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New ACT teachers ready for the new school year

As the school holidays draw to a close, the kindergarten students nervously preparing for their first day at 'big school' will be joined by 200 new public school teachers.

On Tuesday,  director-general of ACT Education and Training Directorate Diane Joseph welcomed her new crop of teachers, as well as an additional 300 staff, to ACT government schools.

This brings the public school workforce up to 4000. 

Ryan Devlin, 28, is one of the new teachers starting next week.

He has also travelled among the furthest to get to Canberra for the new school term.   

Mr Devlin had been teaching Year 11 English in the United States before a chance meeting with Hughes Primary principal Kate Smith last July.


Ms Smith was representing Australia at the NASA International Space Camp in Alabama thanks to an Australian Scholarships Group National Excellence in Teaching Award.

Mr Devlin had also won an award to get to the space camp and Ms Smith invited him to come teach at her school.

"I was looking for a change, I've been teaching the same age group for the last eight years and it just seemed like a really great opportunity," Mr Devlin said.

He was particularly excited about teaching a younger cohort and will take charge of a Year 2 class next week.

Matthew Garratt, 22, has just graduated from the University of Canberra and will be teaching a Year 4 class at Giralang Primary.

"I feel some nerves but a lot of excitement too," Mr Garratt said.

He was grateful to have made some friends at the school after taking relief classes in the final year of his degree.

Matthew Eyles, 28, will be returning for his second year at Calwell High, taking a special science leadership program for Year 8 students.

He brings to the program particular science expertise – having previously spent years working as a registered nurse.

After a year teaching, Mr Eyles believes he made the right career move.

"I wouldn't change it, I love it, it's my career," he said.

Noting that he didn't miss the shift work of nursing, he believed that teaching allowed him to be more creative and more autonomous.

He was awarded the New Educator Award last year.

Ms Joseph said that it was wonderful to see talented young men entering the profession.

"Generally education is about 25 per cent male, 75 per cent female… this year, we've got quite a few men starting in our early childhood schools, which is pretty fantastic," she said. Of the 200 new recruits, 45 are male.

"It really is about great teachers, that's the first imperative but then it's also about diversity of role models." 

New ACT government school students start on Monday, while continuing students return on Tuesday.