Primary teahcing grad, Corrina Goddard, in class.

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Education grad at work: Light bulb moments in Primary teaching

18 August 2020
Meet 2015 graduate and current PhD student, Corrina Goddard
A targeted graduate, Corrina has worked full-time as a classroom teacher at Annandale Public School since completing a BEd (Primary). She considers teaching K-2 students her “greatest pleasure”. Here, she explains why.

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

I had always wanted to be a primary school teacher. I think in some ways it is a career that chose me, not the other way around.

And I had always intended to study a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at the University of Sydney. Having compared courses, I liked that it valued educational theory alongside the practical application involved in professional experiences.

When I was younger, I spent many afternoons after school setting up my toys as if they were my ‘class’, marking the roll and assigning tasks. I have always been passionate about helping others through education.

There is nothing quite like seeing a child’s ‘light bulb moment’ after explaining a new concept, or observing students’ progress across a week, a term or a year.
Corrina Goddard, Primary education graduate

I always assumed that I would much prefer the content and challenge associated with the older years of primary school, but teaching K-2 students has been my greatest pleasure. Teaching younger students involves establishing the foundation for their later years of schooling, especially in areas such as reading. There is nothing more challenging or rewarding.

What was your favourite subject during the course?

I think the most worthwhile subject I completed, in terms of the quality of tutors and content, was EDUP4077 (Teaching Children with Special Needs). It involved the explicit integration of research and practice and that was most useful to me once I entered the profession.

Placements gave me insight into the practical concerns associated with teaching. They also gave me experience in the day-to-day necessities such as timetabling, organising sequences of content, behaviour support and conflict resolution.
Corrina Goddard, Primary education graduate

Professional experiences were always the most valuable part of the year because they allowed me to develop my own ‘framework’ for teaching based on what I knew and what I observed.

What’s happened since graduation?

I taught kindergarten for five years before moving to Stage 1 this year. Beginning my teaching career in kindergarten ‘threw me into the deep end’ in terms of developing foundational skills in areas such as reading and numeracy.

I am also a part-time PhD candidate having returned to the University of Sydney to undertake further study in 2017. I am passionate about inclusive education, my PhD examines teachers’ inclusive approaches to the kindergarten literacy block.

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

I use a lot of individual ideas or resources from subjects that I undertook, whether they are classroom activities to be used or approaches to planning.

Above all, the degree instilled in me the need to think critically, be it about pedagogy, teaching resources or attitudes, and to value the role of research in education.
Corrina Goddard, Primary education graduate

What does a day in the life of a primary teacher look like?

My day starts early, usually with a meeting or general preparation for the day’s teaching and learning.

Most days, despite lunch and recess breaks, it feels non-stop between setting up resources, teaching, responding to emails, going on playground duty or running other activities such as choir.

The afternoons are always busy with staff meetings, parent check-ins and more planning or preparation. The most rewarding part of my day is the time spent with my class, whether we’re playing maths games in the classroom, cooking in the kitchen or playing sport in the playground.

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

I definitely recommend the Bachelor of Education (Primary). Apart from studying, I formed lifelong friendships with other students in my cohort. 

Make the most of the course and every subject, especially the electives that you choose. You never know what assignments, resources or experiences you might refer to later on.

Take every opportunity during professional experiences – teach extra lessons, observe lessons or meetings that aren’t required and ask questions as much as possible.

Thinking of studying teaching?

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