Why did you choose to study education and training?
I wanted a challenge. I wanted to be able to
combine my love of drama, humour, learning, children, reading and research. I
wanted to study and work in a field that benefited others as much as it did me.
I wanted to work with parents and carers for the good of their child and help a
child to discover, navigate, connect and grow.
What was the best
thing about your course?
The balance! I had lecturers who were absolute
guns in their field but were still completely connected with the realities of
the profession and the classroom through their own research and work. I was
exposed to research-based practice and honest critique of the state of education
and current practice, as well as a practicum program that had us in a classroom
in our first month.
What was the worst
thing about your course?
It is a shame that the special education course
isn’t the ‘general’ education course because it provided the rigorous and broad
preparation needed for the diverse range of students in all of today’s
classrooms. We were well prepared in areas such as behaviour management, direct
instruction, welfare and teaching students with literacy and numeracy difficulties
— areas commonly cited as posing the greatest challenges for new teachers.
Have you found work in
I was offered a job before I even graduated and
was rapidly targeted into a permanent position at a school in south-west Sydney
(my first preference). When looking to transfer to a new school I had many
offers given the demand for teachers with special education qualifications or
experience. My course had a high graduate employment rate — all of the
graduates that I know of from my year were able to gain employment in their
first year out.
What advice would you
give to students considering studying education and training?
Make the most of your practicum
as this is where you get to test the theoretical stuff out, find your teaching
legs and experiment with teaching styles and strategies. Talk to teachers, immerse
yourself in the school dynamic and observe other teaching styles. Teaching is
not for the faint hearted — it is hard work but beautiful work. Don’t expect to
have it all under control when you first start out, and remember to seek
support where necessary.
It may not be as easy as you
might think to get a job. Though there is a looming teacher shortage, the
current shortage is in specific areas such as maths teaching. Be prepared to accept
short-term positions to get yourself known, and be flexible about where you
want to teach. Your teaching will be enriched if you are willing to take on
positions in remote and rural areas or in disadvantaged schools.
I urge you to give teaching a go.
Even when you’re exhausted, there is sure to be something you said or did
during the work day that made a student’s life just that bit better.
Studying Education and Training
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Working as a teacher
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