JJ Zhang | Student | Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Jiajun Zhang is a Master of Teaching (Secondary) student, teaching Mathematics and Junior Commerce. He chose these subjects in order to boost his students' confidence in learning Mathematics, helping them realise its importance and changing their perspective.

I studied the Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne and really enjoyed the environment and services. The Melbourne Graduate School of Education is a globally reputable faculty and I chose to study here because I believe it'll help me to achieve my career goals and fulfil my passion for education.

With past experiences in small group tutoring, I grew a passion for helping young children to reach for further goals and maximise their potential during their school years.

I really enjoy building positive relationships with the students and the sense of accomplishment they get after learning something new.

The most valuable part of the course so far has definitely been the tutors and seminar leaders. They are really supportive and knowledgeable and are willing to guide us academically, as well as sharing wisdom on how to become a successful teacher from their personal experience.

I also value the mentors I have had during my placements. Nothing compares learning to practical on-site teaching, and the placement program has been an integral part of my learning – putting theories into practice. I have learnt so much within a short period, gaining insight from mentors and maturing my own skill-sets.

Being a teacher or educator for young people means you can be an enabler and help realise their talents and potential.

The most challenging aspect is the workload and expectations of us as postgraduate degree students. There are times where we would have conflicts between classes, assignments and daily life which do create stressful situations. However, to overcome these, I have learnt that time management and planning ahead are key habits to have.

There are challenges no matter which program or course you take. However, the rewards and experiences from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education are precious, with a lesson learnt every day.

My study area is Mathematics and coming from a similar background in my undergraduate degree, I believe that the most important aspect of teaching within this area is to let the students ponder and dissect the questions, rather than to be given the answer.

Mathematical concepts are never the easiest for students to understand at first glance, and it is our responsibility to support them the best way possible, encouraging them to break through challenges.

This form of character building does not just exist within the Mathematical study area. I've found I have been there to support students in general so they are able to gain the confidence in their own problem solving skills, which they can then take through to fulfilling their careers.

The first time I went into the classroom as a teacher I was nervous. However, because I used to tutor small groups of children that helped me prepare both mentally and physically.

Having equipment ready, including whiteboard markers, presentations and specific materials required for the class (e.g. worksheets), and rehearsing about what to talk about can be hard for new teachers.

However, the Master of Teaching has helped me find a tone or voice for teaching and being prepared for unexpected questions and moments.

In the future, I think I want to do more research in the area of education, so that I can understand what role I can take or methodologies to implement in order to assist students in improving their learning skill-sets.

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