After 15 years as an event manager, Sallie decided it was time for a change after her second daughter arrived. She took the plunge and applied to study a teaching degree online at CDU, which she'd been thinking about for a while. Here's how she's putting her creativity, organisational and time management skills to task as she juggles her teaching degree, family and three jobs.
As my family changed, so did my career aspirations. Teaching is a rewarding career that fits in with family.
Why did you decide to change careers and become a teacher?
I spent 15 years in event management and I loved it, but as my family changed, so did my career aspirations. After I had my first daughter, I wasn't able to go back to event management part time.
Having my own children sparked a keen interest in how children develop and learn and I thought teaching would be a great career for me as a parent of young children. I sat on the idea for a while, but it wasn't until my second daughter was 18 months old that I took the plunge. I enrolled to study an online postgraduate teaching degree at CDU and haven't looked back.
How has your previous career given you a head start on your teaching studies?
As an event manager (and being the type of person I am), I have strong organisation skills, time management and attention to detail. This has helped me through my studies and put me in good stead to get work done on time and meet assessment criteria. It's kept my stress levels to a minimum.
I also know how important it is to keep track of good ideas. A teacher friend once told me that the greatest resource I'll ever have is other teachers - I now understand how true this is! I've created a huge folder of lesson ideas and resources during my prac periods that I can use in future.
Why did you choose CDU for your teaching degree?
I'm a working mum with a young family and CDU was one of the few universities that offered the flexibility to study teaching online when it suited me.
I also wanted to do a teaching degree that would give me as many job options as possible. CDU's early childhood degree qualifies me to teach children from zero to eight years old, so I'll be able to work in childcare, preschools or junior primary.
I wanted to do a teaching degree that would give me as many job options as possible.
How would you describe your experience at CDU?
It's been great. CDU has let me choose how to study and in a way that best suits me. I lightened my study load when I needed to and also had the option to study over the summer to fast-track my degree and finish it sooner.
The online communication tools have been a great platform for interacting with my peers and recorded lectures means I can listen to them in my own time.
I've had some really great lecturers, who know their stuff and were really supportive and understanding (especially when I had my third child).
The online communication tools have been a great platform for interacting with my peers.
As working parent, how do you balance the juggle of studying, working and family?
To say I like to be busy is an understatement! I'm working three jobs (two days a week in a preschool, casually for an event management company and after hours as a spray tan technician) and I have three young daughters.
In the beginning I took on a full-time study load, which meant studying all night, every night, just to keep up. I ended up run down and not seeing enough of my family, so I cut back to part time study, which has been a lot more manageable.
I try to do all my study on weeknights, so I can spend weekends with the family. It doesn't always happen that way, but I'm lucky to have a very supportive husband and family who make life a little easier.
What's your advice to busy parents considering a teaching degree?
If you are passionate about children and their educational needs, then go for it. Don't lose sight of the end goal: teaching is a rewarding career that fits in with family. Study is not for fainthearted, but if you keep your eye on the prize, you'll be rewarded.
Only take on as much as you can handle. Don't study full time if you can't commit the hours. Honestly, it's not worth the stress. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how long it takes you to finish your degree - it'll all be a distant memory in a few years.
Get organised, particularly during prac periods. Have the kids' (and your) things organised the night before, spend an extra half hour in the classroom to plan for the next day (because it's go, go, go when you get home) and take all the advice you can get from your mentor teacher.
Lastly, start early on assignments. The first thing I do on day one of each semester is read the assignment information, take note of the due dates and start researching the direction I want to take.
If you are passionate about children and their educational needs, then go for it. Keep your eye on the prize, you'll be rewarded.
What's surprised you most about going back to study?
I knew studying as a working parent was going to be hard, but I totally underestimated how hard! It has taken me a year longer than planned, but the end is near and I can finally see the light. I can't wait to get out there and start working as a teacher.
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.