Saturday, 19 January 2013, 1.00pm
Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Graduates…
It has been a rewarding and challenging year for all who have been completing their Education studies at ECU.
For me, graduating as a teacher has meant starting a career that I have been working towards for many years, albeit in a roundabout way. I wasn't sure precisely what I wanted to do when I left school but I did know it would involve working with children.
Initially completing a traineeship in a Long Day-care service allowed me to gain experience and set new goals for the future. One of these goals was to complete a Diploma in Community Services then upgrade my qualifications to a Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood. To teach, I also needed a Graduate Diploma of Primary Education from ECU.
While working in Long Day Care I had many opportunities to liaise with local schools and join children on their orientation visits when transitioning to formal schooling. I remember fighting my way onto the bus for the very first time one very hot day with 24 very excited children. The stress of keeping a busload of preschool aged students from climbing out of their seats and running up and down the aisles on my own initially made me rethink becoming a teacher. However we made it to school and back in one piece and these experiences allowed me to visualise myself as a teacher.
The experience of studying at ECU has been very nurturing for me, and it started well before I relocated to Perth. The dedication and support of the ECU team went above and beyond what I had experienced during my previous studies. Prior to commencing at ECU I was confronted with a transcript hiccup. At the time it seemed like an insurmountable hurdle to me and I did not think I'd be able to enroll, but several emails later staff went out of their way to ensure my place at ECU was secure. I'm sure you will all agree that during the course of our studies, ECU staff have provided a wonderful support network and gone out of their way to help us all reach our fullest potential.
Study is never easy and I'm sure after enduring many sleepless nights and juggling work, family and study commitments there were times some of you thought you may not be sitting here today. However we have made it, succeeded, triumphed and occasionally fell over the finish line at the last minute. I hear that what we have endured is a breeze compared to our first year of teaching so I believe we can thank our university studies at ECU for better preparing and equipping us for the challenges to come.
Throughout the year it seemed we were all facing the same challenges becoming a teacher and one of my peers summed this up describing a day on prac "I have been sneezed on, coughed on, visited sick bay with a wounded soldier, broken up a yard brawl, taken the roll, asked the origin of my outfit and jewellery, winked at, tied ribbons in hair and solved a number of place value problems and that was all before recess. She concluded by stating, “I hope to see you all tomorrow".
And, if this did not seem like enough to have to worry about imagine the stress of knowing our Course Co-ordinator might walk into our prac class, without notice, and ask the following questions (and my Grad Dip Primary peers will remember this): What are you teaching? How will the strategies you have chosen impact positively on student achievement? And how will you be assessing learning today? Luckily some of us escaped her visit, however I am sure, like me, you prepared an answer just in case.
So, in closing, I hope like me you feel proud to be an ECU graduate and that you will be an ambassador for ECU by becoming an exemplary teacher.
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