Amanda is a former journalist who now works in education.

Read her reflections on the importance of equity in education.

I’m a West Australian beach snob who has very happily embraced life on a harbour in Balmain, but still struggles to call the little sandy coves “beaches.”

I started professional life as a journalist, which took me all over the world and saw me get a little stuck in New York, where I worked for Time Magazine, met a fabulous New Yorker, and made a smaller New Yorker with him. We then moved to California and had our son. About the time that I had two small children, I lost my enthusiasm for 4am phone calls about breaking news, and last minute trips to disaster zones. After a few years focusing on being a Mum, I became a primary school teacher. The jobs aren’t all that different — you’re basically having to understand something quickly, and explain it to your audience in a way that makes sense to them. Teaching is just about a billion times more rewarding!

Just before words like “epidemiologist” and “social distance” became part of our daily vocabulary, our family moved to Sydney from San Francisco. I’m now working in an incredible job that marries my two loves, teaching and journalism. I’m the head of Squiz Kids for Schools – we produce a daily news podcast for primary school kids, and give teachers (and homeschooling parents) daily literacy activities that are aligned to the news of the day, and the Australian curriculum.

– Amanda is passionate about supporting kids to be resilient

Equity in education is so important. The students who would benefit most from tutoring are almost always the ones who can’t afford it… and so the gap grows, year after year. Remote learning has just made it worse.

Soon after I returned to Australia and learned about the work that Weave was doing, I applied to be a tutor.

I love the emphasis Weave places on tutors providing not just academic support, but emotional support and encouragement. Plenty of research suggests that the most resilient kids are those who have supportive adults in their lives who are outside of their family.

Denise and the Weave team make it clear that although we are of course tutors, we are also cheerleaders!

For the past year, I’ve worked with a wonderful year 7 student — soon to be year 8! — on her reading, comprehension, and writing. She’s a very quiet kid who I suspect has just slipped through the cracks for years – she’s not a behavioural problem, but she is anxious about asking for help — so she’s got a lot of holes in her knowledge.

Denise and Yvette have done such a great job of keeping people connected during the pandemic. They pivoted quickly to Zoom learning, provided support for tutors who needed it, and are in regular touch with changes and updates. They make it easy for me to continue tutoring, even when the rest of my life is busy!

This is such an important, and relatively simple, way to make a difference. It would be great if this kind of academic and emotional support was available in schools, or if all families whose kids need help could afford it. But they don’t, and this is one small thing you can do to try to right the ship.