I kind of just lucked into getting my job this year. During my Master of Teaching degree, one of my professors at UWA told me about a mathematics one-year internship that the department was running, so it was one day a week for the whole second year of my masters. So I applied for it, got an interview and lucked it. I had this internship last year, I got to the end and they said ‘you’ve been great, do you want to stay on?’, and I said, ‘yes, awesome!’
I thought the (masters) course was really good. It’s driven by passionate people, and it’s not just the content but the style with which the course is delivered. They take a lot of different approaches that are effective classroom practice, so I think it’s well delivered.
I’m a Year 7 and 8 HASS (Humanities and Social Sciences) teacher at the moment, I’m also teaching one STEM class which is quite fun as well. They try and give you just a couple of year groups in your first year to welcome you to the school and then start spreading it out a little bit.
I don’t advertise that I’m a first-year teacher, because you sell yourself as fresh meat and you don’t really want to do that (laughs), but sometimes in a conversation it comes up. They respond well when they find out, like ‘you’ve done well for a first year out’, or ‘you’re quite calm for a first year teacher’ or ‘we’ve had first year teachers and they haven’t been especially good’, so it’s nice to hear I’m not flimsy on the outside, but I certainly am on the inside.
The most challenging things for me has been the content, getting my head around four different learning areas. I don’t have a history background, but I’m doing Year 7 and 8 history at the moment, so I’m having to learn the content before I teach it. It is a content influx. The other thing is behaviour management, so it’s a lower socio school and it is challenging at times. It’s really good coz the kids are far more earthy, they’re not like robotic private school kids, they’re easy to get along with, but at the same time their behaviour issues are definitely worse than they are at private schools.
In terms of support, everyone here’s been fantastic, they all have time, I guess because everyone at some time was a graduate, they know what that is like and so they’re more than happy to help. Especially because they’ve mastered their content, so if you have content questions, they just spew knowledge at you, which is fantastic. Even inter-department, because I did a maths internship and obviously now I’m doing HASS, but I still talk regularly with the maths teachers and still have a mentor relationship with the head of the maths dept, so that’s good for me as well.
I’m probably most enjoying this year, that it’s just something that I’ve never done before. I’m one of those people who’s stubborn to change, but when it happens I really enjoy it. I don’t know why I haven’t learned my lesson yet, I really should be more open to change, but I just love new experiences.
It’s largely as I expected, except I just thought more people would be more worried that I’m incompetent and would be checking on me, but no one seems to be really checking on me, that I’m not straight up wasting the kids’ time, wasting my own time – everyone assumes that because I got to this point I’m on the right path, which is nice in one sense, you feel independent, but at the same time it’s quite scary – like, what if missing something fundamental every day and no-one’s telling me about it? That’s the main concern, I guess. (laughs)