Gurpreet, a graduate of the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Primary), was inspired to help young children learn when she was working at an early childhood centre prior to studying.
When I was working in an early childhood centre, the relationships that I built there with the children was the reason why I wanted to teach. I wanted to be more aware of how I could help them with the certain difficulties that they were facing. That's what drew me to look into the Master of Teaching course.
My favourite part of teaching is walking into the room and seeing their faces welcoming and greeting you, knowing that you're making a difference each day.
When I decided to do my postgraduate, I wanted to go to the best place that I could. When I was researching, I found that the University of Melbourne was the best in Education. I also knew that the University of Melbourne was a great place to study, because my brother completed his Bachelor of Veterinary Science here. Knowing what he had experienced and how much he had learned, I applied to the Faculty of Education – actually, it was the only place that I applied for.
My favourite part of the course was the placements, to be honest, because while we learnt a lot in the lecture theatres, the placements were where you were pushed; where you had to prove yourself and apply all those skills you learnt from the lectures.
Something that I wish I knew before I started the course was how important partnerships are when you are teaching, because you are not just there by yourself, standing in front of all these students and children.
You have to work alongside their parents, the community, community members, and other teachers around you. That's the way it works in the course as well. You are not just a teacher candidate by yourself. You work in partnerships with others: with your lecturers, with your tutors, and with the other teacher candidates in your cohort.
So one piece of advice I would give to those thinking about studying teaching would be to reach out. I would suggest that you build a support system around you, because that's going to be very important. Even though it feels daunting at the start, make sure you start building those connections, because sometimes you might miss out on something, like a new professional development course that they attended, or some sort of learning that you could've been a part of.
When you walk into the lecture room on Day 1, remember there are all these people around you who are going through the same thing. Especially with the Master of Teaching, we've all come from different avenues of life. We want to make sure that you're not by yourself.
So when you enter the building on your first day, make sure you make an effort to reach out to others and just introduce yourself.
Having those relationships established with other teacher candidates will really help you.
What I've learned and what I've also learned from just watching my peers is that we are stronger than we believe we are. We've been pushed through this course and we've been made to excel at our best.
I know that when I go into the classroom next year, there'll be lots of things that I might be dealing with, but I know that the Master of Teaching course has prepared me to deal with whatever comes my way.