Teaching is persistence, perseverance and passion

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Graduate teacher Natasha Vella.30 September 2021

In her second year of teaching at St Augustine’s Primary School, Keilor, Natasha Vella discusses her experience and the challenges she has faced as a graduate teacher.

What makes a good Catholic educator?

In my opinion, a good Catholic educator creates a safe and welcoming learning environment to support their students’ social and emotional learning. Nurturing the learner’s growth will make a difference in their learning, health and wellbeing.

My favourite part about working at a Catholic school is …

Being able to teach God and Jesus’ attributes, as well as witnessing these characteristics within a Catholic school. Another aspect I enjoy is having a supportive leadership team, as they foster a culture of growth and ‘learning together’ to enable all teachers and students to flourish.

I have also loved the inclusiveness between families, the parish and the wider community, and incorporating them into our learning experiences to achieve positive outcomes for each student.

What challenges have you faced in your teaching career so far?

The last two years have been particularly challenging for all teachers alike. The most valuable lesson I took was the importance of students’ social and emotional learning. The significance of building resilience and competence in learners creates a sense of belonging – whether it is in the classroom or a remote learning environment.

Despite the challenges faced, it has been incredibly rewarding to collaborate with parents as partners of the school in supporting their child’s education, as this will potentially have a long-lasting, positive impact on student outcomes.

What advice would you give to future teachers?

Teaching is persistence, perseverance and passion. When you learn something new, you may not always get it right the first time. Just remember teachers are lifelong learners too. With that in mind, we need to have a growth mindset and a positive attitude to improve.

Teacher wellbeing is also fundamental for the wellbeing of the whole class, student engagement and academic success. It is important to be able to manage a healthy work–life balance, practise mindfulness and be confident in yourself.

As teachers, we need to continuously reflect and question our teaching practice in order to provide effective learning opportunities and create a pathway to the success of the student outcome. So, embrace challenges and always remember to be you!

In the next five years, I hope to …

In the next five years, I would like to continue broadening my knowledge and growing as a teacher by collaborating with professional teaching networks to learn new approaches. I would also like to complete my Master of Teaching and mentor and support the professional growth of pre-service teachers and graduate teachers, just as I have been incredibly supported when first entering the profession.

This article originally appeared in the Term 3 edition of Catholic Education Today.