Lauren Jovanovic is a perfect example of how online university study is not all about books and assignments.
Undertaking a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) at Swinburne Online, Lauren already has employment after being offered part-time work following uni placement as part of the practicum element of the course.
“I am currently a stay-at-home mum to my son, however I also work one day each week as an ECW (early childhood worker) at the very kindergarten at which I undertook my placement,” the South Australian said.
“I was lucky enough to be offered part-time work there after I successfully completed my practicum.”
Lauren, 25, and married, hopes to complete her degree by mid-2015 and speaks highly of her placement experience at Barbara Kiker Memorial Kindergarten.
“A few notable highlights included running the physical skills sessions – the children were so excited and were really engaged – and forming lasting relationships with the children,” Lauren said.
“By the end of the 20 days I felt as though I had known the children forever; and working with the teaching staff on a daily basis – everybody was so helpful and accommodating and I learnt so much from them.”
Lauren’s placement was over four weeks, and while the experiences were insightful the learning was invaluable.
“I learnt a lot about teaching strategies, earning the children’s trust, engaging with the students, how to create and action effective lesson plans/activities, my own strengths and weaknesses in regards to teaching, and how to develop my personal teaching style,” she said.
Being able to put theory and ideas she learnt during her studies into real-world experience has played a significant role in shaping Lauren as a teacher.
“As a result, I now know what works for me and what doesn't in regards to my own personal teaching practice,” she said.
“Since the placement, I feel that I am even more passionate and excited about the prospect of becoming a teacher, and I have actual real-life experiences that I can incorporate into my studies.”
Gaining a placement position at her kindergarten ran smoothly for Lauren, but she has some handy tips.
“I found that as a first point of contact that creating a personalised email template which introduced me and my studies along with my request to undertake placement was a successful way to begin with prospective centres,” she said.
“I chose several local centres, visited their websites and emailed them. Getting in early is also important, as is a professional and friendly demeanour at all times, whether it be through email, over the phone or in person.
“During the placement it is imperative to show your enthusiasm, ask for feedback and constructive criticism, take initiative, and really involve yourself in everything.
“My mentor, Steven Cameron, told me that it is up to the individual to get the most out of their placement, and he was absolutely right.
“Make the experience worth it because the time flies and before you know it the placement is over.”
Learn more about how you can obtain a teaching degree online at http://www.swinburneonline.edu.au .
* This article was written by an independent journalist as part of a commercial agreement between Fairfax Media and Swinburne Online.