In a highly competitive application process, La Trobe was selected by the Department of Education and Training to deliver Nexus as part of the Federal Government’s High Achieving Teachers Program. Over the next two years, a carefully selected group of students will study their Master of Teaching (Secondary) while working as Education Support Workers in often hard-to-staff regional, rural and metropolitan schools in Victoria.
The program kicked off at the end of February, where the 40 students comprising this year’s cohort attended their first week-long intensive.
Designed for students to gain practical teaching skills on the job, Nexus offers the first pathway of its kind into secondary teaching. During the 18-month employment-based program, students will be paid at teacher aide rates while they study and complete placements in low socioeconomic status (SES) secondary schools across Victoria.
Students will also have access to extra opportunities for professional development, mentoring and employment as well as support for two years once they begin teaching.
The current cohort will work as teachers in 25 historically disadvantaged schools throughout Victoria, with 65.85 per cent placed in regional and rural schools. The students will be ready to begin their school placements at the beginning of Term 2 in April.
According to Nexus Director Professor Jo Lampert, the immersive program provides an opportunity for students to better understand and integrate into the regions they’ll work in. In addition, each school involved in the placement will focus on building stronger ties with local community.
“Nexus is a community-engaged teacher education program. It’s unique in that it’s not just about schools, but about our teachers coming to know local community organisations who aren’t usually included in teacher education,” states Professor Lampert.
Closing the gap
In addition to the usual entry requirements for the Master of Teaching, each Nexus student was selected based on their undergraduate degree, life experience, skills and knowledge. As a social justice pathway into teaching, applicants also had to explain why they aspired to teach in regional, rural and remote Victorian schools.
After attending a low SES school as a child, Fahim Motin’s strong sense of social justice and desire to close the gap inspired him to apply for the Nexus program. Having completed a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Statistics at La Trobe in 2018, he was eager to take the next step and become a teacher.
“It’s a great opportunity to have firsthand teaching experience before even graduating,” says Fahim.
“Not only will this give me an opportunity to boost my career, but the work I’ll do will make a big impact on the community.
The second cohort of Nexus students will start the program in February 2021.
Learn more about Nexus here.