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Sasha Lytas, TFA Society & Environment - Testing Teachers - Photograph by David Dare Parker

Sasha Lytas, TFA Society & Environment – Testing Teachers – Photograph by David Dare Parker

TESTING TEACHERS is a very real and personal journey for six passionate, first time teachers who have one aim: to make a difference in young lives.

The three-part observational documentary  had unprecedented access to three public high schools across Western Australia, Victoria and Northern Territory follows these six teachers over 12 months as they start their new career as teachers in low socio-economic communities where many students, according to Australian school standard averages, are falling behind.

Recent studies have shown that the postcode some children are born in can determine the level of education they’ll achieve. On average, a child growing up in a disadvantaged area is almost three years behind their peers from wealthier suburbs*.

The ambitious Teach for Australia program provides a block of intensive training where after these high achieving new teachers, who have had successful careers in other industries, are placed into classrooms where they are needed most, while they continue to study for their Masters of Teaching on the job.

TESTING TEACHERS charts the highs and lows of these new teachers over 12 months. It also tackles some of the current issues new and ongoing teachers face, with stats claiming one in four new teachers suffer emotional exhaustion**.

Former FIFO geologist Stephanie and Arts/Law graduate Sasha were the teachers at Southern River College on the working-class fringe of Perth.

Brendan Hutchens of Fremantle’s VAM Media was Executive Producer and lead Shooter/Director for the WA content.

“I think Jim Frater ACS (shooter/director), Chad Peacock (shooter/director) and Ash Charlton (sound) were just as nervous as the teachers were during that first week of school, and as the year unfolded, we experienced some pretty incredible moments first hand,” said Hutchens.

TESTING TEACHERS was produced by Screentime (OUTBACK ER, STOP LAUGHING…THIS IS SERIOUS, FLYING MINERS, ANH DO’S BRUSH WITH FAME) with the assistance of Screenwest and Lotterywest.

TESTING TEACHERS starts Wednesday, 19 April at 8.30pm on SBS and each episode will be available after broadcast on SBS On Demand.

*Source: MI, 2015: Mitchell Institute (authors Lamb, S., Jackson, J., Walstab, A. & Huo, S. (2015), Educational opportunity in Australia 2015: Who succeeds and who misses out, Centre for International Research on Education Systems and ACER, 2013: Australian Council for Educational Research (2013), Program for International Students Assessment 2012: How Australia measures up.

**Source: Monash University – ‘Fit-choice Project’