Originally from the Philippines, busy mum Maria Frial relocated to Australia with her family in order to study the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood) at the University of Melbourne.
I started as a primary teacher in 2003 and since then worked as a preschool teacher and even as a principal until 2017. I am married, and am a mother to a six-year old daughter and a soon-to-be two-year old boy.
I chose to study at the Faculty of Education because it is recognised as the top university for Education in Australia. Melbourne was also the most ideal place for me because I intended my family to come along.
Teaching is what I have been doing for over fourteen years. It has always stimulated me and has brought me great joy and satisfaction. I wanted to continue to challenge myself, to broaden my perspectives.
Given that I had worked in various teaching roles these past years, I felt like it was high time to 'upgrade' in terms of the knowledge and skills necessary to be a relevant, engaging and exemplary teacher and director.
The most valuable aspects of the Master of Teaching at the Faculty of Education are definitely the new perspectives, diverse culture and up-to-date evidence-based teaching strategies I am continuously being exposed to. I am constantly being held to the highest of standards, yet am also reminded of the importance of self-reflection in the teaching cycle.
One of the most challenging aspects of the course, however, has been adjusting to the differences in Australian education and teaching. For me, these difficulties included adapting to the differences in pedagogy, culture and perspectives. I've also had to juggle family responsibilities alongside being a full-time student.
Yet, having gone through another masters program back in the Philippines, as well as having taught young children for many years, I did feel confident and prepared coming into this program. It was still a humbling experience to continue to learn about Australia's pedagogy, curriculum and culture.
I am extremely grateful for the challenge and the genuine learning experiences the program has imparted thus far. I believe the program is relevant and thorough, and implemented by instructors who are highly knowledgeable and credible in the area of education.
My next steps would be to gain more experience as an Early Childhood teacher during my placements. After which, I would perhaps consider returning to the Philippines and apply my knowledge there to improve and expand my preschool – or I could remain in Melbourne and gain experience to ultimately start and lead my own childcare centre.
For students thinking about pursuing a career in teaching, I would say to go for it. The Faculty of Education is one of the best for a reason.
You will be challenged and at times you may doubt yourself and your capabilities, but if you take it one day at a time and keep an open and learning mindset, you will come out more confident and highly equipped to do the most important task ever: helping young individuals grow and better themselves every day.