible contribution, Tom was a finalist in the Chief Minister’s Youth Volunteer of the Year and Study NT International Student Volunteer of the Year awards in 2021.

Tom Wang with Chief Minister

With his study, work and volunteer life full, Tom’s looking forward to his future as a secondary school teacher here in Australia, passing on his passion for his chosen subjects.

I would like to teach Mandarin and history as these two subjects are very interesting to me, which I look forward to my students loving as well.

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