Zoe Land, 28 April, 2022
After studying wildlife science Zoe felt a pull towards education when her sister proclaimed she hated biology.
With a passion for environmental science and biology Zoe was determined to change her sister’s mind and share her love of science in the classroom.
What was it like studying externally?
Quite a few friends were studying at QUT and so I knew it was a great university. I liked that I was still able to have face-to-face contact with lecturers and I felt really supported.
What did you enjoy about the course?
The opportunities for practical experience have been by far the most beneficial parts of this course because it has given me the chance to try out everything I’ve learnt so far. I learn so much while on placement and it helped to change and shape my perspective.
The lecturers have also been a great part of this course. They are ‘real people’ who have worked in schools, with young people and have many years of knowledge to share. They constantly shared their experiences and helped us through the ups and downs of our own placements. Tutorials were always fun because of the techniques used and their open, friendly personalities.
Where did you do your placements, and what was that like?
I have done three placements in secondary schools organised by QUT. There were honestly so many breakthrough moments and positive experiences during these.
I think one of my favourite ones was in a year 12 Science in Practice class that I took on my very last placement. There was one student who disengaged quickly, and it was so hard to get him interested in the lesson. I decided to try a different approach and focused on building rapport and finding out what motivated him. From this I designed a lesson of rotation stations and offered the class some music to listen to while we worked if they completed the first part of the lesson well.
The student I was focusing on became very motivated by the opportunity to listen to music and even suggested songs for the playlists on Spotify to study or focus. The rotation stations went well, and they all enjoyed working with the music in the background. The student was then much more switched on in classes and became very hard working, especially when we had the focus music playing during individual work time.
What were some of your personal highlights at QUT?
As odd as it sounds, my favourite parts were the afternoon tutorials. Getting off the bus, heading to Beadles and grabbing a chai latte before going to a tutorial was my routine for the last two semesters. The afternoon tutorials felt a bit more chill and because they had fewer people, we were all able to work together and share experiences, stories, jokes, all that good stuff.
What advice would you offer to those that are considering the Master of Teaching (Secondary)?
I would say that my advice to students interested in studying this course is to be adaptable. It’s a key skill in teaching and it was a key skill for this course. Understanding adolescents is something that is always changing as is our understanding of behaviour strategies and content strategies. What you learn in one subject might be slightly different to others, but as long as you are adaptable and can consolidate knowledge through a range of avenues, you will be ok!
What’s next for you?
My plan for the future is to start teaching maths and science (and senior biology). I really enjoy working with diverse learners, so I am keeping my eyes and ears open for opportunities to combine it all. I see teaching as my lifelong career, so I hope to find a school that I love (and who loves me) and work with new students every year. I haven’t given up on travel yet either, so maybe teach and travel for a few years. Overall, I’m just excited to become a real teacher, use everything I’ve learnt so far and then learn even more.