Teaching as a second career

It’s now or never. That moment in life when you know you have to take the plunge and just go for it or forever wonder what if?

I was 36, I’d just had my third child. I’d been working in accounts administration for 11 years. Before that I’d worked in retail for 9 years. I thought maybe it was time to decide if university or further study to get a better job was an option.

So I started asking questions. Lots of questions. I mean, I loved my accounts administration job, could I study accountancy?  Should I do a bookkeeping course? Tafe or university? 

As a kid I had wanted to be a teacher, maybe that was an option? Or an office job in a school? High school or primary? Most importantly, year 12 and the HSC was centuries ago, could I even cut it as an adult studying? 

After chatting to my family accountant, she convinced me that teaching would be the safer option. Less stressful she said, less study she said. Did you know accountants have to study every year to get ready for tax time?

Time to bite the bullet, I enrolled with Open Universities and started the open units to get into my chosen course. Primary teacher. Kindergarten to Year 6. Fully online. No exams. No residential units say from my family. And if I started straight away, my baby and I would be ready to start school at the same time. She’d start kindy in January, and I would graduate the same year.

I won’t lie, university is tough. I failed my first assignment. I cried my eyes out, felt like an idiot and that I’d made a huge mistake. But then I picked myself up, resubmitted that assignment for a pass, and it was onwards and upwards from there. There were a few hiccups along the way, my work went into voluntary administration, my marriage broke up, forced to sell my house, my work closed down. Through it all I had my tiny cheer squad of friends and family that pushed me to finish.

So here we are, I’ve been teaching for 5 years and I love every single day. I’ve done relief teaching, I’ve been learning support, I’ve taught all ages from kindy to year 6. 

The rewards of the ‘aha’ moments, when a kid gets the concept you’re trying to teach, is the best feeling in the world. I’ve cried with kids over disappointing times. I’ve shared their successes. I’ve sent them off to high school and cried my eyes out (again).  I’ve watched them mature, grow, learn and been called mum more times than I can count.

Teaching is hard, it’s stressful and it is worth every single minute. 

Oh and joke’s on me, remember that accountants study every tax time? Well teachers do training every single week. But I learn something new every day, usually off a child. Who could ask for more?

Author: Kylie O’Connor

Author: Sim K