Ben Collins | Student | Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Ben (he/him), a keen rugby union player, started coaching after an injury. His enjoyment for coaching eventually led him to begin a Master of Teaching (Secondary) at the Faculty of Education.

Q: Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?

Before beginning my Master of Teaching (Secondary), I had graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts – majoring in Geography. I went to an independent school in Melbourne, where I developed a passion for the Humanities – namely Geography and Economics. Similarly, prior to studying at the Faculty of Education, I was a keen rugby union player – captaining the University of Melbourne’s First XV, playing for the Melbourne Rebels Under 20s, and representing Australian Universities in Rugby Sevens at the World University Games.

Q: Are you studying full time or part time? Do you have any other commitments outside of your studies?

I am a full-time student at the Faculty of Education. I appreciate the time I have received to study the craft of teaching – where I feel beyond prepared to begin a career as a secondary school educator. Along with my post-graduate course, I am the co-coach of a school’s year 7 rugby team as well as the Victorian Rugby Union Under 13 State Team. Once a week, I also work at a restaurant in Mordialloc.

Q: Why did you choose to study your main study program at the Faculty of Education?

After putting my rugby-playing days on pause due to injury, I developed a love for coaching. Coaching led me to realise the joy I receive in helping others achieve their respective goals – a notion that led me directly to teaching. I chose the Faculty of Education’s program due to its facilities, staff and the reputation that precedes it – factors that I have benefited from, even in a remote setting. As a secondary teacher, with the learning areas of Humanities and Psychology, I could not imagine how I could feel more prepared to find work and begin in my career.

Q: Do you enjoy studying at the Faculty of Education??

The time I have spent at the Faculty of Education has been rewarding. The first five weeks of class, prior to the multiple lockdowns Melbourne endured, were some of my favourite memories spent at university. I have never felt so comfortable in a course, making many friends and absorbing an array of information from my knowledgeable tutors every seminar. Although remote learning has brought its challenges, the staff at Faculty of Education have been nothing but professional in adapting the course to meet our needs in a Zoom setting.

Q: What is the most valuable/rewarding aspect of your program?

What I find most rewarding is the real-life application of what I learn. A frustrating aspect of learning is where you can't see the wood for the trees, struggling to find the relevance of content. However, everything I learn has been tailored to be directly applied in a schooling setting. Whether I’m on placement, or even in a coaching setting, the skills and knowledge I have developed over this course have been directly transferrable.

Q: What inspired you to study at the Faculty of Education?

A friend of mine was studying to be a primary school teacher in the Faculty of Education’s Master of Teaching (Primary). The fondness in which he spoke of his course, along with the energy he had, was inspirational. He was fulfilled in his pursuit of being a primary school educator. As someone who was on the edge of pursuing a life as a teacher, and needed very little convincing, I set about finding out how I could enrol at the Faculty of Education straight away.

Q: Is there anything you wish you’d known before studying the Faculty of Education?

I wish I’d known that I don’t have to know everything now. When I was at school, I saw great teachers everywhere I looked. Whilst this inspired me to pursue this career, I believe it made me impatient in my pursuit of being a great teacher. However, as I’ve grown as an educator, I’ve learned that it’s okay to make mistakes – to learn via trial and error. I’ve loved the experience I’ve gained at my placement schools, as I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in my course and hone my craft – assisted by my patient and knowledgeable mentors.

Q: What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?

After graduation, I hope to find work in 2022. I have thoroughly enjoyed my Master of Teaching (Secondary), however, I cannot wait to get out and into a school and help shape the next generation of young people to tackle the world that awaits them.

Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for your program at the Faculty of Education?

Talk to teachers that you have had in the past. If hearing from those who work at a school interests you, and it doesn’t scare you away, go for it. It’s a challenging course (at times) – but what fulfilling thing in life isn’t? I’ve made some great friends, been educated by some of Australia’s best teachers, and cannot express just how prepared I feel to begin my journey as a secondary school teacher.

Q: What change in education are you hoping to bring about/or see during your career?

I want to be prepared, be engaged, and at all times, be responsive to classroom dynamics. I acknowledge every student has a unique learning style. All students deserve to feel confident and should be provided with the opportunity to work to their optimum potential. I recognise cooperative learning is an essential component of today’s classroom – preparing students for life beyond the classroom. I want to create a classroom environment where students feel safe, respected and intellectually stimulated.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself?

I love golf. I am an awful golfer, but for some reason... I just love it. I’ve also been to Namibia (playing rugby). Maybe if I could play golf in Namibia – I could die a happy man.

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