The educational structure of a country reflects its needs, with educators, schools, and the government adapting the way students are taught in order to ensure that the children of the country are properly educated. In places like the remote Australian outbacks, that need has given rise to a unique classification of educational institutions, the ‘School of the Air’. These schools handle primary and early secondary education of the children in the far-flung areas of Australia with the use of radio, and, more recently, the internet.
One such school, the Mount Isa School of the Air, recently played host to a forum for home tutors last month. The forum, held in the school’s Overlander Function Room, had home tutors discussing the difficulties associated with teaching children in far-flung and remote locations. A number of the home tutors were parents themselves, and discussed the difficulties of balancing the job of being a home tutor with one’s other responsibilities.
One of the guests to the forum was Catherine Woodhouse, who traveled over 350 kilometers to attend the forum at Mount Isa. She detailed her juggling of her life as a mother and as a new home tutor. She states that, whilst home tutoring is difficult in remote locales in Australia, the satisfaction that comes from seeing children learn is well-worth it, especially if you’re tutoring your own children.
Another home tutor, Susan Bellingham, whose daughter had managed to win a writing competition in the past despite her daughter’s dislike of writing. Like Woodhouse, she states that the job of home tutoring is, indeed, difficult, and that it requires no small amount of patience.
The two-day forum covered two primary topics, each structured for a single day of the forum. The forum’s first day was relegated to English related topics and online safety, whilst the following day tackled topics related to math and science. The overall aim of the forum was to provide assistance in the professional development of tutors and parents in the area.
Janeen Fricke, the deputy principal for the Mount Isa School of the Air stated that around 90 home tutors attended the forum, from places such as West Australia, the Northern Territory, the Gulf, and even as far from the east as Hughenden.