Towards teaching excellence
Graduating high school with an OP 2, Candice Brazier had her pick of careers. While she was leaning towards a career in law, her love of meeting new people and exploring new places led her to choose teaching instead.
"I was going to do Law and Environmental Science and then just at the end of Grade 12 I had a thought – if I do this I am going to end up in an office somewhere just working with paper all the time," Candice says.
"Instead, if I choose teaching, then I will be able to help people and I will always be interacting with different people."
Candice had a similarly career defining moment when she first heard about the Teacher Education Centre of Excellence (TECE) program while in her third year of her teaching degree at Queensland University of Technology.
The TECE program was established to improve the professional experience component of initial teacher education programs. Each TECE has a specific focus aimed at identifying and developing high quality preservice teachers for employment in high priority state schools across Queensland.
Embarking on the final year of her teaching degree, with a goal to teach rurally after graduating, Candice applied and was accepted into the Kelvin Grove Teacher Education Centre of Excellence (KGTECE), based at Kelvin Grove State College.
Candice says that joining a group of other high-achieving preservice teachers and being paired with a teacher mentor for 150 hours of mentoring proved to be an invaluable experience.
"The best part of the program was the extra time in schools, with someone who wasn't grading you. Someone you know and could teach with, talk to and plan with."
"Our program involved a two-hour tuition every Thursday night. We also did one of our subjects through KGTECE, as well as an inclusive education subject together.
"It was a big commitment, but we were assured permanency straight away so with the extra expectations, there was extra support to go with it. So it went hand in hand."
Candice says that it was this extra support and the relationships forged through the program that made a real difference when she took her first teaching role at Charleville State High School.
"The relationships we made with each other were probably the most important part, especially when we became first-year teachers. When you needed to talk to anyone, you had those friendships and people going through the same thing as you."
After completing her two years' service at Charleville, Candice transferred to Lockyer District High School and is aiming to stay there while she completes her Masters in Maths and Statistics. After this she plans to teach in North Queensland.
Candice admits that teaching in a small rural school straight out of university is daunting, but the that TECE program equipped her with the support network and skills to succeed and enjoy the challenge.
"Out in Charleville, we had 20 teachers on staff and half of us were in our first or second year. The people that are staying out there are very hardworking and very committed to what they are doing so you end up working with a wonderful group of people.
"You support each other emotionally because they are the only people you know within 900 kilometres – you become more than colleagues. You've got to be the family, you've got to be friends, you've got to be absolutely everything to a handful of people."
"It is fun and it is something you look back on, even though it was really hard, and say 'I am so proud of myself for how I grew up'. It's a wonderful experience."
Get a head start on your teaching career and secure employment while you're still studying apply for the TECE program.
Article originally published on Teach Queensland News and Jobs, November 2016.