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From Student To Teacher

An educator often serves as the important middle point between knowledge and understanding. To accept that education is the building blocks for the rest of a person's life is also to acknowledge that the correct learning habits are needed.

Holmesglen graduate Rachael Collier works alongside these aims each day. Having studied early childhood education, she now splits her time between kindergarten work and agency roles at schools and day cares.

"We want children to learn how to learn. All of them have a spark. In early childhood, we want them to go into school with a love of learning," Rachael says.

Having received the tools to teach others, Rachael now helps young children in their important development period. "We all have our strengths," she asserts. "Every child comes with different experiences before that point and they are authentic and genuine for those children, so you can't disregard it."

Having won the Outstanding Higher Education Student award at Holmesglen's 19th Annual Awards Festival, Rachael sees education also as a means to grow our next generation of leaders.

"To solve problems we need really creative thinking. We need people who have got that creative mind. We need people who can generate ideas. To solve problems you need to see something not as it is, but how it could be."

Having always had a desire to pursue teaching, Rachael came to Holmesglen on the advice of a neighbour. Her passion for the role is now reflected in the positive messages she passes on to her pupils. "It's about trying and then trying again. It's about resilience. We need to learn to try again and just get back up and keep going."

Furthermore, Rachael, through a Holmesglen program, travelled to Bangkok on a two-week work placement opportunity. Together with a Holmesglen lecturer and fellow student, she taught English at a local government school. With Thailand's education focused on a delivery method of teaching, the international excursion gave Rachael perspective. "It was really different, but it gave us that understanding," she says.

With our classrooms, like our society, becoming increasingly multicultural, Rachael now has key cultural insights, which help with her current education roles. She has lived in Samoa previously and also cites a Facebook group, shared with fellow Holmesglen early childhood graduates, as a supportive avenue to share advice.

Through teaching, Rachael found her joy and is now keen to encourage the same level of aspirations with her students.

"If we are all doing something that we want to do, firstly we'd be good at it and also we'd be happy. It would make for a nicer world."

Rachael maintains a desire to complete her research masters but, like any fulfilling role, it's the little experiences along the way that justify the hard work.

"The other day a grade six student ran up to me and said, "Mrs Collier, I love your teaching.' To me, it was really encouraging."