In 2013 I was lucky enough to be one of eight pre-service teachers selected to take part in a partnership between CEP, Australian Catholic University and a cluster of education institutes in North East Victoria, encompassing Nagambie, Avenel, Murchison and Longwood.
As a cohort of final year pre service teachers undertaking courses in Primary Teaching and Early Years Teaching, we spent eight weeks living together in Nagambie, allowing us to share experiences and ideas, as well as developing an understanding of the communities we were involved in.
For me, this placement cemented my interest in working as an educator in rural and remote communities. The sense of support and welcoming from the whole community was amazing, and the principals at all of the schools I spent time at made me feel like a real member of their team, rather than simply a “student teacher”. The professional development I was able to participate in while undertaking this placement was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. With our focus of our placement being on improving literacy amongst 0-8 year olds as part of the Nagambie Community Literacy initiative, we were provided with a number of professional development opportunities with high quality teachers from within the cluster and outside.
“I gained a range of skills and knowledge, especially in providing high quality literacy learning, through the experience of the Rural Partnership initiative that I will find extremely useful in my life as a teacher. Being involved in these workshops with great literacy teachers was fantastic and gave me some great tools to use that enhanced the theory that we studied as part of our university course.”
As a direct result of the networks I was able to build during this placement, I have taken on the role of Early Childhood Teacher and Director at Avenel Pre-School, with my former associate teacher from Nagambie Pre-School, Nadene Monger, serving as one of my mentors and advisors. I have also received a huge amount of support and guidance from Graham Wood, the principal at Avenel Primary School, who I was able to work with during my involvement within the Nagambie Cluster.
Being a part of a partnership which gave me a real insight into the nuances of working in a rural community, and seeing the real impact that an educator can have in a regional area, I was enthused to find a teaching role within such a community.
“Without the opportunities I received through the Rural Partnership initiative, and the support I got through CEP and the Cluster schools and kindergartens, I believe that I would not have had the network that lead to my employment or the communication skills that I use daily in the exciting role that I currently have.”
More information on the Rural Cluster and University Partnership initiative click on the following link: Rural Cluster and University Partnership.