First published 10 December 2019

Shantelle Janek loved acting and storytelling at school, but it wasn’t until years later after having her own child that she realised it could be the key to a future creative career – teaching.

This week, four years of hard work will pay off when Ms Janek graduates with her Bachelor of Education (Primary) with an impressive 6.67 GPA (grade point average) and a wonderful job ahead of her for 2020 at a Brisbane private school.

She is one of more than 7000 QUT students who officially graduate in December, including almost 5000 attending 20 QUT ceremonies this week at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

At Ms Janek’s ceremony, the audience will include a very special guest – her 6-year-old daughter, Perrie.

“She’s been so supportive – she’s my best little friend really and she’s genuinely happy and excited when I get a good mark for an assignment or find out I’ve got a HD (High Distinction) for a subject,” Ms Janek said.

“Because I taught Prep as part of my teaching experience placement – and she’s in Prep – I even practised some of my lessons on her.  She says she wants to be a teacher too!”

When Ms Janek starts her new job in January, Perrie will also be there – she’s starting Year 1 at the same school.

“I made a lot of sacrifices and missed a lot of school assemblies while I was studying but assemblies are one thing I won’t miss next year!” she said.

Shantelle Janek and daughter Perrie at QUT's Education Precinct and Sphere at Kelvin Grove campus.

Ms Janek initially started studying a Bachelor of Justice but decided it “didn’t fit” with her creative drive.

“I did a diploma of business administration instead and worked in accounts and administration for a while, but I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing,” she said.

“But after I had Perrie I spent a lot more time around children and I realised that teaching was something I would love to do.

“I loved acting when I was younger, I loved storytelling, I loved being in front of people and being creative – and that’s what teachers get to do. I had never connected creativity with teaching before but once I saw the possibilities I embraced it.”

Ms Janek thrived during her teaching degree, achieving high grades and gaining valuable practical experience as a student teacher at several schools as part of her course.

She also worked as an Explore Uni student ambassador (part of QUT Equity’s Widening Participation activities) during her studies – a role that saw her visit high schools across Brisbane to share her university experiences and encourage students to consider tertiary study.

“I’m very excited about this next stage of my career,” Ms Janek said.

“I know the hard work that I’ve put in over the past four years is a reflection of my passion for teaching.  I’ve just started my holidays but I’ve already made some resources for my new class and will be starting lesson planning for next year!”

QUT Media contacts:
- Mechelle McMahon,
- Rose Trapnell, or 0407 585 901

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