Country kids come to town

Mini school is underway in Charters Towers

Life & Style
MINI SCHOOL: Teacher Chantel Micallef said mini school is her favourite week of the year; when all her students and the home tutors she works with come to town. Photos - Kelly Butterworth.

MINI SCHOOL: Teacher Chantel Micallef said mini school is her favourite week of the year; when all her students and the home tutors she works with come to town. Photos - Kelly Butterworth.

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The Charters Towers School of Distance Education is alive with mini school.

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AS students from all over the countryside played together at morning tea, three governesses and a teacher sat chatting at the Charters Towers School of Distance Education.

With mini school in full swing, it was a chance for the students and their tutors and governesses alike to catch up with friends and spend some time in the flesh with the voices and faces they hear during lessons every day. 

Governesses Tamika Graham, 21, Jumba Station, Charters Towers, Sydney Ryan, 19, Jardine Station, Einasleigh, and Taneal McConnell, 22, Mirtna Station, Charters Towers, said mini school was an opportunity for them to see other governesses and discuss the challenges they face on a daily basis. 

Sydney, originally from Georgetown, said she applied for the governess role after realising university wasn’t for her. 

All three girls began with their families in July, and all agreed they had been blessed with great families to work for, and loved the region.

Tamika said she loved the flexibility the job offered. 

“I’m originally off a cattle station which my brother took over so I obviously couldn’t stay,” she said.

JUMBA STATION: Travelling in from Jumba Station, Charters Towers, was Haley O'Sullivan, seven, and her governess Tamika Graham.

JUMBA STATION: Travelling in from Jumba Station, Charters Towers, was Haley O'Sullivan, seven, and her governess Tamika Graham.

“I wanted to do something that I found rewarding… being back out on the cattle station I can teach, but then I also get to go out and muster and brand.”

Charters Towers School of Distance Education Year 2 teacher Chantel Micallef said after working in mainstream schooling for eight years teaching from Prep to Year 12, making the change to distance ed was a big one. 

She has been with CTSDE for two years, and said she has absolutely no plans to leave. 

“I love it – it’s a great school, it’s a different way to teach, and it’s very rewarding,” she said.

“You get to deal with kids from different walks of life, and it’s not just country kids, it’s other kids that can’t be in mainstream schooling and we are just so proud to have these kids.”

She said being a distance ed teacher meant not only teaching students; but their home tutors and governesses as well.

WHALE OF A TIME: The students and their governesses sit in the under the sea themed Year 2 classroom.

WHALE OF A TIME: The students and their governesses sit in the under the sea themed Year 2 classroom.

“So you’ve got some people that have basically just walked in the door with no idea what they’re doing, so we’re here to offer the support and the guidance,” she said.

“Some of our parents are also home tutors, so as well as a parent they’re being a teacher which is quite challenging.”

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