A full circle moment – that’s what you call the experience of returning to your high school as an educator – and that’s what University of Canberra graduate Bronty Trease has done.
She now works alongside the very same teachers that inspired her to pursue a career in education.
“It’s quite nice, to come back to where I’m from, and give students the opportunities that my own teachers gave me growing up,” Bronty says.
A few of them are still around, there are also a few new faces. It’s definitely interesting, coming back and having your former teachers as your colleagues!
As a student commencing in 2020, Bronty’s university experience was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her studies began in Canberra, but within three months, she moved back home to Merimbula due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
While she intended to return to Canberra, the flexibility of the unit offerings meant that she could comfortably complete her first year from home. Bronty also took two cross-instructional majors, in Legal and Geography, which were already online offerings. Living at home with mum and dad alleviated the financial pressure, allowing her to focus on her studies.
When it came to the preservice teacher clinics – which see UC Bachelor of Education students embedded in schools for three hours a week to deliver lessons in small group settings – Bronty would make the three-hour drive to Canberra and stay for the night.
While it’s certainly an unconventional method of study, Bronty says it ended up working in her favour.
“Growing up, we would drive up to Canberra every weekend for netball anyway, so it wasn’t too much of a hassle,” Bronty says. “I wouldn’t change anything about my experience!”
The preservice teacher clinics proved to be a study highlight for Bronty, placing her where she wanted to be the most – in the classroom, working with students.
“It’s an incredible experience. You’re teaching seven or eight high school students with your fellow preservice teachers. It takes a little bit of the pressure off – you have your peers to reflect on and work with and bounce ideas off. It’s a really nice way to do a teaching degree,” Bronty says.
Now, Bronty is a full-time teacher at Eden Marine High School, teaching a mix of Years 8, 9 and 10. She already feels at home within the school community, and has built strong relationships with her students.
“Teaching is about curriculum, but it’s also about cultivating positive relationships with the students,” Bronty says.
“This concept was integrated throughout our course and was predominantly the focus of Benny and Spilly’s units [Ben Wilson and David Spillman]– they taught us that you have to lay the foundation for a positive relationship with students, for the education to flow.
You can have the perfect lesson, but at the end of the day, if they don’t value what you have to say, your lesson might fall flat.
Her colleagues too, have welcomed her with open arms.
“Education is a field where you’re always learning. It takes time, sharing of resources and mentoring from your colleagues to become that great teacher,” Bronty says.
“They’ve given me so much unwavering support to ensure I’m honing my craft – there’s so much collegiality in the profession.”
Bronty considers herself incredibly lucky to have been exposed to a number of passionate educators growing up – who loved their work and always went above and beyond for their students.
Bronty hopes to embody their teachings, to inspire the next generation, as they did for her.
“My maths teacher that I had for three years at school had high expectations of us, but it was thanks to those expectations that we learned and succeeded,” Bronty says.
“My year 12 PDHPE [Personal Development, Health and Physical Education] teacher was so passionate about her job, the way she taught has influenced who I am today.
“Both held a similar philosophy: that you can’t move on until every student in the class understands the concept. If the sixth way of explaining it didn’t work, they would go out and find a new one. They shaped the kind of teacher I want to be.”
Story by Kelly White, photo by Richard Poulton.
This September, the University of Canberra celebrated the amazing milestone of 100,000 alumni.
Our warmest congratulations go out to this year’s graduating class, and to all the amazing alumni who have become part of the UC community.
Many of you have already made such an impact in your fields and in your communities; many more will go on to do so.
We wish you the best and look forward to your amazing future journeys.