“My core belief is in helping students to grow as human beings and to become resilient people.”
Meet Alexander Dunton
Primary and High School Teacher, grades 6 to 10
Alexander joined Kulkarriya Community School in 2014, bringing with him almost a decade of valuable experience. Prior to joining the small teaching team in Noonkanbah, Alexander worked in central Australia as well as Mount Gambier for a number of years. It was the challenge of living and working in a remote community that he was missing most.
“I really missed the positive challenges I’d experienced when working in central Australia. I found that I was able to think innovatively with my teaching and I was always looking for new ways to engage students in multi-aged and mixed ability classes. After submitting my application and being contacted by Jangala, I was offered a position here and I knew it was the right place for me.”
For our students, their time at KCS is about getting them ready for the next big step in their education and life. Teaching students from grade 6 to grade 10, Alexander has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy and is passionate about adapting his teaching style to meet the needs of his students. Technology plays a key role in achieving this.
“The ability to integrate technology into the curriculum is really important. I have a strong media, music and arts background, so I enjoy integrating literacy in those fields. I always find students really engage this way. Teaching the kids how to use music software, or how to create presentation in PowerPoint is a big part of our learning. A lot of the students haven’t had exposure to technology, so giving them that opportunity and using it as a tool for literacy and numeracy is great.”
Alexander loves taking advantage of the intense natural experiences that are available in this unique part of Australia. Living and working in a place where distractions are limited brings a sense of personal fulfilment, as there is the time and space to pursue invigorating interests and hobbies. It’s a part of the lifestyle that Alexander loves.
“I really enjoy getting out into the natural environment. I often go camping on weekends – it’s the perfect place for it. We are right on the Fitzroy River, which is one of the great rivers in Australia. Other attractions I love visiting are Windjana Gorge National Park and Tunnel Creek National Park.
I’m also a musician so being able to write and produce music without interruption is really great. I think it’s important for people living and working out here to have something they’re passionate about and that they want to explore.”
Like any job, there are challenges to be faced working at KCS, but these challenges bring with them real reward. Alexander is quick to dispel any perception that working in a remote school is easy or slower paced, explaining that it’s a role that is incredibly rewarding for the right person.
“Every day is ‘go go go’ and there is a lot of accountability embedded in us here. The job can be demanding but is definitely rewarding. The rewards can often be small but bit by bit, we’re contributing to something big. There can be days where you feel you’ve taken one step forward and three steps back, but we choose to focus on the steps forward. It’s important to be resilient and keep progressing, always looking to build on each success.”
For Alexander, working in the Noonkanbah community offers opportunities which are truly rare. The chance to develop skills through teaching multi-skilled classes that are also multi- aged is something many teachers might not experience by working only in metro areas.
Alexander believes the flexibility gained by teaching in a diverse classroom is one of the most valuable strengths to have in teaching.
Like all staff at KCS, Alexander sees his role as so much more than only teaching the curriculum to the highest standard, and he is proud to take on that responsibility.
“Yes, I teach literacy, numeracy and various subject areas, but my core belief is in helping students to grow as human beings and to become resilient people. It’s a joy of mine seeing them grow in that way and giving them the tools to cope and adapt to situations. From an educational point of view, there is a real need for teachers out here to create an environment of positivity and confidence. We are always thinking ‘how can I help?’. The people who think that too and are caring and understanding of the complex situations happening in our environment do well teaching here.”
If you want to embrace a real challenge and reward, and grow as a teacher and a person, Alexander encourages you to follow in his steps.
“It was my choice to work remotely. I specifically wanted to work out here and I’m so glad I did. If someone is looking for a rewarding challenge like me, KCS is a great place to be. It’s challenging but the kids are wonderful and the right people are given the chance to really thrive here. The skills you learn working at KCS you can apply to your whole life.
If someone is thinking about teaching remotely, I believe it’s important they ask themselves a question: “How can I help push education forward?”