After completing studies in a range of fields, Alexandra is pursuing her love of working with children on the Master of Teaching (Primary). Like many students, she shares that teacher placement has been a defining part of her studies. Alexandra, who is enrolled on the research pathway of her course, was awarded the Suzanne and Geoffrey Dawson Scholarship.
Q: Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?
After completing my secondary schooling at a performing arts high school in Sydney, I moved interstate to complete my Bachelor of Music through the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne.
During that time, I was exposed to a variety of subjects and academic experiences that were stimulating and exciting. While I initially entered the degree hoping to pursue performance on classical piano, I developed a love for the historical, cultural, and social context of music, and ultimately focused my studies towards musicology.
After graduating I took some time to work and record an E.P. with a band I was working with in Melbourne. I then started working as a piano, vocal and guitar tutor across schools in South-Western regional Victoria. While working as a music tutor, I completed an honours year for my Bachelor of Music through the University of New England, where my thesis explored the canonical significance of David Bowie.
Following my honours, I commenced a Bachelor of Psychological Science through Deakin University. While completing this degree I started work as an applied behavioural analysis therapist, working with a child living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, to support the development social skills and management of anxiety. Towards the end of my psychology degree I applied and was accepted into postgraduate study in both psychology and teaching, and chose to purse teaching.
Q: Why did you choose to study at the Faculty of Education?
The Faculty of Education stood out to me as the best option for both practical teaching and academic development. Having completed undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne, and enjoying being part of such a diverse community dedicated to learning, I was excited by the prospect of completing postgraduate studies at a renowned institute.
Q: Why did you choose to study your program?
I chose to study primary teaching based on my love of working with primary aged children. Working as a music tutor for ten years, and also as a behavioural therapist, and even a children’s entertainer for a time, I realised I could develop a natural rapport with children. I always wanted to be a teacher and taking the time to work out where my skills and experience would be best suited ultimately lead me to primary teaching.
Q: Do you mind sharing which Scholarship you were awarded?
I was awarded the Suzanne and Geoffrey Dawson Scholarship. As I am pursuing the research pathway within the MTeach, the financial support provided by the scholarship has afforded me the time to focus solely on my research and academic study. It has also enabled me to start building a collection of educational resources and books to support my early teaching career. Being granted this award has been incredibly humbling and has provided me with the motivation to keep striving for my best within the MTeach course.
Q: Are you enjoying studying at the Faculty of Education?
The Faculty of Education is an incredible place to study and continues to provide an experience that is stimulating and enjoyable. I have loved learning from world experts, developing my teaching practice, and being exposed to a wide range of resources to support my progression throughout the course. The opportunity to develop professional relationships with academic staff and friendships among peers and colleagues has also been a highlight of studying at the Faculty of Education, and being surrounded by like-minded people has added to my enjoyment throughout my time here.
Q: What’s the most valuable/rewarding aspect of your program?
The most rewarding and valuable aspect of the MTeach program is placement. Gaining hands-on teaching experience so early in the course is a great way to apply the theoretical knowledge you have learnt and to make connections between both academic and practical learning. It is also the most rewarding experience because you can see growth in not only your students, but in yourself too. The placement experiences afford you with a sense of purpose and achievement, and this is incredibly motivating as you progress through the course.
Q: How do you hope your course will help your career progression?
I know that by studying the MTeach at Melbourne I have gained the skills and knowledge I need to work in various primary school settings across the country. Upon graduating I hope to gain employment as a full-time teacher in a regional or rural school, and my study has given me the confidence to start a career in these unique settings.
Q: What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?
Initially I hope to gain employment as a full-time primary teacher and continue to develop my teaching practice. I also hope to return to study in the future and complete a PhD, potentially in an area linked to the research I have done during the course. I feel it is important to be both a practitioner and researcher in education, to be both on the ground and to contribute to the developing knowledge base, so I hope I can pursue both areas and give back to a field that has given me so much as a student.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for your scholarship?
In applying for the Suzanne and Geoffrey Dawson scholarship, I found it beneficial to have a clear idea of the research I wanted to complete. I have a genuine desire to provide opportunity and support to students who are educationally disadvantaged and my research is focused on the literacy outcomes of Indigenous Australian students. As the scholarships supports students who are striving to make a difference in disadvantaged communities, I feel it was important to highlight my passion for enacting change and developing new ideas.