Master of Teaching (Secondary)
As soon as I was eighteen, I moved out of home and joined the military. We did our basic training in Kapooka–about 15km out of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. Kapooka was basically where all recruits go to do their basic training, no matter where you’re from. I spent eight weeks there and finished my basic training on my nineteenth birthday so it was kind of like a birthday present to myself.
After training, I became a truckie in the army. That was awesome in itself because I got to travel all over Australia and even did a couple of deployments overseas. I did some peacekeeping operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands. It was my first time overseas but obviously it was for work so it wasn’t exactly a paid holiday. But the Solomon Islands I really enjoyed. We did a joint operation with the Solomon Islander army and helped to train them up so they could manage their own people. They were at a time when there was a lot of civil unrest. It was a cool experience. I managed to get my scuba-diving ticket while I was over there and, because we had most of our weekends off, we basically spent that exploring the island.
I was in the army for about seven years. After I left, I moved back home to Mildura and went into personal training, working in a gym, for about a year. I really liked it but needed an excuse to get out of Mildura again. I’d been to most of the capital cities in Australia with the army. Except Adelaide. So I decided to make the big move. I just needed a new place to start over where no one knew me and I could just basically build myself up from the ground again. This is when I decided to go to uni.
When I was at school, I was one of those students that fell between the cracks. I didn’t excel but I didn’t fail. I was kind of in the middle and, because of that, I never really got the attention that I maybe needed. So when it came to Years 11 and 12, I really struggled with writing essays and, when I came to uni, I had to basically reconstruct myself and teach myself how to write an essay because I hadn’t written one in nine years. From then, once I saw how important teaching was and saw that, when people learn something that you’ve taught them, it gives you nice, warm, fuzzy feelings inside, I think that really ignited my passion for learning and actually becoming a teacher and educator. I wanted to make sure that in the future, when I’m teaching, that each individual student gets their time in the spotlight.
Interview conducted by Geena Ho
Image supplied by Oliver White