Graduate: Julie Kereszteny

Graduate: Julie Kereszteny
Julie Kereszteny receiving the Peter Doherty award for being "an outstanding teacher of science"

I attended SCU's Tweed Gold Coast Campus in 2006. I had completed my science degree at another university on the Gold Coast. I had a passion for science and the environment but was struggling to find paid work. I had heard and read that there was a demand for science teachers across the country and then saw that SCU were offering a Graduate Diploma (Secondary Education).

Attending the uni was exciting and inspiring. Neville Jennings shared anecdotes from his extensive and passionate teaching career. To inspire an interest in current affairs he invited us to hum the ABC News theme at the start of each lecture. Martin Hayden would fascinate us with facts, issues, assignments and discussions surrounding educational issues like indigenous education and social justice and Mila Jewlachow offered a wealth of knowledge in a nurturing way. The people were the best part of the course. The staff and also the students exhibited a wide range of age, race, teaching speciality areas and life experiences.

After graduating I was registered in both NSW and Qld for teaching positions. Early in January, 2007, I checked the EQ job vacancies and found a one year contract in Cooktown and applied. My first year in Cooktown was really tough. There seemed to be a lot of staff dissatisfaction and it was difficult to get a foundation. Just before the Christmas holidays my permanency was confirmed.

The following year I felt like I was supported in my role and felt as though I had finally found my calling in life… teaching. I stayed at Cooktown for 6 years. Loving the sense of community and knowing that what I did in that school, with curriculum, and also building relationships and trust with students and their families was making a difference. It also provided some great opportunities for professional development which often came with a flight and accommodation either in Cairns or Brisbane.

I won a Peter Doherty award for being "an outstanding teacher of science" and travelled to Brisbane to receive the award and celebrate my achievements. I experienced some fantastic excursions with my Marine and Biology Classes, working with local passionate scientists and community members visiting the wildlife and snorkelling the reef. Staying at the school for 6 years meant I got to be a part of kids starting high school and I was also there when they graduated. We had twelve Year 12 students graduate in 2012. I was invited to contribute to the graduation ceremony with a speech.

I was hoping to transfer to the Tweed Coast at Christmas 2012, with the prospect of the National Curriculum being introduced. I was ahead of the bureaucracy, finding out that NSW isn't introducing national curriculum until next year and being frustrated with the interstate differences. I was transferred to Varsity College. I contacted the school about my transfer before the holidays and was informed they already had enough science teachers. I transferred anyway and am now teaching out of my area of training; mostly teaching maths in one of Queensland's largest schools. I'm now reapplying to teach in NSW or looking to transfer to a Queensland school closer to my home in the Tweed.

I feel blessed to have been taught by such good teachers at university who really led by example, bringing their knowledge and passion to the position, treating every student as an individual with something to offer. This is the philosophy of my teaching: everybody is different but has something to offer.

Julie Kereszteny