A course to suit me and my family
I have a young family and with my closest university campus being three hours away, online study was the option that suited me best. When I found the Swinburne Online course, the website confirmed that their course would provide me with all the requirements I needed, in a mode that suited me and my family.
A community of teachers
Before starting my course, I had already completed a Bachelor of Arts online through Open Universities Australia, so online study wasn’t new to me. The one thing that stood out though, was the community of pre-service teachers.
The eLAs were all so friendly and knowledgeable, the students were also very supportive and it really felt like a community. I never felt that I was alone to work on my studies even though I never set foot in a tutorial or even met my classmates face-to-face. It was wonderful to learn from such knowledgeable eLAs and to work with such like-minded, motivated and passionate students.
A memorable moment
I graduated at the start of this year and seeing so many other students also being so proud of their achievements really added to the excitement of the day. It was also very touching having my family watch me officially complete my degree and the pride in their faces was extremely overwhelming. Even though I was only on stage for a minute, it was truly a fantastic, memorable time. I highly recommend attending your graduation ceremony!
Stepping out into the real world
Since completing my course, I had applied for several 12-month contract teaching positions however I was not successful in gaining one. I received my VIT registration in December so was able to start working as a casual relief teacher in Term 1. At the end of February, I applied for two classroom teacher positions at a nearby school. As a graduate, I didn't have high hopes for being contact about the position, however a week before attending my graduation ceremony, I received a call offering me the two term contract at Lakes Entrance Primary.
This first term has been extremely busy getting to know the students as individuals, understanding the previous teacher’s assessment, discovering the students’ individual learning needs, writing reports and managing student behaviours. I’m working with extremely supportive colleagues who are quick to support me and offer guidance when approached. It has really helped me grow as a teacher and develop some deep connections with my students. It will be very sad to leave my class at the end of Term 3 as I have come to care deeply for each and every one of my students.
My plans for the future, if I am not asked to stay on at my current school, is to return to casual relief teaching in Term 4 while applying for contracts for next year. I am hoping that the experiences and everything I have learned during my current contract will help put me in a better position to obtain a contract next year.
Advice for other graduates
To those who are graduating soon, please don't be discouraged if you don't obtain a teaching contract straight away. Casual relief teaching is an amazing experience and you learn so much from so many different teachers and schools. It can also be a great way to ease into the profession as you don't need to worry about assessments, reporting, meetings etc. Contracts are more full on than you realise, so getting into the swing of things, without the extras adding to your stress, can be a great way to start.