Everyone has a place
Chantal McAllister is an African Australian who has taught in the Republic of South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, South Korea and Australia.
During 21 years of overseas appointments, Chantal has worked as a special educator and special needs coordinator, a learning support specialist, teacher, publicist, marketer and teacher, and finally, head of department at South Korea’s Christian International School.
But looking for a home, and other teaching experiences, Chantal and her husband travelled to 35 nations before a 1995 stop in Australia decided them on the move here.
"We didn’t know where Darwin was, but we saw images of crocodiles and kangaroos and knew our African hearts would feel at home in the Territory," she said.
The department’s Senior Manager Inclusive Curriculum believes “we need to examine our attitudes, beliefs and practices toward students with diverse learning needs".
"I’m passionate about inclusive education,” she said. “My work focuses on The Inclusive Learning Strategy, Ability Based Learning and Education Support, and Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum — all of which underscore the ‘every student matters and matters equally’ philosophy.”
The recently qualified Masters in Inclusive Education invites people to “contact me if you need an extra pair of hands, a listener, or some inclusive or special education support”.
"I love to develop partnerships with schools and principals, providing the best possible service and professional education to meet the needs of teachers within the context of each school," she said.
"Inclusion is the greatest challenge, but it starts with you and me. Together we can make a difference."
To make someone’s day better. To love, serve and forgive lavishly is Chantal’s guiding maxim.
She is mother to Joshua, 21, a teaching assistant at Palmerston Christian School; Ethan, 21, a member of the Australian Defence Force; and Shanneth, 16, a Year 11 Darwin High School student.
Her great motivators are faith, family and friends. But as an avid traveller affected by wanderlust, she also has new horizons to visit.