International student, Fikan, moved from Indonesia to pursue his teaching career by enrolling on our Master of Teaching (Early Childhood & Primary). Traditionally a female-dominated field, Fikan aims to "bring more equal representation" to early childhood teaching while "enhancing the quality of early childhood education back in Indonesia."
Q: Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?
I studied English Linguistics at Maranatha Christian University in Bandung, Indonesia. Before graduating in 2014, I had experienced teaching Vocal and Music classes at some music schools and institutions in Bandung and Jakarta. Right after graduation, I landed a job as an English teacher at a premium English course in Jakarta. Having had a series of the aforementioned teaching experience, I should have seen it coming that teaching has always been something I’d love to do in life; however, it was not until when I worked in a completely different field—communication and marketing—that I felt my true calling for teaching.
Q: Why did you choose to study at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
Working in marketing at an Australian early childhood and primary school in Jakarta, I began to get exposed to the Australian system of education, and later on grew interest in taking part in practice as an actual early childhood and primary school educator. This interest led me to my listing the most suitable programs that might get me to my goal. Ultimately, knowing that the respectable Melbourne Graduate School of Education offered the Master of Teaching program with various cohorts I could choose from—one of them being a combination of Early Childhood and Primary, which was perfect for my goal—I decided to submit an application.
Q: Why did you choose to study your program?
Early childhood education in my home country is still developing, and professionally is pretty much a female-dominant area. It has been my intention to bring more equal representation to the field while enhancing the quality of early childhood education in Indonesia with many insights I could get from studying and living overseas. Then I asked myself why stopping at early childhood when I could also expand my skills to teach children of primary ages.
Q: Are you enjoying studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
So far, it has been an enjoyable experience, even in adverse times. Even though we as students come from different educational, professional, and cultural backgrounds, we have been ably supported by the university and the faculty in many aspects such as academic writing, use of technology that enriches a student's learning experience, and access to abundant learning and teaching resources. There is also a peer mentoring program that enables our learning from more experienced teacher candidates.
Q: What’s the most valuable/rewarding aspect of your program?
Teacher candidates are given the opportunity to experience hands-on teaching activities during placements allocated throughout the program; hence, upon graduating, we are expected to be well prepared and equipped with real experiences to fully practice better as professionals.
Q: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting the course?
Learning how complex an education system can be, I am certain that deeply familiarising myself with the Australian way of conducting education would benefit me more. I wish I had equipped myself with more information about the learning frameworks, indigenous histories and stories, and many other cultural aspects of Australia before starting my course, so that I would be able to sail through the course more smoothly.
Q: Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?
I have decided not to be involved in any extra-curricular activities in my first semester in order to focus better on getting a grip of my course; however, I am looking forward to joining a choir—for I have been singing all the time since my undergraduate year—when I have adjusted well with the rhythm of my study. Before my course started, I got a chance to volunteer for a seminar hosted by Indonesian Forum and LPDP University of Melbourne. I hope there will be some more future events I could get involved in.
Q: How do you hope your course will help your career progression?
I am hopeful that this course will lead me to a better teaching career. It certainly helps me understand my worldview better, and the skills I will have obtained upon graduating surely will be optimal to be used in any education field I choose to work at.
Q: What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?
I hope to be an educator who is able to provide equal opportunities to my students. As an international student fully sponsored by my country’s government, I wish to contribute to the development of education in Indonesia. Also, for I will be more experienced in teaching in international settings after finishing this course, I am happy to explore the opportunity to teach in many places around the world after successfully elevating the national standard of education in my home country.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting your course?
I would strongly advise that you start building your enthusiasm in reading, and exercising your critical thinking, as these help a lot throughout your course.