Hayley Strickland | Alumni | Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Hayley is a secondary school teacher at a regional school in Victoria. After graduating from the University of Melbourne with an Arts degree – and a stint in London – she returned to begin a Master of Teaching (Secondary) at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Hayley believes that regional schools have their own advantages, "There are a lot more professional development opportunities at a regional school due to smaller numbers and fewer staff wanting to take on leadership roles, and I have taken every opportunity that has come my way."

Q. Can you briefly outline your life prior to studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?

I completed high school at Mount Eliza Secondary College on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. I then completed my undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications), Diploma in Modern Languages (Indonesian)) through Melbourne University and graduated in 2013. During the latter half of 2012, I studied abroad at the University of Virginia, United States (with the help of a Mobility Award). During my time there I befriended a group of girls from London who I became really close with.

After I graduated, I moved to London. I lived with my friends and travelled around Europe for two years. I worked as a teaching assistant at a primary school in Streatham, London for most of this time too. Then I returned to Australia in 2016 to gain the units I needed to be able to teach English and maths at a secondary level. In 2018, I enrolled in the Master of Teaching (Secondary) program (specialising in English and maths) and graduated in mid-2019.

Did you study full time or part time while you were studying at Melbourne Graduate School of Education?

I worked part time as a nanny and babysitter, as I could say yes to clients based on my schedule.

Why did you choose to study your main program at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?

I completed my undergrad at Melbourne University and enjoyed it. I love the campus and city life and culture that surrounds it. Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) had the best reputation at the time, and I wanted their name on my teaching certificate as I plan to work and teach overseas (after the COVID pandemic ends).

Did you enjoy studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?

I really liked the learning environment – lots of places to study, eat and meet up with friends. It was nice being surrounded by like-minded people who were all experiencing the same things as you. There was definitely a difference between my undergrad and my graduate degrees – I felt a greater sense of belonging at MGSE. The staff were also fantastic – very knowledgeable, honest and it felt like they were actually preparing you for the real world of teaching.

What was the most valuable/rewarding aspect of your program?

The skills and knowledge that I have been equipped with through subject content have meant that I have walked into job interviews and workplaces knowing that I have a lot to offer.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before studying the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?

I wish I’d sought more support and expertise from the teaching staff.

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

At the moment, I am teaching at a school in regional Victoria – along the New South Wales/Victorian border. It is a small school, l and I think that has made my professional growth quick. There are a lot more professional development opportunities at a regional school due to smaller numbers and fewer staff wanting to take on leadership roles, and I have taken every opportunity that has come my way. I really want to take these skills and work overseas.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for your program at Melbourne Graduate School of Education?

If you like kids and want to play a role in their personal growth, then go for it! The actual program is demanding but it’s fun, engaging and you’re really grateful for it when you step foot into the classroom.

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

Just like all teachers, I want to acknowledge that no matter how many times and ways teachers give a task instruction a student will always ask, “What are we meant to be doing?” I’d like teachers to remember that the relationship they have with their students is fundamental to success.

Can you share something interesting about yourself?

Taylor Swift is the greatest songwriter to ever exist, and I’ll make sure every student I teach either remembers me, or that fact!

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