It wasn’t just thousands of Victorian students starting or heading back to school for the start of the 2019 school year – there were plenty of nerves among first year teachers facing their first classes.
Among them was Woodmans Hill Secondary College teacher Rhian Caltabiano – but her pathway to standing in front of the class is a little different to most.
Ms Caltabiano, and 72 other teachers starting their new careers across Victoria this month, were part of the Teach for Australia program where people from different backgrounds including university graduates with non-education degrees, young professionals and career changers, teach their area of expertise in secondary schools serving low socio-economic communities for a minimum of two years.
During that two years they also study for a Master of Teaching through ACU.
I was a little bit nervous for the first few days, getting to know the students and school community because I’ve just moved to Ballarat. I’ve found that Woodmans Hill has such a warm, welcoming environment and have been so supportive that any nerves I had were reduced.Rhian Caltabiano
After graduating from the University of Melbourne last year with a double degree in criminology and French, Ms Caltabiano will teach legal studies, French and literacy to students from year seven to 11 at Woodmans Hill.
While committed to studying her passions at university, teaching was in her blood with her mother also a secondary school teacher.
And last week she put her nerves aside to take her first classes.
“It’s such an exciting and meaningful opportunity for me to use the skills I developed at uni and I hope to engage with the next generation and excite them about foreign languages and law,” she said.
“I want to inspire and motivate students to learn and pursue their goals.”
It’s been a big move for Ms Caltabiano, who grew up in Queensland, moved to Melbourne for uni, and has relocated to Ballarat to take up the new job.
“I was a little bit nervous for the first few days, getting to know the students and school community because I’ve just moved to Ballarat. I’ve found that Woodmans Hill has such a warm, welcoming environment and have been so supportive that any nerves I had were reduced,” she said.
She didn’t mind where she was sent, with the scheme running in all states except Queensland and the ACT, only that she would teach.
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Teachers on the program did a six week intensive program last year, running up to 11 hours a day, which allowed them to move through about a quarter of their master’s course, and included classroom teaching experience.
“I thought it was a really great way to get that professional experience while also studying for my masters,” she said. “I found the study a bit challenging at times, trying to balance out work and study life, but like anything worthwhile it’s worth the challenge.”
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