Meet Freddie

Scholarship helps Freddie on path to career dream

Freddie Reid is well on his way to becoming a passionate Indigenous educator thanks to the Pearl Duncan Teaching Scholarship.

Commencing a secondary teaching degree straight out of school more than a decade ago, it wasn't until Freddie gained experience in a variety of jobs and had a family of his own that he realised teaching was the career for him.

At the time, life got in the way of his studies and Freddie left university after 18 months. He then worked in several positions and industries, including transport and logistics, manual labour and retail, while also getting married and welcoming two young sons, now aged three and one.

"After more than a decade of many different employment environments, I finally realised that it was teaching that I really wanted to do," says Freddie.

"Having my family in my life really focused my decision and has made me want it more. It's a more meaningful and wholehearted decision. I'm not just doing it because I've finished high school and now I need to do something. I'm making a more conscious decision with what I want to do with the rest of my life, because it not only just affects me.

"I feel that teaching is a career that is extremely fulfilling and I can make a difference positively in students' lives. All students deserve the right to an equitable education from passionate educators and this is what I want to be."

Freddie is now well on his way to reaching his goal – being awarded a 2016 Pearl Duncan Teaching Scholarship to complete a Bachelor of Education – Primary at Griffith University. The Pearl Duncan Teaching Scholarship was developed to assist aspiring Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander teachers to complete their initial preservice teacher education program and make a difference in education.

"Being selected to receive the Pearl Duncan Scholarship was easily the biggest honour I have had professionally. Knowing the importance of having more Indigenous teachers within the schooling system has solidified my desire to be a strong Indigenous role model."

Freddie added that as a mature-age student, with a young family to support, the scholarship has had an even greater impact.

"It has made a huge difference for me. When I first found out that I had received the scholarship, we had all just moved in with my wife's grandmother as it was the only way we could afford for me to be at university," says Freddie.

"The funds from the scholarship go directly to text books and the cost of running and maintaining the car I use to get to and from university. I feel that without it, completing university may not have been a viable option financially. Now though, it enables me to keep at what I love doing and complete my studies."

With a desire to gain as much teaching experience before he graduates in 2018, Freddie has also been involved in the Logan City Teacher Education Centre of Excellence's Ready Set Teach program and is heading to HAN University in the Netherlands in January for three weeks of study and in-class teaching through Griffith's Study Abroad program.

"It is really going to be interesting to see and then compare schools in the Netherlands to what I'm used to seeing in Australia. I can't wait to head over," says Freddie.

By dedicating himself to his degree and the opportunities available to him, Freddie looks forward to becoming a passionate educator and role model.

"When I graduate, my aim is to have the right type of experience behind me where I can strive to be an effective beginning teacher. I would love to gain employment at a school where I can reach my full potential and make a real difference to the lives of students.

"As an Indigenous educator, I believe that it is extremely important that I have the chance to be a role model for Indigenous students that I am lucky enough to teach. I aspire to one day become a school Principal, but that is many years of hard work and dedication in front of me."

If you're an aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teacher, you may be eligible to apply for a Pearl Duncan Teaching Scholarship.

Article originally published on Teach Queensland News and Jobs, December 2016.
Last updated 08 March 2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences are warned that the following content may contain images of deceased persons.

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of this land.