Skip to main content
Start of main content

Student stories

Learning from the best to be the best: Hannah's story

This article appears in: Education
Hannah in her Class

As a teenager, Hannah wanted to become a teacher. When she failed to get the necessary scores to go to university, she parked that dream. Years later, while working in a school, Hannah’s teaching passion was reborn.

Studying a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at CDU has helped make her lifelong dream come true.

Hannah at desk in her classroom

"I started helping in classes when my children were in primary school," she says. "This led to employment in a high school as an inclusion aid."

It was during my first few years there that a teacher complimented me on my capabilities which reignited my desire to be a teacher.

With Hannah’s children at an age where they were more independent, she started exploring her options for returning to study. CDU was a standout.

“Charles Darwin University was the university of choice as it ticked every box,” says Hannah. “I’d never completed any university studies before, so was looking at an undergraduate course and only wanted to focus on secondary teaching."

CDU was the only university that offered me the secondary component, without having to give up full-time employment.

"It offered what I needed with accessible and flexible learning. I could participate on my terms; online in a part-time capacity," she adds.

The highs

Hannah experienced so many positives while studying at CDU. However, one of the life-changing highlights was receiving a scholarship through NCP to teach at the International School in Dili.

“I was a little nervous but more excited to be able to stretch myself and get out of my comfort zone,” says Hannah.

“I had great support from my lecturer and travelling with others from the university made it fun. I cannot thank Dili International School and CDU enough for the opportunity. I learnt so much about Timor’s people and our shared history and I made lifelong friends and contacts in both Australia and Timor-Leste. I hope to go back one day.”

Overcoming challenges

Studying at CDU wasn’t all smooth sailing for Hannah.

Her first few assignments proved to be steep learning curves and she often had to read widely to understand topics. However, with supportive and caring lecturers on hand, she overcame these hurdles.

She also successfully mastered the challenging juggling act of work, study and home life.

“Having a full house with four children made studying at home a challenge,” says Hannah. “When I began studying my youngest child was eight years old, but I took advice from Charles Darwin University and created a study schedule.

I set clear boundaries and made sure that when I had assignments, I didn’t leave them to the last minute. If I had family commitments, I made sure I cleared my mind of study so I could enjoy the time with family.”

Hannah’s biggest challenge during her study was when her oldest son suffered an unexpected seizure and was, subsequently, in a coma. She attributes the support of the university in helping her get through this time.

“I cannot thank the Vice Chancellor and President of the Faculty of Arts and Society enough for allowing me the space to collect my thoughts and be with my family at that time without the pressure of trying to complete my units.”

Lessons learnt

With experience behind her, what advice does Hannah offer others?

If you don’t have the study score to get into university straight out of high school don’t worry.

“Find every opportunity you can to learn in other areas and explore universities that have the criteria you’re looking for. Nothing’s ever wasted. Everything will stand in you in good stead when you’re ready.”

Hannah notes that lower than expected scores on assignments provides an opportunity to ask for feedback and improve. She also advises taking use of all support offered.

“Keep your eye on your goal, even if it takes longer than you’d hoped,” she says. “Small steps are still moving forward towards it.”

Set for success

Hannah at graduation ceramony

Since graduating, Hannah has been taking the classroom by storm.

She attributes CDU’s school placements for giving her tremendous experience and helping her secure her first teaching role.  

I’ve taken up an amazing opportunity to teach my own class at Indie School, Wodonga, which is where I did my last placement,” says Hannah.

“I now call my mentors colleagues and I can honestly say I’m where I’m meant to be.”

A special thanks

I could not have completed my eight years of study if it weren’t for Charles Darwin’s caring lecturers,” says Hannah. “I never thought of the hurdles that I’d face but having accessible support made such a difference and allowed me to just breathe.

I don’t think my lecturers will ever fully understand the gravity and power of their words and kindness. As a practicing teacher I saw what it was to be a great educator. Thank you!”

Discover your passion for teaching with an education degree from Charles Darwin University. 

Explore 300+ courses

Certificates, diplomas and degrees

Related Articles

  • Teaching student Maddy on the slopes

    Maddy found her calling on the ski slopes of Japan

    Sometimes career inspiration strikes in the unlikeliest of places. After a couple of false starts at uni, it was finding a job as a ski instructor that encouraged Maddy move to the tropics to become a primary school teacher. 

    Read more about Maddy found her calling on the ski slopes of Japan
  • Teacher Axel with chemistry class

    Axel's connecting kids with the fun side of science

    Axel knows first-hand the impact a great teacher can have on your future. He was inspired by many of his own high school teachers to pursue a career in education. Not only is Axel now forging a career as a chemistry teacher in his hometown of Darwin, but he’s also sharing his passion for STEM with the rest of the planet. 

    Read more about Axel's connecting kids with the fun side of science
  • Master of Teaching student Breanna

    Breanna felt the call of teaching pull her back to the Territory

    Darwin local Breanna wanted a taste of the big, wide world outside once she left school, but the laidback Territory lifestyle soon called her back home. With a new career plan and a scholarship or two under her belt, postgraduate teaching student Breanna can’t wait to make a positive impact on high school students in her hometown.

    Read more about Breanna felt the call of teaching pull her back to the Territory
Back to top