Richard’s journey from student to teacher

Richard’s journey from student to teacher

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Kickett is also a talented artist, and here he stands in front if his work Kongal Bilya, which represents the school logo.

A late blooming interest in Aboriginal language has seen Southern River College Islander and Aboriginal Engagement Officer Richard Kickett start a new language class.

Kickett graduated from Southern River College in 2018 and returned to the school as their IAEO late in 2020, an experience he had to take time to wrap his head around, not being far removed from having friends at the school.

“I was a trainee at AFLSportsReady, doing finance at Curtin, and I saw the Southern River position on jobs.wa.gov.au and I just applied, did and interview and got it,” he said.

“It was strange adjusting to being a staff member.

“Even speaking to other staff, I was still using Mr and Mrs instead of their first name.

“In the two years since I graduated the school changed a lot but it was still a spin-out coming back.

“Yeah, I guess it was strange because I was friends with some of the students, so I had to make it clear I was there as a teacher and not as their friend, and it took a couple of weeks for me to adjust to that and for the students to adjust to that as well.”

As well as his role as an engagement officer, Kickett – also a talented artist – has recently introduced an Aboriginal Language class to the school.

He believes more emphasis should be focused on Aboriginal language in WA schools.

“I’m also training to be an Aboriginal Language teacher, so late last year I started teaching one year seven class a week, teaching them language.

“It’s definitely not taught enough in WA Schools.

“When I was a student, I probably wasn’t exposed to enough cultural knowledge as I should have been.

“Coming into this role I didn’t know language, but through training I’ve developed sentences, enough to be able to teach the young ones when I was given the chance.

“The students love it, a boy actually told me yesterday that in the other classes, he’s not that interested in learning, but at my class he really wants to be there an learn language, which for me is really encouraging.”