A life-changing placement in Nepal opened Monica Lamperd's eyes to the diverse opportunities a career in teaching can offer.
After un-enrolling from a music performance degree, Monica found herself teaching music at local primary schools in Melbourne. She enjoyed helping kids achieve their goals and share in their pride and satisfaction. It occurred to her that teaching could be something she would enjoy and be good at.
“I decided to enrol in the Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) at RMIT because of the placements and international opportunities that it offered. The highlight of my studies would definitely be the placements I’ve been on," Monica said.
When you first learn about RMIT’s placement opportunities for education undergraduates, a rural village school in Nepal probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But that’s exactly where Monica found herself teaching during her third-year placement.
“It completely changed my perspective,” Monica said of her experience.
Teaching English to 20 grade-six students in a completely different cultural setting, where there are very few resources at your disposal, definitely presented some challenges. These challenges developed my flexibility, creativity and resilience. It was incredibly rewarding, and I felt that it prepared me to tackle any teaching situation I might encounter in the future.
“The country and its people made such an impact on me that, after finishing my degree, I spent another three months teaching in Nepal and have been working closely with a charity on development programs and educational initiatives.
"Teaching overseas has been the best decision I’ve ever made – it has presented me with so many opportunities since.
In terms of the courses themselves, I really enjoyed the practical nature of the assignments we worked on in the classroom. The number of essays we had to write was very minimal compared with other tasks such as writing lesson plans, writing and illustrating picture books, producing a parody news report, designing project-based learning tasks and creating hands-on math activities.
These experiences really helped to prepare me for the workforce, and I’ve implemented many of these activities in my classrooms since.
“Outside of the classroom, this degree has allowed me to develop my creativity and confidence. I’ve attained so many transferable personal and professional skills that will benefit me throughout my entire life, whether I’m in the education field or not. This is due to the high expectations set for us throughout the four-year program, and the support from staff members and tutors.
“Teaching can be one of the most challenging, exhausting and thankless jobs, but it is also, perhaps, the most rewarding and diverse career you could have. Just be prepared to work hard!
"My dream is for all children to have access to world-class education and a safe, supportive learning environment – so whatever job I end up taking on, I hope that it can be in service of this goal.
“My advice for future students would be to say yes to everything! If you’re asked to run a lunchtime activity group on a placement, say yes. If you’re asked to be involved with a student committee at university, say yes. Not only does it help you stand out among a crowd, but it will open up experiences that will contribute to your abilities and success as a teacher in future.”