Premiering on April 19 at 8.30pm is SBS’s three-part observational documentary Testing Teachers featuring Southern River College teacher Stephanie.
The documentary follows Stephanie, who is part of a team of six first time teachers, over a course of 12 months as they start their new career and will take a closer look at students from low socioeconomic communities where many students, according to the Australian school standard averages, are falling behind.
With unprecedented access to Southern River College, Stephanie said at first it was really quite daunting having a camera crew follow her and the students.
“After a while you get used to it,” she said.
“The crew really cared for the students and I think through filming it helped us all connect.”
Inspired by great teachers including her grandfather Stephanie is currently studying a Masters of Teaching.
She is also a science teacher at Southern River and said she was encouraged to a career as science teacher because of the sense of awe she felt on how everything works.
Stephanie also said she has faced some challenges in her role as a science teacher.
“Probably one of the hardest things is engaging students,” she said.
“To make the classroom exciting and to help students recognise their potential and their strengths.”
Stephanie said Teach for Australia placed teachers in classrooms where they were needed the most.
“There is a lot of inequality in education,” she said.
“Some students have a significant advantage over our kids purely based on where they live and where they go to school.”
Stephanie said if you want to change the culture and mindsets of students being persistent and consistent was the key.
“I am motivated to work hard for my students,” she said.
Stephanie said during the documentary there would be times her students’ behaviour was less than flattering but she hoped the support from the community and the strength of her students would shine through.