01 June 2018

Shonah Wraith’s journey to a career in teaching certainly wasn’t straightforward. In fact, the QUT Bachelor of Education (Primary) student almost lived nine lives before undertaking her degree.

“I wandered down a number of paths before ending up on the Education road. But many aspects of my previous careers involved some form of teaching,” said Shonah.

These paths including working in hospitality as a trainer, running her own massage therapy business, and earning a TESOL qualification to teach English around Europe where she discovered her real passion for teaching.

When Shonah returned to Australia after various teaching stints in Europe, she began her Education degree at QUT – but life got in the way.

“Exactly a week before starting uni, I met my now-husband. He was offered a post-doctoral opportunity in Paris. It was only meant to be for a year, but we ended up staying for five!”

“I continued to teach English in Paris. I got married, had two kids and lived in Melbourne for a few years before finally returning to QUT to finish the degree I started 10 years ago!”

As a mature-age student and a mother of two, Shonah was initially nervous about pursuing full-time study – but her fears were quickly squashed.

“When I got back one of my first assignments, I thought ‘Wow! I can do this’! It was a great motivator to keep going.”

Shonah’s study experience hasn’t been without challenges, pointing to one example when she had to do a second-year subject in her first year.

“It was a huge struggle for me. I felt very unprepared and nearly dropped the subject. But after seeking great advice and support from my lecturer and tutor, I persevered and excelled.”

Shonah said the support from QUT staff, family and friends helped her succeed.

“The support that was continually offered through every unit was phenomenal. There was always a place to go and someone to talk to when I needed.” 

In the end, the work and dedication paid off. In 2017, Shonah was recognised as an Executive Dean’s Scholar for high-achieving students.

“Funnily enough, when I started uni back in 2007 (before life got in the way!) I joked with friends about being a Dean’s Scholar. And now I am one!”

“I am extremely proud. Not only for myself, but for all the people who helped me get here. It made all the hard moments, late nights, and early mornings worth it.”

Shonah is looking forward to her future – while she knows she can’t change the world, she said her main goal as a teacher is to make a small difference in children’s lives.

“I want to show young people, especially girls, that if you put in enough effort and have enough persistence and resilience you can make it. And then maybe they can change the world!”

Bachelor of Education (Primary) student Shonah Wraith was recognised as an Executive Dean's Scholar in 2017.


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