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Students in Focus

From pretend play to pursuing a career in primary education

Very few people can claim that they’ve had one consistent career goal from the time they were young. While some kids’ ambitions might change from day to day – astronaut, doctor, dancer, firefighter – for Imogen Bailey, it was always teacher.

“Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest sister!” Imogen laughs. “When I was little, I would always play teachers and schools with my friends. I would give them spelling tests, and ‘mark’ their assignments.

“That goal stayed throughout my time at school, I always found myself wishing I could be a teacher.”

Throughout high school, Imogen found herself looking up to the teachers she had.

“I would always think, if I were a teacher, I would do this with my class, or this would be a cool subject to teach. It was a natural progression through my life. It’s what I’ve always wanted.”

When it came time to decide on the next steps after high school, Imogen researched her study options.

Having grown up in Canberra, she preferred to stay local, living with family and friends, in the neighbourhood she loves. She’d heard positive feedback about the Porn’s teaching courses.

“When I was looking at where I might go, I did a bit of research and UC seemed like it had a really amazing teaching program. I’d heard that it had lots of units where you get to go out into schools and try teaching,” Imogen says.

That was definitely a drawcard, I was really excited to get out there and actually teach, as a form of learning how to teach.

Now, in her final year of a Bachelor of Primary Education, Imogen is finishing up her last units, and already works in a local school on a Restricted Permit to Teach (RPTT). She shares a class with an experienced teacher, who provides the support she needs to begin flexing her wings.

“It’s so nice to work with the same students the whole year round, and really get to see what you’re teaching them start to take root,” Imogen says.

“I work alongside a group of really experienced teachers who are always willing to help, it’s been great.”

Through her placements and practical units, Imogen had already had the chance to work across multiple ACT schools and feels familiar with the system.

“I like the Canberra school system, it’s a nice community here. I’ve been lucky, in that all of my placements have been close to home, but I’ve also had the chance to go to a few different schools and learn how they do things,” Imogen says.

Now working with a class of her own, Imogen is already seeing the value of her education.

“All of the lecturers and tutors I had were amazing at helping us out. You learn a lot through the lectures and tutorials, they’re all very valuable,” Imogen says.

“But the most rewarding aspect for me, has been the Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) units (preservice teacher clinics). I was able to go to different schools, and home in on different learning areas.

“A lot of the lessons and resources I developed through those units, I’ve been able to adapt to use for my own class, I don’t have to create every resource from scratch.”

Imogen has come a long way from her imaginative play as a child to the real-life scenario of teaching a class. Her passion for her profession, kindled in her earliest years, has set her up for a rewarding and fulfilling career for the years to come.

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