About

Briefly describe your ‘Road to Damascus’ experience.  What was it that made you decide to become a teacher?  Feel free to include your background and experiences.

15 responses

30 04 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

My name is Sonal Kumar and I have always wanted to be a teacher. So far I am really enjoying my Grad Dip course in Teaching. My goal is to finally become a teacher of High School French and Business Studies.

This is my ‘road to Damascus’ experience! I am what you would classify as a ‘career changer’. I completed a 4 year Bachelors Degree in Commerce with a double major in HRM (with Honours) and Finance. Due to an unfortunate mishap with a grad program with Telstra, my HR career unexpectedy took me into the specialist area of Remuneration and Benefits. I worked for almost 4 and a half years in this area of HR (quite successfully) after coming to the realisation that the rat race and politics associated with corporate life were deeply unsatisfying and very family unfriendly! I couldn’t imagine myself continuing down this path for the rest of my life. Doing the 9 to 5 (or 9 to 7 more like), day in day out, with out any sense of achievement of having contributed to anything positive that would make a difference at the end of the day, was not where I wanted to be in my life.

The Global financial crisis came just at the right time for me! I was offerred a redundancy that made my decision to go back to full time study in Teaching a lot easier. Ironically, I was actually quite happy when I got made redundant as it was almost like the decision to pursue what I actually really wanted to do fell into my lap. So I took a leap of faith and here I am almost six months later. I am much happier and really enjoying the experience so far. A lot of people tell me that they admire the fact that I had the courage to make the change and pursue what I wanted to do. Of course the other common response from people, when they ask me what I’m doing, is a look like I’m insane followed by a comment of either “Good Luck!” or “Why would you want to do that?”!!

7 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

It’s really wonderful to hear that things worked out so well for you. How has the change from full time work to study effected the rest of your life? I was only working casually when I first graduated, yet I’m feeling the pinch of the pursestrings since returning.

-Maggie

31 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

I was worried about the transition to F/T study when I first started, but it’s like riding a bike, you never forget! I’m surprised at how I’ve slipped right back into study mode after such a long absence. But having to live on one income is a definite minus! Luckily, I have a really supportive partner.

-Sonal

28 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

Just like the old saying goes: “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” Life is very unpredictable that way. I’m glad that you made what happened to you a positive thing and look where you are right now, you’re happy and I guess that’s what’s important.

– Francis

31 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

Sonal I so admire you doing something about being unhappy in your 9-7 corporate world. I think so many people out there are unhappy with the day-to-day grind but never do anything about it. I did just three months of office work after returning from Nepal last year and that was enough for me to know I could never keep it up for years on end!
Do you find that those years of working in the corporate world bring anything extra now to your teaching? Maybe in terms of knowledge or confidence or the way you approach your teaching?
-Emily

31 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

It’s interesting you ask because I was wondering about that when I was finishing up at work. I had an interesting conversation with my boss who was also a teacher, once upon a time. He told me that it was a good thing that I didn’t go straight from school to uni, back to school again as a teacher. He said that the experience I had accumulated was worthwhile because I could give students an idea about the world of work that lies ahead for them. So basically, I could offer them insights from my experiences.

-Sonal

21 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

My name is Maggie and I’m studying to be a teacher. I have always enjoyed studying and learning new things. there is a real joy in understanding and applying this newfound knowledge to my life. I am currently in the first year of my Graduate Dipolma of Education, which i am undertaking part time.

I have grown up around teaching. My mother is a primary school teacher and I have been around teachers my whole life. During my schooling years i was often told my future was in teaching however I resistent to the idea as I did not want to become too much like my mother. Consequently, I did not study education when I first entered univeristy study, but instead did a double degree in science and arts, majoring in museum studies.

During this time I found myself increasingly involved in various kids and youth programs and ministries. By the time I graduated uni I was completely over studying and took the year off in a misguided hope of finding museum work and to focus on my various minsitry work. One thing I found was undeniable – the highlight of my week was working with the kids, I particularly enjoyed helping my mother with her class during reading groups, I was very popular as the teacher’s daugher. This is when I realised that the best thing to do would be to incorporate the two – I could work with the children’s and education programs in museums, perfect!

