Five years ago, I had just finished my HSC, got that hard-earned ATAR and had been accepted into my dream course at university: teaching. People – including teachers – questioned why I wouldn’t pursue a higher-paid, more “noble” career in medicine or law, when I had the marks to be ‘so much more than a teacher.’
They failed to realise that it wasn’t my marks, the money or the status that made me passionate about teaching. There was a fire in my belly that many people take a lifetime of job-hopping to find. Teaching was what I was born to do.
While my four years at uni came with their own personal challenges, I flew through my degree with great marks, prestigious awards and offers for post-graduate study. Teaching was going to be a breeze – or so I thought.
In late December 2015, I was one of only 30 per cent of graduate teachers to be offered a permanent position in a government school straight out of uni. I was so grateful, knowing many teachers wait their whole careers for a look-in at permanency. I packed up everything I had and moved away from everyone I loved to start my career in the country.
I spent weeks categorising cool lesson ideas on Pinterest boards and meticulously cutting, pasting, folding and hanging classroom decorations. I spent hundreds of dollars from my casual summer job on books, pens, folders, scissors and glue. I moved the desks on my classroom about 12 times before a student even sat in them. I spent hours upon hours planning for the year ahead, completely overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of me.
By the time I started school, I was nervous, tired, but most of all, excited. I threw myself in the deep end and rode the high of first day adrenaline for as long as I possibly could.