Teachers are in high demand and even more so, secondary schools around Australia are experiencing a critical shortage in trades, design and technology. With the rise of STEM, schools are willing to invest in specialist teachers to fill this gap.
Technology teachers help change the lives of secondary students who may otherwise fall through the cracks and become disengaged from their education. Technology education graduates can teach studies at VCE level in design technology, systems engineering and food technology, as well as preparatory subjects for Vocational Education and Training (VET). The VET in Schools program (VETiS) speaks to an individual’s own interests, helping to prepare them for a career in the trades. Educators play a significant role in shaping the future of these students.
This hands-on approach to learning, as well as the rewarding nature of a career in teaching, is what first drew La Trobe student Harry Lynch to the Bachelor of Technology Education. Harry was ready to change up his career and knew La Trobe’s Bachelor of Technology Education was the right fit for him.
Harry’s no stranger to transformation. He’s crafted a new life for himself three times over. He spent his teenage years riding motocross near his hometown of Ouyen, before a serious crash during practice left him a T4 paraplegic. Three months later, he’d discovered his next passion: wheelchair basketball. Harry quickly became an elite player, representing Australia in the Under-23 Spinners side overseas. While playing, Harry completed an engineering apprenticeship, becoming a boilermaker—a career that no doubt set him in good stead for his next move. He’s now retraining as a technology teacher.
“A job as a boilermaker wasn’t a sustainable career for the rest of my life,” says Harry. “I decided to venture down the education path, to land a job that would be a bit easier on my body.
“I’ve always enjoyed teaching other people. I was teaching my classmates how to do things when I was doing my apprenticeship at TAFE. This course combines my love of engineering with my interest in education.
“La Trobe have been awesome. They’ve really supported me. It’s been easy. There’s good parking and accessibility to rooms. The teachers have given me great insight and help so I’ve never felt lost. They know my background and understand the trades so they can recognise what experience you have and what you might need extra help with.”
Harry’s excited by the different teaching options available to him in the future. Along with educating secondary school students, Harry will also be qualified to teach at TAFE. He’ll be heading on placement to TAFE as part of his course. As student becomes teacher, he’ll get to experience what it’s like to lead the classroom.
“I’d love to gain more of a perspective on different age groups. I want to learn how they’re taught and get a feel for different types of training,” he says. “I’d like to see how the TAFE system differs compared to the secondary education system.”
La Trobe focuses on the science of learning—how to create and tailor learning environments in any space for any individual. Education courses pull from data analytics, psychology and more. It’s about being adaptable so you can teach anyone, anywhere. It’s learning to help students thrive even in challenging situations, like where they have a different cultural background, learning difficulty or attend a low SES school.
Experiencing both TAFE and secondary school systems will help Harry decide which pathway is the right one for him. Either way, he’s looking forward to a rewarding career ahead.
“It’s awesome to see kids learning new skills,” he says. “It’s pretty satisfying, seeing them step outside their comfort zone and do something for the first time. It’s great I get to be there to provide a safe environment with supervision for them to develop their confidence and personal skills. It’s rewarding for me too, to learn new things. The kids teach me new stuff too. Not to mention I’m learning other aspects of trades I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Whether he’s teaching students in the systems engineering workshop at a secondary school or educating TAFE students like he once was, Harry’s confident in his new direction.
“It’s definitely worth it. If you’re considering a career in education, give it a go.”
Become the teacher you always wished you had. Study a degree in education and teaching at La Trobe.