After her undergraduate studies and travelling to the UK and US, Ruth enrolled on the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Internship (MTSI). Aspiring to become a specialist or leading teacher in her field, Ruth has found the internship exhilarating and challenging, with a highlight being the strong relationships forged with her school, fellow peers and students.
Q: Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?
Before starting MTSI I had done all kinds of different things with my life. I graduated High School 2009 from The Geelong College and immediately took a gap year in England. I worked in the Lake District for 12 months as a Junior House Assistant before coming back to Australia and doing my Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne. Throughout this course, I got heavily involved in the theatre department of UMSU and ended up working on multiple productions a semester. I really wasn’t enjoying studying Science as much as I loved being in the theatre and working backstage, so after finishing my Science degree, I moved the VCA and did a Bachelor of Fine Arts, this time majoring in Production (Stage Management). Whilst I love the theatre and working backstage, I eventually began to struggle with the freelance life and at the same time received a job offer to work at Disney World in Orlando. I ended up taking the job and moving to America for 10 months while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. It was a definite quarter life crisis, but one with Mickey Mouse so worth it!
Q: Why did you choose to study your program at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
I’d previously been accepted into the mainstream Master of Teaching at the end of my Science degree but had decided to pursue theatre instead. When I got back from America, I started looking into different courses but was drawn back to my alma mater. I specifically chose the Melbourne Graduate School of Education as it is one of only a few institutions offering Teaching as an internship program, rather than the traditional delivery of on campus classes and school placements.
Q: Are you enjoying studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
Yes! I like the intensity of the content delivery and the freedom in assessments of the MSTI. The initial six week intensive was very full on, and the following one-week intensives in winter and summer holidays have been equally as concentrated. Because time on campus is limited throughout this course, content is delivered concisely. I’ve found this style of content delivery more engaging that my undergraduate degree, I simply don’t have time to tune out! I’ve also really enjoyed the freedom given through assessments. Assessments allow for choice of topic that means we can make the content relevant to our schools and contexts.
Because we’re in our schools for the full duration of the course, I have had the opportunity to implement what I’m learning about through the intensives and when researching for assignments over an extended period of time, with students that I know. There’s so much to navigate when you start at a new school, or a new placement that having that consistency of knowing the school context and the students, means that I’m able to focus purposefully on improving my teaching rather than having to juggle building rapport, new school policies and layouts, as well as practicing the actual teaching!
Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of your program?
The longer placements in schools also mean that I’ve been able to build really strong relationships with the other teachers in my team and with the students. My favourite part of my job (and my program, they’re so closely linked) is seeing the kids' eyes light up with that “ah-ha!” moment when something that they’ve been grappling with finally clicks into place.
Q: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting the course?
That there’s a real difference between knowing something in your head and actually experiencing it! I was very aware that this program would be full-on, but I’ve still definitely been challenged. I’m really lucky that within my cohort I’ve made a few really amazing friends and the thing that stands out is that everyone is challenged in their own way.
Q: Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?
Because the MTSI is largely off campus, I don’t participate in uni social life as much as I used to during my undergraduate degrees, instead, I’m part of an amazing school community.
Q: How do you hope your course will help your career progression? What do you hope is the next step?
Eventually, I’d really like to be a specialist or leading teacher in the future and I think that the ability to pick subjects and assignments that interest me will give me a solid foundation for this trajectory. In the meantime, I’m really enjoying developing my teaching skills and I’m looking forward to continuing my journey and applying my learning in my classroom.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting your course?
There are so many rewarding opportunities at your placement school and you get so much support from the MGSE, your school, and your cohort that there’s always people who you can turn to for support and guidance. It can be challenging but if you’re curious, it’s worth finding out more!