Education Student, Emma Tothill, has always been interested in working with children, but living one of the remotest parts of Australia meant traditional study wasn’t an option.
After graduating from a university in the UK and several years backpacking around Australia, Emma decided to quit her job and work in a local primary school.
Turning passion into action
“I did a variety of roles to make up a full-time workload - before school care, after school care, classroom assistant and preschool worker. I even ran the canteen from time to time! The variety of roles got me experience in every part of the school and I was hooked.” says Emma.
Study without leaving home
“Now I live in Exmouth, WA which is 1300 kms north of Perth and has only 2000 people living here, so very remote. I didn’t want to live in the big smoke but I wanted to study and have the choice to do my education placements anywhere, not necessarily in the state within which the university is situated. The flexibility of online study has been amazing,” she says.
Flexibility to forge her own path
“I needed to be able to study online full time. A number of other universities offered the graduate diploma online but still required on-campus attendance for a couple of units or required practicums to be completed in the state within which they were situated. That did not work for me. Swinburne Online has allowed me to complete all my studies from the middle of nowhere. I have had to travel interstate for my first practicum back to Darwin but am currently completing my second practicum in Exmouth and hopefully my final one will be here too,” says Emma
A community within a regional community
“My advice to other regional students would be to be active on discussion boards and participate in as many weekly activities as you can – they do help! Also ask LOTs of questions and support your peers. That way you feel part of the learning community and not so isolated. I have made some good online study buddy’s through the discussion boards, who I now email regularly. The support from peers has been amazing,” says Emma.