Aussie Teacher Life – Disciplining kangaroos, school goanna’s & snake lock downs

Aussie teacher life – disciplining kangaroos, a school goanna & snake lock downs

Karla Brown , International Consultant

As the sun set one warm summers evening, I decided it was time to stop work for the day and head home. As I exited my classroom, half distracted trying to juggle everything in my hands and set the alarms, I opened the door to find two young kangaroos in the midst of a boxing match. Without thinking, “Hey, you two!” came out of my mouth (automatic teacher response), as soon as they heard me, they froze, looked at each other and then down at the ground as if they were a couple of students who I had caught fighting. “Off you go now” was all I could say, a bit in shock that I was reprimanding kangaroo’s like children, yet they listened and bounced off. Yep, I thought, I work in remote Queensland.

Growing up, we moved around a fair bit. In my latter years of education my family left the Gold Coast to a small coastal town in Central Queensland. I absolutely loved it there; the weather was beautiful; the people were friendly and I was never more than 10 minutes from the beach. After school my friends and I would commonly walk down and sit on the sand, chatting away the hours.

When I graduated university, I applied for work with Catholic Education. They offered me a post a couple of hours down the coast at an even smaller coastal town a short distance away from Gladstone. At first, I was hesitant to move away from my family, but once I thought it through, I realised how great of an opportunity it was, plus family were only a couple of hours away in the car.

The school was absolutely beautiful, backing onto the beach with a strong connection to nature and environmental awareness. They welcomed me with open arms and I soon became a part of the family. Of course, it came with great bonuses like small class sizes, amazing access to technology and all of the appeals of a small town.

I spent my first year finding my feet as a teacher, working alongside my teaching partners to further develop my knowledge and understanding of all that comes with taking on a class of my own. I involved myself heavily in the school community (maybe a little too much for a graduate) taking part in the school musical committee, OptiMinds teams, coaching soccer and took on the role of head of the social committee.

In my second year I learnt to take more care of myself, joining a local service group and taking on only a few extra roles in the school. By this point I was more confident in my abilities as a teacher but knew my leadership team were with me every step of the way.

Being surrounded by nature had its ups and downs, safe to say I’m a chicken at times. During my 2 years’ there we had 3 snake lock downs and I wasn’t a huge fan of our school goanna (Garry). But so much of it I loved; looking out on the oval and seeing kangaroos eating the grass from my classroom window, spotting an echidna out the back of the school and walking down to the beach to try and spot a green sea turtle. I could not have been prouder of my students who became small environmentalist and were genially passionate about protecting our local wildlife.  

After 2 years working out in Central Queensland, I decided it was time to spread my wings and head off on a new adventure.


Karla Brown is a Primary Teacher with 4 years’ experience working in Regional Queensland and London. She now works for Smart Teachers out of our Brisbane office, helping other teachers secure amazing jobs in the United Kingdom.