16 Feb 2017
Bronnie is the Lead Teacher for TAFE Queensland’s #DiscoverMyFuture Program and works with High School students across the State to link their interests to successful careers. She reflects on her journey into teaching, and what teaching means to her.
This is Bronnie’s story:
Thinking about it now, it was inevitable that I’d come back to where my life-long journey of higher learning actually began – TAFE.
I grew up living and breathing all things sport and fitness – I think I am just wired that way. I was infatuated with it; it was the only thing I knew. It was the direction I thought I was meant to take after school, so I enrolled in a Diploma of Fitness at TAFE Queensland East Coast.
I enjoyed the higher learning aspect of the course and I loved being active all the time, but I just wasn’t satisfied in the direction I was going.
One of our assessment pieces was to develop programs that would increase student engagement in sporting activities. It was then that I had a light bulb moment, an epiphany. I finally knew what I wanted to be… a teacher!
I enrolled in a dual teaching degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast and successfully juggled student life, motherhood and casual work for around 8 years before being let loose into the teaching world.
During my time in schools I continued to study and obtained my TAE and found my way back in Vocational Education pathways teaching Sport and Recreation. My love of fitness and multiple pathways was reborn.
The best thing about my job is that I have the ability to create opportunities and choice for others. As teachers we hold a great responsibility; we impact so many little lives on a daily basis. It’s up to us to ensure that we are authentic and prepare our students with the tools, skills and knowledge for success in their journey.
There’s nothing sweeter than seeing students smile when they comprehend a concept that has been troubling them or when they can see beyond school and start to set their sights on the road ahead. I’m incredibly honoured when students ask me to be a referee for them or when they tell me they’ve enrolled in further education all because of my class. It’s an extremely humbling experience when students write you letters expressing how you’ve helped them achieve importance in their lives.
Yeah, they‘re the unforgettable moments that make me extremely proud of my profession and what I do every day.
I live by the mantra, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” Consequently, I decided to change things up and write my very first children’s book. I wrote, “Hi, What’s Your Name, Are We The Same?” to introduce the community to some important messages about disability and difference – something that’s very close to me.
The book is about children who are not defined by social labels but by their character, different qualities and talents. It focuses on children with a variety of different disabilities and shows that they are each unique and happy. The aim is to encourage children to be accepting of difference and learn to have a positive image of people with a disability.
I’m so delighted by the response to this book, and hopeful that it can help to change how we, as a society, think and talk about these issues.
This is the first of a series of five books tracking the journey of each character as they mature. Each book will tackle issues children with a disability and difference face in today’s society as they grow up setting goals, chasing dreams and affirming aspirations.