Issue 17
Monday, 09 October 2017
Charles Darwin University
Education student Joan Johnstone
Education student Joan Johnstone

Student finds special calling in education

By Ellie Turner

Joan Johnstone is building a career in educating children with special needs, in the hope that she can improve learning experiences for Northern Territory school students.

Joan, who recently completed her Certificate IV in Education Support at CDU, has been recognised for her commitment to special education with an inaugural award from the Australian Association for Special Education NT branch.

She said her own difficult experiences as a young student in the South African education system added to her desire to help future generations.

“I have first-hand insight into how struggling students may feel,” she said.

“Studying at CDU has given me the ability to assist students with additional needs. I would like to become the sort of teacher I needed, but didn’t have, when I was young.”

Joan, who arrived in Australia in 2010, said she discovered a love of working in a learning environment after she landed an administration job at Dripstone Middle School. She began studying after she became a classroom assistant at Darwin Middle School. 

Joan now works as a Special Education Support Assistant at Alawa Primary School and is in her first year of a teaching degree at CDU.