The Bachelor of Education (Applied Learning) provided me with the theoretical underpinnings of what it means to be a quality teacher.
Bachelor of Education (Applied Learning)
I began formal study after graduating high school and over this time I have completed Vocational qualifications that allowed me to continually improve, both personally and to access employment opportunities. I have several diplomas, but the springboard that encouraged me to enrol in the Bachelor of Education (Applied Learning) was completing the Graduate Certificate in Business 2010, through the Cradle Coast Campus, UTAS.
I always had a strong desire to attend university but work, life and location circumstances prevented me from taking the steps to actualise this desire.
I am the first in my family to attend University. I chose to study Education because I found that my career pathway was leading me in this direction. I have occupied roles where coaching/mentoring/training were a large component of my work, it was a natural progression but also a commitment I considered long and hard.
My experiences in the Graduate Certificate in Business at the UTAS Cradle Coast Campus instilled in me the confidence to make such a great commitment to study Education. Being on campus and being surrounded by other mature age students, many of whom were at university for the first time like myself, provided me with the encouragement I needed to examine what it is that I wanted to achieve. Additionally, Clynton Jaffray and Julie Strickland (both working at the CC campus in 2010) instilled in me a confidence and self-belief that university was not beyond my reach.
The Bachelor of Education (Applied Learning) provided me with the theoretical underpinnings of what it means to be a quality teacher. What you need to know and do; how best to serve the learning needs of others; how to stay vibrant and relevant to meet the needs of a changing educational environment; how to plan for and implement your own professional development; how to interpret a curriculum and how to create assessments that capture what learns know and can do.
There were many things that I loved while studying education. The practical application of the theoretical concepts was one. For example: designing assessment rubrics that meet curriculum requirements. The Professional Experiences (PE), notably PE 3 & PE4, provided an opportunity to test our theoretical knowledge, gather results and moderate with colleagues. The quality of teaching is another. Overall the quality of lecturers at UTAS kept the learning relevant, engaging and current. And last but not least, the relevance of an education degree regardless of area of employment.
The positive experiences that I had with academics were from lecturers such as Jill Downing, John Kertesz and Bruce Duncan, who understood on-line learning, the VET context and working with mature age learners. The availability of John and Jill outside of standard work hours and their willingness to guide and support me when I was having difficulty or doubts is something I will always be grateful for.
My final professional experience (PE4) provided a great opportunity to consolidate my teaching practice. I was fortunate to be matched with an excellent PE Mentor, Adrian Singline at Reece High School, Devonport. The significant difference between PE4 and other PE's was the total immersion and hands on teaching from Day 1. Adrian put significant thought and planning into my teaching before I arrived and this had a major impact on my success in PE 4. It's only now when I reflect on PE and look through my notes and lesson plans that I can critically evaluate the experiences and consider what changes I would make and how I would approach PE differently.
The significant academic achievements that will stay with me are the moments where: my learning changed my existing thinking and teaching practice; John Kertesz and Jill downing challenged me to think deeper and consider alternate perspectives and the collegial support of the BEd (AL) peers.
When I graduated I had planned on teaching in high school. When I entered the degree I planned to graduate with the ability to teach across VET and a curriculum area, possibly English, Business or Food Studies. As I entered into my second semester 2014 I reflected on my original motivations and the path I originally intended to follow began to change.
Thanks to UTAS, I have a greater sense of confidence in my teaching practice. I feel that I have the theoretical knowledge of how students learn and how my teaching practice influences whether they have a satisfactory learning experience. I have also grown and developed as a learner and a teacher. I know that I am in the right profession where I can give the most back. My studies revealed to me a pathway that I was not fully conscious of.
My advice to future students considering studying Education is to seek advice, talk to people whose opinion you value, have goals and plans, surround yourself with positive people and don't be afraid to ask for help.