This idea however did have its drawbacks, primarily that to teach in a museum you need an education degree and teaching experience. That is why I’m now back at uni, trying my hardest still to not become my mother

-Maggie

31 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

I can absolutely relate to what you are saying. Sometimes when circumstances are pushing you into a certain direction, the most natural response is to resist it. But it’s so great that you found that you enjoyed it! I think we’re all lucky that we found something we enjoy and have a passion for. Most people aren’t that lucky!

-Sonal

28 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

My name is Armand Francis Sazon. I’m originally from the Philippines and just moved here in Sydney five months ago. I never imagined myself as a teacher growing up. My ambition in life was to fly airplanes and be a pilot but because of terrible tragedy concerning a family friend’s son who died in a plane crash while studying to be a pilot, I was not allowed to pursue that dream.

I never really had any back up plan aside from being a pilot and so when it was time to find a course for me in college I just put down some random courses and took the entrance exams. Fortunately I was able to get into an engineering course from one of the top schools in the country. I wasn’t really the engineer type and so after 2 years, shifted to a friend’s course which was International studies major in American studies. I finished college and planned to work in some embassy or some international company but ended up in a telecommunications company but didn’t really like it and left after a few monthes. At a friend’s suggestion, I ended up applying as an English tutor for Korean nationals and worked there for 2 years. An offer from my sister to live with her in Sydney and have a formal education in teaching encouraged me to pack my bags and leave my life and start anew and here I am, trying to be a full fledged teacher at last.

-Francis

31 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

Wow, you have worked and studied in so many different areas! I’m really sorry to hear your Plan A didn’t work out as you had hoped. But I think it takes real guts to push aside your dream and start something new. Just keep looking forward, maybe this is what you were actually meant to do.

I guess we all just have to look at it this way that everything happens for reason and have faith that it will all work out in the end.

-Sonal

31 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

So you have only been in Australia 5 months? How are you finding teaching in Australian schools and using our syllabus’ etc? Is it all quite different and strange or fairly similar to the Phillipines?
-Emily

3 06 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

@Emily: There are some similarities and differences in unis both in the Philippines and Australia. Back home, everything’s laid out in the syllabus for our course and we follow them (although some prof would totally disregard it and teach a different one). In my time, we don’t have lecture classes where there are hundreds of students. Our classes were really small in size just like our tutorial classes. But I think they’re adopting the lecture and tutorials now.

31 05 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

My name is Emily Cooper and as I am discovering about many studetn teachers, I was dead against becoming one for many years! I had watched too many suffer in my time and could not understand what would be rewarding about constantly having to coax teens into doing things they couldn’t be bothered with. But while I was at uni studying for what ended up being a long time (Degree in Social Science, then Degree in Writing) I (like Maggie) led youth kids at my church and worked with kids in Before and After School Care part time. I enjoyed this a lot more than I had anticipated, building relationships with the kids and having a positive influence on them. At the end of my two years there I travelled to Nepal where I volunteered in Kathmandu to teach orphans and school kids English and run activities for them. This was an invaluable experience and an eye-opener about the impact a committed teacher can have on students who want to learn. I returned and decided to apply for the Graduate Diploma of Education for 2010 and so far I am really enjoying it (although the workload can get a little overwhelming with prac on top!) and am confident I made the right decision.

– Emily

3 06 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

I can relate with what you said about not really intending to be a teacher when you were growing up. Things come unexpectedly to us and changes us completely and look where we both are now. I’m sure you had an amazing experience in Nepal for it to have impacted you so much. I wish I could experience the same thing.

– Francis

1 06 2010
educ107learnerbiographyproject

Hi My Name is Wendy and i am also studying to be a teacher. My background is similar to Sonal. I studied Business and majored on HRM and International Business and after working with IAG and and PWC as a resource mangement consultant for a while i also came to the conclusion that the world of corporate politics was not for me! I had always wanted to di a dip edu in my final year of study but just never got around to it. Other opportunities always seemed to come up and i didn’t want to be in the position of asking myself, “what if i had just done this…” 10 years later.

I have also partially completed an Arts degree majoring in history and would like to comeplete that in the coming years. I am happy about being in this course althought the workload is overwhelming large, the practical side of this is great. I love being able to interact with kids and facilitate their learning and development. It feels good to know that you will be able to add some value ot someones understanding of the world.

– Wendy

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