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Education grad at work: On being a young high school teacher

11 August 2020
Meet 2020 Education graduate, Jason Grozdanovski
Following an internship, Jason was offered a full-time role and now teaches History, English and Geography. Here, he shares insights into how his degree supports his work in the classroom and the quality of his tutors at Sydney.

Why did you choose the University of Sydney? And why teaching?

No one in my family had previously studied at a tertiary level, so choosing a university was a big decision for me.

I chose the University of Sydney because of its reputation, established excellence, and long list of successful alumni. I knew that USYD was the place I wanted to study.
Jason Grozdanovski, Bachelor of Education (Secondary) graduate

Becoming a high school teacher was something I wanted to do from the age of 16. Most people see teachers as annoying adults who give you homework when all you want to do is play video games.

My personal experience was very different.

I had several teachers who served as role models and figures of support during my teenage years. From sporting decisions to academic pathways, my teachers were always there for me. That’s why I decided to follow this path; so that I can give back to the system that gave so much to me.

When did you know you had made the right choice?

After my first practical subject. I spent four weeks at an amazing school with a very confident and down to earth group of kids, and I thought “Hey! I could get used to this.”

It was during this hands-on experience in the classroom that I knew I made the right decision to study a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at Sydney.

It’s such a strong degree and the connections the Uni has with Sydney high schools is outstanding.
Jason Grozdanovski, Bachelor of Education (Secondary) graduate

What were your tutors like during your course?

I feel that the tutors are sometimes taken for granted. You never really understand how remarkable it is to be taught by people who have different life experiences from you until after the fact.

My USYD experience was filled with compassionate, knowledgeable, down to earth teachers. Many of my tutors had a long-term impact on my career choice and teaching style.
Jason Grozdanovski, Bachelor of Education (Secondary) graduate

Special shoutouts to Dr Kate Keely, Rae Carlson and Dr Matthew Thomas who I spent time with during the final years of my degree. Those guys played a major role in the teacher I am today.

What’s happened since graduation? How did you get your current role?

When people say your practicum and internship are some of the most important parts of your degree, they’re not wrong.

During my internship (final prac) I built key relationships with some very nurturing educators. Once my 8-week journey was complete, I was fortunate enough to be offered a full time (temporary) contract the following year. With how competitive it is to score a teaching role, it was a really happy surprise: I took the opportunity with both hands and ran with it.

As a first-year teacher, I felt like I wanted more from my role after a few months. When an opportunity for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) coordinator came up, I knew I wanted to apply and take part.

I was fortunate enough to have come across the awesome work of AIME through Sydney University, but also through one of my practical experiences. It’s been very on/off as a result of COVID-19, but the opportunity to support student welfare has always appealed to me.

How do you use your degree in your work as a teacher?

I can’t stress enough how valuable my education at USYD was.

From simple classroom management strategies to in-depth subjects about disability in education and global education, there are many things you draw on in the classroom. I never really understand how different children can be until I walked into a school, with over a thousand students, and every single one of them needs to be taught differently.

Being a teacher is not just about knowing content: it’s about building relationships, managing behaviour, creating a safe space. My degree touched on every aspect of being a teacher, in even the smallest way.
Jason Grozdanovski, Bachelor of Education (Secondary) graduate

What would you say to a student considering an Education degree?

Go for it and don’t look back.

USYD and studying at uni generally was an amazing experience. I’ve met some incredible people at the University of Sydney and remain in contact with many of them now we’re all qualified teachers. The quality of teaching and the importance of key subjects help prepare you for a career in one of the most rewarding industries.

Thinking of studying teaching?

We offer a wide range of Education degrees at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Explore your options, click here.

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