Teachers in training inspire Cherbourg kids
MORE Cherbourg and Murgon residents are making the switch from neighbour to teacher to encourage their indigenous community to dream big.
The Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) in the Barambah Cluster based at Cherbourg State School offers tertiary education courses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Barambah teacher coordinator Roslyn Sharp said 14 indigenous students had enrolled in the course this year, compared to only six last year.
"These ladies go from neighbours to being in the classroom," she said.
This transition helps make the idea of tertiary education sound achievable for Cherbourg students and adults in the community.
"They go, there's someone I know that can do this job, goes to work everyday and comes to teach me," Ms Sharp said.
"They get to see their teachers have to learn as well, which is valuable for them."
Beryl Watcho is starting a diploma of education with RATEP, choosing to start studying later in life.
"I want to be a better role model for my kids and so the children in the community can see we want to be teachers," she said.
These teachers in training are able to help other teachers at the indigenous-majority school understand the community's cultural setting.
"We bring our values and way of life into the schools," Ms Watcho said.
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She enjoys the study environment close to home, where she still gets support from fellow students and the teacher.
"You don't have to do it by video link, you've got support services here in this school from the teacher, and the other students too," Ms Watcho said.
The program for teaching and early childhood courses is offered through a partnership between the Queensland Department of Education and Training, TAFE Queensland North and James Cook University.
Mrs Sharp said the unique program, which has been running in Cherbourg for more than 20 years, helps the students fit study into their lives.
"Probably most of our students wouldn't study at all if it wasn't here in the community," she said.
"They've got extended family and life, so it's hard to fit study around that if you have to travel."
Lavina Dynevor has started studying a bachelor of education and early childhood through RATEP.
"This program opens doors," she said.
The RATEP students will also travel up to Townsville and Cairns for workshops and make connections with fellow students.
Ms Dynevor enjoys seeing past students from the program now working at the Cherbourg State School and Murgon primary and high school.
Daisy Sandow completed her certificate IV in education from March to November last year and has started working at the school as a teaching assistant.
She plans to start her diploma of education in June.
"I've passed the word on to encourage others to study," she said.