Inspired by his mother, a former teacher, Sean decided to become an educator too – and as a lover of the performing arts, he knew he’d have no problem keeping a class engaged.
When Sean was a teenager, he vacationed in Australia with his parents. After the trip, all three of them agreed that Melbourne would be an ideal place for Sean to live and study. Just a few months later, 17-year-old Sean left his home in Guangzhou, China, and started studying at the University of Melbourne. After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts, he was in no hurry to leave. “I always believed the University of Melbourne was the right place for me,” Sean said, reflecting on his decision to continue studying at the University for his masters. “The University’s reputation will help me do the things that I want to do in the future.”
Although he was offered a scholarship for the Master of Global Media Communication, he decided to opt for a Master of Teaching (Secondary) instead. “The person who influenced me to study the Master of Teaching was my mother. She was a teacher when she was young, so she inspired me to become a teacher as well. My own experience of drama performance also helped me build the confidence to speak in front of others.”
Sean had no regrets about his choice of program. “It's one of the best decisions I have made,” he said. He found that the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) offered a good combination of academic research and practical learning. “Since I came to study at MGSE, I have learned more practical skills in my professional areas,” he said. “For instance, language teaching strategies, classroom management skills, inclusive frameworks, editing skills, study design, lesson plans, camera skills, sound and lighting, and so on.”
“The most valuable aspect of my postgraduate degree is the work experience I’ve gained through internship placements,” Sean enthused. Throughout his three placements, Sean taught English as an additional language (EAL) at high schools in Guangzhou and in Parkville, and also taught Media at a school in Toorak.
Like many students, Sean had to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on his studies. The support he received from the University helped him to continue learning with minimal disruption. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, I received three forms of financial support from the University. I received the COVID-19 student support grant, provided to international students who came back to Australia at the beginning of 2020, as well as a Welcome Grant. The University also offered financial support for students to upgrade their technical products (laptops, iPad, headphones, webcams, and so on).”
In rare moments when Sean wasn’t in the classroom either learning or teaching, the spotlight beckoned. “I’ve been interested in drama performance since my childhood. During my studies at the University of Melbourne, I participated in three stage performances at the Union House Theatre,” he said. Another of Sean’s favourite student pastimes was playing soccer. “I am a massive soccer fan. I played soccer at the University almost every weekend. Hopefully one day I can meet you guys on the soccer pitch!” he joked.
Sean advised future MGSE students to “chill!” He went on, “please be nice to yourself and strive to attain a balance between work and rest.” As for those on the fence about studying Teaching or Education, Sean advised not to overthink it. “If you think you are a confident, active, talkative, and helpful person, and you’re interested in education, just come join us!”