In the seventies, Maureen Fuller taught children all the way up to Year six until she took a break from work to focus on family. It wasn’t until she re-entered the profession that she discovered new regulations meant new qualifications.
Flexibility was key for Maureen when it came to finding the right course and so she started her journey at Open Training and Education Network (OTEN).
“I have a Teaching Certificate (Primary) from Catholic Teacher's College which enabled me to teach. I had always intended to finish the degree, but a full teaching load and life got in the way so that goal was never achieved.
“I had two children and became a stay at home mum, involved in all the school things one does as a parent. Years later I was then asked to relieve a teacher at our local preschool, which I did successfully I guess, because I applied for a job and got it.
“However, when the new regulations came in, it meant I had to have some sort of Early Childhood qualifications, so I opted to do a Certificate III in Child Care through OTEN.”
After getting a taste for study, Maureen quickly realised she was ready to move on to get a degree and enrolled in a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood).
“Swinburne Online was advertised on the OTEN site. I thoroughly enjoyed the year's study and the support I received through OTEN.
“I missed out on a place in the Diploma course and my family, who all have degrees now, encouraged me to get mine. That's where my CV and Swinburne came in.
“I enrolled in the Bachelor of Education this year and I'm just about to go into my second teaching period. I am really enjoying it. The degree so far has been very interesting and I've been able to compare the teaching pedagogy and practice of the 70s with what's happening in education now.
“Research into brain development and technology has been a huge part of the change and I'm in awe of the difference it makes in student engagement and outcomes.”
Although Maureen faced a large technological learning curve, she says the strong support networks have helped her excel in her Education degree.
“I hadn't written an academic essay for years and I was worried, but the support at Swinburne has been incredible. Student Liaison Officers and the eLearning Advisers deliver a high level of practical feedback throughout the learning experience, so I soon felt confident within the more rigorous online university environment.”
Maureen is now moving through her online degree at her own pace and is even considering postgraduate studies after she graduates.
“I've pretty much had the career I wanted and I'm only doing two units a teaching period, so I hope I'm still alive at the end, but I probably won't go back into the classroom full time. As to what happens when I finish, depending on how well I do, perhaps a Masters is on the horizon.”