In 2018, three young women from the Inner West, armed with exceptional ATAR scores ventured into various streams of tertiary studies. Fast forward to 2022 and all three, friends since primary school, graduated with master’s in education disciplines.
The Westsider was interested to find out how they had arrived at this point and what was next.
When you started your tertiary studies did you expect to become an educator?
Kartiya: I have wanted to be a teacher for a long time. I applied for several undergraduate primary teaching courses, but ultimately ended up in the Bachelor of Arts because I was encouraged to not commit too early to something that might not end up being what I expected. I stumbled through undergraduate studies, trying to find things that really interested me and eventually ended up circling back to child development, learning, and teaching. I applied for the Primary and Early Childhood Teaching Masters, knowing that there would probably be more opportunities for thinking about child development in Early Childhood than in a Primary only course.
Ella: Without sounding completely naïve, I always had wanted to do something that ‘helped people’. Initially I wanted to pursue a career in NGOs and international relations, but through studying my Bachelor of Arts majoring in sociology, I realised I had more of a passion for engaging and learning with, and from, others. As an extrovert, I thought a field based on communication and interaction interested me much more than a desk job. Also graduating at the end of 2020 with the world in such very uncertain place, a profession like teaching seemed stable.
Tia: When I began my studies, I honestly expected I’d end up working in either politics or government relations work. It wasn’t until halfway through, completing electives that related to education, that I realised how much this career path intrigued me.
What drew you to education?
Tia: I felt education was a path that truly played to my strengths, and one in which I can help others. Education gives the ability to continue learning and exploring. Also, I hope I can impact students the way some of my high school teachers impacted me.
Ella: Having had the privilege of being taught by some amazing teachers, I realised those years of high school are important to help shaping and guiding the future of young people. But also, I realised that I didn’t want to stop learning either, and teaching provides constant exposure to new knowledge and learning opportunities from younger people and their experiences.
Kartiya: I always knew I would end up in education some way or another. I love learning and the excitement of knowing new things and sharing information. With perspective gained through experience at work and on placement, I found a joy in Early Childhood Education that was not so easy to find in Primary teaching. The opportunity to focus on this excitement of learning through experiences of play and through engaging with a wide range of knowledges and perspectives that draw more on the importance of holistic development and allow for learning that is guided by children’s interests is such a privilege.
Do you have a job lined up yet?
Ella: Yes. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to be teaching subjects that I’m passionate about – sociology and English!
Tia: Yes. I have a job lined up teaching in the outer west of Melbourne.
Kartiya: I’m very lucky to have a job this year as a 3-year-old kinder teacher in a fantastic Early Learning Centre near home.
What are you most looking forward to about working in your new profession?
Tia: Long term I’m unsure but going into my first year I’m looking forward to improving and gaining confidence in the classroom.
Kartiya: In my capstone project for my Masters degree, I reflected on my personal identity, thinking about myself as a learner, as a teacher, and as a woman. Unpacked this, I recognised that being and becoming yourself is an ongoing journey that I will continue to take for the rest of my life. In line with this thinking, I’m looking forward to the opportunities for personal and professional growth that come with becoming a teacher. How we as teachers model being and becoming ourselves is important in supporting children’s developing self-expressions and identities.
Ella: I’m excited by the prospect to learn new things and understand how young people are experiencing the world.