Why I'm finally doing a teaching degree: Wendy's story
After a decade or so of working in a range of jobs and raising two daughters, Wendy show us it's never too late to follow your passion. She's studying a teaching degree online at CDU from her home in Victoria, while juggling family and work. Here's how giving herself permission to do something she loves is preparing her for a challenging and rewarding career.
I pictured myself at age 70 serving a bag of hot chips and I knew, for me personally, this isn't where I wanted to end up.
Why did you decide to study teaching?
In my journey as a parent, I have grown to enjoy being and working with children. I love helping them reach their potential, nurture their interests and discover their strengths.
I had a defining moment that ultimately led me to study teaching. While working in hospitality, I pictured myself at age 70 serving a bag of hot chips to customers and I knew, for me personally, this isn't where I wanted to end up. I needed a career that I would enjoy; one that's challenging, but rewarding.
What's your advice to working mums considering a teaching degree?
Give yourself permission to do something you're passionate about and have a vision and a goal to achieve it. Look ahead to what you’d like to do when your children are older and more independent. My teaching degree commitments have grown with my family.
It’s never too late to study – I started my teaching degree when I was 41 years old! Like me, it may take you longer to finish your degree (I'm taking 5 years), but chip away at it and you’ll achieve your dream.
Give yourself permission to do something you're passionate about. I needed a career that'd be challenging, but rewarding.
How has starting your teaching degree later in life worked for, rather than against, you?
My career over the last 15 years has evolved as my family has grown. I have a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Arts and a self-published book under belt. I've worked as an Executive Assistant, in hospitality, as a play-group facilitator and most recently, as an integration aide at a junior school while I'm studying my teaching degree.
My past experiences have taught me to persist, get back up again and never give up as I pursue a teaching career. I've spent years interacting with people on various levels, which is helping me develop healthy relationships with my students, parents, family and colleagues. I've developed really strong organisational skills that are helping me through my studies and planning as a teacher. I have more confidence in the classroom because I've done public speaking in the past.
My past experiences have taught me to get back up again and never give up as I pursue a teaching career.
How do you juggle the pressures of study with work and family life?
In a nutshell, organisation really is the key. Studying, working and raising kids is a juggling act, but with communication, organisation and routine, my family makes it work.
My family always comes first. I do most of my study at night so I can be hands on with my young children during the day. I try to be flexible and stay a couple of weeks ahead in my study schedule, knowing that study commitments need to shift if my children are sick or other situations arise.
Study, working and raising kids is a juggling act, but with communication, organisation and routine, my family makes it work.
I've had to get creative! Mid-way through my first placement, my youngest daughter was getting upset about the change in routine, so I started a visual countdown for her to mark off, which became a fun activity.
My family has also been great with extra support during busy study times. My husband does the school pick-ups, my mum does drop-offs and before-school care has been a huge help.
Why did you choose CDU for your teaching degree?
Because I could study teaching online and part time over six years, which gave me the flexibility to fit study around family and work commitments. CDU also looked professional and like the right fit for me as a mature-aged student. I felt like I would be surrounded by like-minded peers.
How would you describe your experience at CDU?
It's been very positive and successful. There have been very few technical issues, which is so important when studying online, and the support from staff has been exceptional.
CDU is professional and the right fit for me as a mature-aged student.
What has surprised you most about your study experience?
Having not studied for 15 years and with the responsibilities of my own children, I was surprised I could still study effectively and achieve good results. It's restored my confidence.
Where to next?
I want to be a generalist teacher in junior school, with a focus on inclusive learning within mainstream schooling and catering for special needs and diverse learning abilities.
My teaching degree has taught me that diversity in the classroom should not be viewed as a problem, but rather a platform for learning. I have learnt about the importance of inclusive learning and to appreciate the cultural capital that each child brings with them to school.
Diversity in the classroom should not be viewed as a problem, but rather a platform for learning.
Ready to become a teacher? Study Education at CDU to find your new world, your way. Choose to study online, on campus, part time or full time.