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Life After Stran: Teaching in Sydney, Australia!

Jodie Blair (neé Robinson) was at Stranmillis from 2010-2014 studying for a BEd (Primary) with PE as her specialism. She says: ‘Little did I know, that three short years after graduating, I would be living and teaching in Sydney, Australia!’

‘Immediately after leaving college I had the privilege of working part-time in two different schools - one in inner city Belfast and the other in the North Antrim countryside. This first year of teaching was really interesting as it gave me insight into the workings of two very different schools and gave me the experience of working within a number of different classrooms. As any fourth year trainee teacher will know, I was just so ready to be out, teaching in the classroom and I am very fortunate that my first year as a teacher was such a positive and encouraging learning experience.

Half way through the following year, my husband and I decided to move to Sydney, Australia. I knew very little of the education system in Australia and so I did not really know what to expect. Upon arrival I realised that schools here are very different from schools at home, the main divide being public and private education. Very soon after moving, I started to do subbing work in a private Anglican school called St Andrew’s Cathedral School. It is right in the middle of Sydney’s Central Business District and the school building is an office block with a playground on the roof! The school caters for children from kindergarten right through to Year 12, which is the end of high school.

After a term of working as a substitute teacher for the school they offered me a job and I am currently working as the junior (primary) school PE teacher. Another way in which St Andrew’s is unlike any other school that I had worked in is that it has specialist subject teachers as well as classroom teachers. The classroom teachers will teach the children for Maths and English while specialist teachers will teach PE, Art, Mandarin, Dance, Drama, Science and Christian Development. While studying at Stran I specialised in PE and I am so thankful that I did as it has prepared me so well for the role I am in today. I teach over 300 children from across the junior school and focus on the development of the infants’ sport programme.

My current teaching role is very different to the one that I thought I would have at this stage of my career. At graduation I could not have imagined that I would be doing what I am doing now - but I am so glad that I am! There are so many possibilities and opportunities for teachers across the world. Use your time at university well to build up your skill set to be equipped for more than just work in the classroom as you never know where you will end up and what you will end up teaching!’

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