A teacher’s transformation in Queensland - Education Matters Magazine

Department of Education, Opinion, Teacher's Voice

A teacher’s transformation in Queensland

Originating from New South Wales, Will Curthoys embarked on a journey to Queensland in the 1990s seeking not only new horizons but a deeper purpose in his career.

Over the years, against the backdrop of diverse Queensland landscapes, he rose through the ranks from enthusiastic teacher to passionate principal. Alongside his professional success, he made a life for himself in Queensland, marrying, raising children, and nurturing a profound connection with the communities he called home.

Mr Curthoys said his passion to support and educate all students has only grown since he began his career almost 30 years ago.

“I started teaching in 1995 in New South Wales. Back then, there was an oversupply of teachers so you couldn’t always get a job when you graduated university,” Mr Curthoys said.

“I jumped in my car and I drove around western NSW and handed out my resume at different schools, essentially until I got offered a job. It’s a very different landscape now.”

Mr Curthoys worked in NSW for about four years, before deciding to move to Queensland.

“I was really fortunate to get a permanent job in a public school in Toowoomba. I worked there for about five years then I transferred to a small rural town,” he said.

“I was really excited about the move. I saw it as a really good opportunity to go to a different school and learn a different way of doing things. Starting at a new school can be daunting at first but once you’re there for a couple of weeks you are just into it and I think the communities play a big part in that. I think it was the best thing for me professionally and personally.

“Over my career I’ve found that working in those smaller towns, away from capital cities, there’s a real connection between the school and the community, and it’s so important.”

Mr Curthoys has taught in schools with more than 1,800 students, an experience he said he enjoyed, but didn’t feel the same connection to community as he does in smaller schools.

“Teaching is about that connection with students and their connection with people. I think that’s why I’ve been teaching for as long as I have. I feel a great sense of responsibility to give every student the best possible education, no matter who they are or where they’re from.

“Throughout my career I’ve moved from teacher, to head of department, to deputy principal and now principal, and I believe that experience and ability to understand people and communities has helped me move into each role and be successful,” he said.

He continued: “I think regional Queensland gives you wonderful opportunities in terms of interest areas that you may have, people that you will meet and people that you’ll connect with. I met my wife teaching in regional Queensland, and we had kids together—I won’t advertise that as something that will definitely happen if you move to Queensland, but it happened to me.

“I mean, you don’t realise that when you’re making the decision of where to teach and live—that’s just one of those things that sort of happens when you’re out here living your life. It’s just interesting, the twists and turns your life takes, and the different paths you can take.

“To anyone thinking of coming to Queensland from interstate, I’d say make that change because the Department of Education gives you so many opportunities, whatever it might be that you’re interested in. Absolutely take the opportunity, particularly in regional and rural Queensland, because it needs committed experienced people.

“Just really try to get that experience in a place that you’re not familiar with. Absolutely that’s scary but I think it’s also what creates the type of people we need in education, to help us create a better future.”

To find out more about teaching and living in Queensland, visit the Love to Teach Queensland website.

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