Alice Bell

Studying the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Primary) hasn't been easy as Alice can attest to. After completing her first year, Alice reflects on how her resilience and confidence has helped her navigate the challenges - and rewards - of teaching.

When I was in the UK, I studied counselling and I worked with an organisation offering talking therapy to children. I worked in primary school with some children of 7-8 years of age and I was doing play therapy with them as a volunteer counsellor. I was really impressed by their resilience and the things they did with the play therapy in order to talk about their feelings.

I remember really enjoying being in the primary school, and so when I came to Australia two years ago, I was deciding what to do. I had been in publishing for about 25 years, and I was managing a team in publishing. The aspect of that role I most enjoyed was coaching and getting the best out of people. So I combined the two things and came up with teaching.

I was particularly attracted to the course because it takes you from the very early years - from about six months - right up to 12 years. I've learnt the progression so far from the development of children and I think that's great.

I love observing a child and seeing what really makes them tick, and then working out how I can help them to learn something based on those interests.

In the course so far, we have focus children and spend a lot of time with them. But then you've got to extend that to all the children in the class and you end up developing quite a strong relationship with the focus children.

One of the things that I've become aware of is that relationship's key - really, really important with teaching - so I love that. I love developing a relationship with the individual child and then the whole classroom, and also with the other professional staff there and the families as well. That's really important to me because it's a holistic view of the child and where they come from.

I had heard about the excellent reputation of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and I came along to an Open Day. I met some in the placement team and it just really enthused me about the practical side of it. I knew about the academic excellence of this university, and I really wanted to study here.

This course is one of the most difficult things I've ever done, but I think if you trust the teaching staff and the guidance they give you, they do prepare you to go into the classroom and to feel confident. It is very comprehensive, so trust the process and trust yourself.

I also think the course is a great way to make friends. I found my peers on the course to be really helpful. We often discuss what we might do, how we might approach something, and that's been invaluable.

You're encouraged on the course to work with others on presentations and other homework. It's really helpful because you learn as a team. We learnt that we could share information about what approaches to use and what theories to touch on. So just approaching that as a team helps.

I was in a career where I didn't feel I was making a real difference. I enjoyed publishing and I could do it really easily, but I didn't feel a challenge.

I've definitely felt a challenge since coming here to study teaching and I've learnt a lot about myself.

I think it's all about learning; learning about yourself and learning about how other people learn. I really feel passionate about that and I get a chance at the end of each semester to tell the lecturers and some of the students.

I'm doing this course because I really want to continue building resilience in children. While I've been doing this course, I've also had to be resilient myself. I've had to go deep within myself to carry on, many times. I really think that's such an important quality, and I want to build that in the children that I work with.

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