In 2022, La Trobe University announced changes to the Bachelor of Education program at La Trobe’s Mildura Campus that will help build teacher workforce in the region and support the government to meet its ambition plan for early years education. The expansion means more students can now study to become teachers, with the choice to major in Early Child and Primary, Primary or Secondary teaching now being offered in Mildura.
Chantelle, an alum of La Trobe’s Mildura Campus, says it’s her dream come true to secure a full-time lecturing role. She’s been doing some sessional lecturing at the Mildura Campus for some years.
“I am so excited about my new position! I am looking forward to new learning, experiences, and challenges. But most of all I am excited about having more time to spend with our students as their lecturer.”
Chantelle says Australian schools and early childhood education settings are facing unprecedented workforce shortages.
“With the introduction of increased hours for kindergarten programs, there is a significant need for La Trobe to train people to fill these roles. I’ll be teaching into our online Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, which has the flexibility of being offered online for students, but with the added benefit of the local on campus support and resources here at the Mildura Campus. Students who hold a completed Diploma in Early Childhood can complete our online course in two and a half years to become qualified kinder teachers.”
To be able to play a part in growing the local teacher workforce, as well as impart her passion for early childhood education, is an exciting prospect for Chantelle.
“In early childhood education, teachers get to play with children in intentional ways to build their skills and knowledge, in all areas of the curriculum. It's hard work, but it's fun. It’s really special when you see children showing obvious growth and progression in a short period of time. This is what makes early childhood education so amazing and inspiring!
“I loved studying at the Mildura Campus and have wonderful memories from my time as an undergraduate. I remember being well supported by the teaching team, they knew every student personally and understood our different backgrounds, learning styles, and preferences.”
With a passion for access and inclusion, Chantelle’s story is very similar to many students at the La Trobe’s Mildura Campus. She pathwayed to La Trobe by studying at SuniTAFE first and is the first in her family to finish a University degree.
“I completed a Diploma of Community Welfare Work at SuniTAFE, after finishing year 12. It was during this time that I decided I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. I was accepted into the Bachelor of Education at La Trobe with Advanced Standing straight after finishing my Diploma, which meant that I was able to complete my degree in three years, instead of four.
“I worked as a local primary school teacher for a year and fell pregnant with my daughter during this time. I started working at La Trobe with a newborn in a variety of casual roles. It was during this time that I realised how much I loved Higher Education. Consequently, I completed a Master of Education at Deakin University, majoring in Inclusive Education and Research. I then went onto complete a Graduate Certificate of Education (Early Childhood Studies) at Edith Cowan University. This degree allowed me to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education as a kindergarten teacher, whilst still working casually at La Trobe.”
Chantelle says she finds it incredibly rewarding when she sees students adopting all the theory and skills they’ve learnt at University, into their own classrooms.
“I love engaging with students who are passionate about their future career. We need teachers in classrooms who love what they do. It is our job, as teachers, to facilitate and engage children in learning, which will set them up for future success. They may not remember who we are in ten years time, but they will retain the key skills and knowledge we helped them build. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?”
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