Ellie Jones | Student | Master of Teaching (Secondary)

After pursuing performance studies and drama, Ellie is enrolled on our Master of Teaching (Secondary) to share her love of the arts with the next generation of students. Ellie's most rewarding experience of the course so far has been teacher placement, where she has been able to practically apply her learning from semester one.

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

I grew up in Sydney and graduated from Ravenswood School for Girls in 2013 after completing my International Baccalaureate Diploma. After high school, I was one of those students who had absolutely no idea what they wanted to do, all I knew was that I loved acting and musical theatre. I went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney with a double major in Performance Studies and English literature.

While studying at the University of Sydney, I immersed myself in drama and musical theatre and decided on completion to audition for the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) Actors Studio course and was thrilled to get in. I relished in the opportunity at NIDA to hone my craft but also felt as though I still didn't have a purpose and gradually began questioning whether this was the path I wanted to continue down.

Towards the end of the course in 2018, I became drawn to the thought of education and teaching, I come from a family of teachers and have always been passionate about working with young people.  I reflected on the joy I experienced in all my years working as a senior netball coach and volunteering for schools in their drama programs. I realised these experiences were the only times in my life where I felt I was making a difference and I became excited at the thought of supporting the growth of young people.  After all this reflection, I took the leap and started filling out applications for a Master of Teaching – a leap I am forever grateful I took.

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

Firstly, I chose the Faculty of Education because of its ranking as the number one university for education in Australia, I thought it would pretty special if I got the opportunity to study a Master of Teaching at a university with such an amazing reputation. Secondly, I was eager to move from Sydney to Melbourne for something different, I've always loved Melbourne and was very drawn to the prospect of living in what is claimed to be the 'cultural capital' city of Australia.

Q: Why did you choose to study your program?

I chose the Master of Teaching (Secondary) program because I wanted to specialize in Drama and English and because I wanted to work with adolescents. I believe secondary school is such an important time in young peoples' lives, it is often a challenging and confusing time, and teachers play such a crucial role in supporting students in their transition from adolescence to adulthood. I chose this program because I want to help my students realise their potential and support them to grow as unique individuals, capable of forging their own paths and capable of making a positive impact on the world as active and informed citizens.

Q:  Are you enjoying studying at the Faculty of Education? If so, what do you like about it?

I have had an amazing journey so far at the Faculty of Education and cannot believe that I am coming to the end of my degree already. This degree has definitely been the most rewarding and empowering journey that I have ever been on, I have finally found my true calling, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to study at the Faculty. It is such a welcoming environment and the teaching staff are nothing but dedicated and supportive of every single student. I have learnt so much about myself and who I am as a teacher and I have also made friends for life – there's something about meeting other prospective teachers, we just get each other and are so willing to support one another whenever needed. I will miss studying in the beautiful Kwong Lee Dow building and I will definitely miss quickly grabbing the odd chocolate muffin before class from the ground floor cafĂ©!

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

Placement has absolutely been the most valuable and rewarding aspect of the Master of Teaching program. You will know very quickly whether teaching is for you in this program because you are thrown straight into placement within only a few weeks of starting the course. While this was a daunting experience, I loved every moment because learning is doing and I learnt the most from being thrown into a real classroom setting. Placement is the opportunity for you to fully immerse yourself in a school environment and discover who you are as a teacher. It's so fun getting to know your students and observe the impact your teaching has on their learning; I can't quite describe the amazing feeling you get when your student grasps a concept that you taught! It's also incredibly rewarding to see your own growth in skills, knowledge and confidence as a teacher at the end of each placement.

Q: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting the course?

You will need to balance uni work with placement! Placement occurs in the middle of all your other university work and assessments and it's crucial that you keep on top of all your readings so that you don't get overwhelmed. I learnt very quickly that time management and organisational skills were an absolute necessity for both being a teacher and surviving in this course.

Q: How do you hope your course will help your career progression?

This course enables me to obtain the qualification necessary to enter the teaching profession as well as provides me with the necessary industry experience to apply for jobs. I am so grateful that I have been able to experience multiple diverse placements during this degree as this has enabled me to develop relationships with my Mentor Teachers and maintain connections with schools which will hopefully help me in the future. This course has also prepared me for the profession through developing my knowledge of the Clinical Teaching Cycle and how I can best use this to improve student learning outcomes.

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

Once I graduate, I hope to secure a full-time role teaching Drama or English to young people.  At this current point in time, my hope is that I continue to develop my pedagogical skills, knowledge and confidence as a secondary teacher and that I get to experience teaching in a whole range of different settings, including perhaps overseas. I also hope that I might return one day and complete a Master of Education in order to develop my expertise in education so that I might move on to leadership and management opportunities within schools.

I hope in the future that I will become a teacher that will inspire students to become the best versions of themselves and that I will support them in their growth as unique individuals. Whatever the future has in store for me, I am confident that I will be a dedicated teacher who is committed to life-long learning.

Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting your course?

Throw yourself into every opportunity you get!  On the second day of my first ever placement, my Mentor Teacher for drama asked me if I would like to teach the lesson and while this was incredibly scary, just picture 20 year 7 students running loose in a drama classroom, I simply took the opportunity and jumped right in. The thing about teaching is that you will always learn the most by doing so even if something scares you, take all the opportunities that come as you will grow exponentially from these experiences.

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