This year’s inaugural Beginning Teachers’ Conference hosted 200 final-year RMIT primary education students for a day of panels and workshops.
Held at Hazel Glenn College in Doreen, the conference assisted RMIT’s new teachers transition into the workforce by introducing them to principals, graduate teachers, and more. The event was organised by RMIT education staff, the Beginning Teachers’ Conference Committee, and the leadership at Hazel Glenn College.
We spoke with Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) student and conference committee member Claire Jackson on how she’s negotiating completing her studies and stepping into her career in education, and how the Beginning Teachers’ Conference put the finishing touches on education students’ career preparations.
Why did you choose to study primary education?
I chose primary education as a career because I have a love of learning and I want to inspire a love of learning in students. All children deserve a high-quality education, and I believe that RMIT has equipped me with the essential knowledge and skills required to be a successful teacher.
Teaching is an extremely rewarding profession and I cannot imagine a career in any other field.
What fears do new teachers face?
There are several fears pre-service teachers have when entering the workforce. These include not being able to effectively manage the more complex and challenging behaviours that may arise, from both students and parents, in a diverse class, especially in the upper years.
Beginning teachers are also concerned with not being able to engage students, form positive relationships or maintain respect from students and fellow staff.
Why is the Beginning Teachers’ Conference important for final-year students?
The conference hosts a panel of principals who will be given an opportunity to speak, answer questions and give important guidance to students at the dawn of their careers.
They also conduct workshops on current issues schools believe are of significant importance. Such topics may include developing relationships with students and parents, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), inclusive education and more. This means students understand the current education climate and can enter interviews and industry with confidence.
RMIT graduate teachers spoke at the conference, reflecting on their experiences of applying for teaching positions, and the challenges of their first year as a teacher.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for pre-service teachers to directly ask principals and teachers for advice and opinions relating to any aspect of education.
How does RMIT prepare you for your teaching career?
My program has strong links between theory and practice, ensuring that the courses and content at university are relevant and directly linked to the classroom. As a final-year student, I feel as though my confidence both at university and in the classroom has been significantly enhanced by the Teaching Academy, where students complete three placement subjects over two years.
At RMIT, you learn from expert teachers yourself. We’re taught by experts in specific areas of education from which we can model our own practice, as well practising teachers who are currently teaching and applying the pedagogies that we are exploring. There is support after graduation too, with the careers group at RMIT offering assistance for two years following graduation.
What do you love most about education?
Education is a powerful entity that opens up a world of opportunities for students. Witnessing the growth and development of students, and having a positive impact on their lives, is the most incredible and rewarding experience.
The classroom is an exciting, engaging and dynamic environment, where no two days will ever be the same.
Education also has many avenues, therefore a career in education will provide an endless array of opportunities for personal growth and development.