The privilege of being a teacher
Hannah has learnt as much as she has taught
Growing up in Melbourne’s Ascot Vale suburb, Hannah Rowse always wanted to be a teacher. She loved learning, and the older she got, the more she realised she loved helping children discover God’s world around them.
What she couldn’t have known then was that her work as a teacher would take her around the world on a number of what she now calls “teaching adventures”.
Hannah began her role as a primary school teacher at Melbourne’s Northside Christian College in 2005. Since then, she has taught in classrooms across Africa, Indonesia and Thailand.
For the past six years, Northside has provided her with the opportunity to work part-time in a job-share teaching role and in specialist classes so she could continue her global education.
It’s no surprise, then, that when Hannah learned from a colleague about a Christian school network in the Northern Territory, she knew she had to find out more.
“I felt a stirring to express interest and offer myself as a relief teacher to see where God might open a door,” she says.
“I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few Aboriginal communities on short-term trips to the Northern Territory and always wanted to spend more time there.”
Hannah wonders how Christian teachers might play a part in supporting and advocating for Reconciliation.
Hannah started by volunteering to assist in a children’s program for a CMS/Anglican ministry in Darwin, where she could visit local churches and meet people in remote communities. She then contacted the Northern Territory Christian Schools network to see if they had any openings for relief teachers.
She learned that it is often difficult to recruit relief teachers to work in Nhulunbuy – a small town in East Arnhem Land – due to its remote location. Consequently, Hannah was welcomed as a relief teacher in both Nhulunbuy Christian College’s primary and secondary schools for six weeks.
Like any teacher, Hannah emphasises that she learned as much as she taught in the role, developing a deeper understanding of homeland schools and ways, culture and language and how both are incorporated into a school learning environment.
“It was a privilege to support the hardworking staff there and get to know students and their families,” she says.
“I felt like I was just getting into the swing of things when it was time to come home. It is quite a transient community, with students from mining families, medical workers and a range of different missionary families.”
“At times, it was hard to understand the situation and where God is in all the issues and devastation.” – Hannah Rowse
Back in Melbourne, Hannah wonders aloud how Christian teachers might play a part in supporting and advocating for Reconciliation. That’s why she’s made it a priority to learn more about Australia’s First Nations people, their history and culture, with the hope she can weave that knowledge into her lessons.
“Throughout my time in the Territory, it was confronting to see the effects of generational trauma, hurt and suffering,” she admits.
“At times, it was hard to understand the situation and where God is in all the issues and devastation. But having faith and hope in Jesus was an encouragement. It was also encouraging to meet and work alongside teachers from all over Australia who care about and have a love for Aboriginal people and their children’s education and hope for their future.”
“It is a privilege to incorporate God’s story, love, mercy and grace into what I do in the classroom.” – Hannah Rowse
Hannah is also quick to acknowledge that those teaching experiences couldn’t have happened if not for the support of her leaders and colleagues at Northside Christian College. She says that the school’s willingness to release her for a term to serve in the Northern Territory has inspired her to continue growing as a teacher and bringing her best into the classroom.
“Having faith and Christian values as part of everyday life in the school community has always been amazing,” Hannah said.
“It is a privilege to incorporate God’s story, love, mercy and grace into what I do in the classroom.”