News & Stories

Building a new career in physical education

Jamie Pullen left a career in the construction industry behind so he could study to become a health and physical education teacher. (Main image supplied by Jamie Pullen)


Studying to become a Health and Physical Education (HPE) teacher was as much a lifestyle choice as it was a career choice for Jamie Pullen.

Currently studying his Bachelor of Education (Health and Physical Education) at the University of Tasmania in Launceston, Jamie spent 15 years in the construction industry before making the decision to switch careers.

And he said there was a surprising amount of overlap between the skills required for his old job as a residential site supervisor, and those essential to being a health and physical education teacher.

“I was often teaching technical skills to apprentices during my time in construction, teaching and trying to get the best out of people. And there’s a lot of paperwork all the time, so they have that in common as well,” he laughed.

“And something I liked about construction is that it involved spending a lot of time outside, which I love, and being an HPE teacher will give me a similar opportunity in a different environment.”

Originally from Mooloolaba in Queensland, Jamie moved to Launceston with his wife and two children in early 2020 because they needed a better work-life balance and the Tasmanian pace of life sounded like exactly what they needed.

His wife was already working as a teacher and Jamie found himself increasingly drawn to that career path, himself. In fact, the opportunity to study a Bachelor of Education in Launceston was a significant factor in deciding to settle in the northern Tasmanian city.

“It was definitely a big decision to walk away from my other career, but I realised I wasn’t satisfied in a big picture sense, I guess.

“So, I wanted to do something a little bit more fulfilling, and teaching made a lot of sense. My mother has been in education for a long time, my wife is a teacher, her mother is a teacher, my grandfather was a teacher, so it seems to be the way!”

There were a few different factors influencing Jamie’s decision to specialise in Health and Physical Education, including a desire to work outside as much as possible, the flexibility of qualifying to teach all grades from kindergarten to 12, and a love of the science aspect of studying health and physiology.

But perhaps a little surprisingly for a budding HPE teacher, a love of sport wasn’t a factor.

“I’m in a bit of a minority in this degree, because I don’t really follow any sport,” he said. “But I also believe sport shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of PE, there are so many other ways to access physical activity.

“Even when I’m teaching PE I think of it as an extension of health, that’s why I want people to move. I don’t care whether they access physical activity through sport or some other way to move their body, as long as they’re moving.”

And like a lot of aspiring teachers, Jamie took a lot of inspiration from his favourite teachers, and also his own most formative experiences in school.

“You hear so many stories about people who say PE wasn’t their favourite subject and, quite frankly, it wasn’t mine either. I much preferred science!

“Health and PE done well can be hugely influential on people’s time at school, particularly the students who are not the sportiest. Catering to the needs of all students is important to me.”

Do you share Jamie’s ambition to make difference in the lives of our school students? By studying Education at the University of Tasmania, you will gain the confidence you need to inspire the next generation.