Advice from Kalamunda's Teacher Training Student

Found in: SCEA News | Published on: 01 August 2016

Meet Yan Xia Lim, a teacher training student at Kalamunda Christian School, and Aspiring Christian Educator scholarship recipient. We ask her about all things Teacher training.

1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I was born in Malaysia but grew up in Singapore before coming to Australia for tertiary studies. My father was a fly-in fly-out worker in Switzerland for about thirty years and grew tired of the family living apart in different countries, therefore he decided to have the entire family migrate to Perth. 

2.  How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a teacher?
My parents have always valued education. They decided to have me and my siblings complete our education in Singapore and Perth because they felt Singapore and Australia had higher educational standards.
My bachelor degree was in Psychology and it led me to work with the Department for Child Protection and Family Support. While I enjoyed working with the children and their families, some of the cases I was managing were too heart breaking and emotional to handle long-term. I realised that the only way to reduce the number of child abuse cases is to start with education.
I started looking into the courses I could take and was choosing between the Graduate Diploma of Education and the Master of Teaching. I chose the Master of Teaching degree because it offers more practical experience.
3.  How are you enjoying the teaching degree? What is your chosen university?
I am enjoying the teaching degree, which I will complete at the end of this year, and especially love the interaction with the children. Some of them are mischievous and cheeky, and you have to try to keep a straight face and not to burst into laughter in class. Some of them are sweet and lovely, and they say the nicest and most encouraging things to you without realising it.
My chosen university is Murdoch University. The lecturers are knowledgeable and supportive, celebrate our successes with us and encourage us when we face challenges.
If SCEA offered an M Teach degree with a distinctly Christian approach, it would have been one of my top choices. I have really enjoyed working in a Christian environment where you start each day with devotions and prayer, dedicating the day to God. It is also refreshing to be able to speak about God freely with the students. In my previous employment as a Child Protection Worker, I had worked with many children and had wanted to be able to talk about God with them so many times. However, I could only do so in a roundabout way, without freely mentioning God, unless the children asked about Christianity specifically. In addition, I feel that to be surrounded and supported by lecturers and fellow course mates who believed in God would be invaluable.
4.  How did you find out about the Aspiring Christian Educator Scholarship? And what are the benefits of the scholarship?
My friend is a teacher at one of the SCEA schools and she told me about the scholarship. The cash payment from the scholarship was definitely useful but what I found most beneficial are the networks I have made and the complimentary attendance to Christian education conferences. Being able to learn from experienced teachers I have met and from speakers at conferences from a Christian education perspective has been truly invaluable.  
5.  You are doing your practical placements at Kalamunda Christian School, tell us about your experience there so far.
The principal and teachers at Kalamunda Christian School have been very welcoming. My mentor teacher is very approachable, helpful and generous with sharing her resources. I am in a Year 5 class and teaching a variety of subjects: spelling, reading, Mathematics, History, Civics and Citizenship, and Health/Child Protection Curriculum. Most students are excited about learning and will challenge and extend themselves. They are polite, courteous, caring towards each other and respectful to their teachers.
6.  What would you tell anyone considering a degree in teaching?
If you are passionate about investing in our future generation, then do not hesitate about becoming a teacher. Teaching is very rewarding and is definitely an avenue to make positive contributions to your society.