- To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, Charles Sturt is sharing the story of two of our teaching graduates
- Peter Finlay and Danielle Seymour are just two of the University’s graduates who each day make a positive difference in the lives of their students
- Peter, a secondary school teacher, and Danielle, a primary school teacher, share what they have been up to since graduating
Ms Danielle Seymour and Mr Peter Finlay are just two Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) teaching graduates who are making a positive difference in our nation’s schools every day.
Both teachers studied at Charles Sturt in the 2000s; Mr Finlay studied a Bachelor of Education (Technology and Applied Sciences) in Wagga Wagga and graduated in 2001 and Ms Seymour studied a Bachelor of Education (Primary) in Bathurst and graduated in 2008. Today, both are experienced teachers working in regional NSW who are passionate about their profession.
Mr Finlay (pictured), who is currently an industrial technology and agriculture teacher in his hometown of Orange, New South Wales, said it was a teacher of his favourite subject at school who inspired him to enter the profession.
“I really enjoyed technology and agriculture at school and the more I thought about teaching those subjects, the more I could see myself doing it. I spoke to a few of my teachers who thought I would be suited to it, so I decided to go to university and become a teacher,” Mr Finlay said.
Although Mr Finlay is now teaching in his hometown, his teaching career has taken him across the globe.
“A particular highlight of my career is when I taught in north and south London for two years. It was a fun time where I could not only work in my chosen profession, but also travel around Europe and the United Kingdom during my weekends and holidays,” he said.
“My career as a teacher has also been pretty diverse. I have had the opportunity to teach in all-boys schools, all-girl schools, independent schools, and in the state system.
“Although I have mainly taught in the technologies area my whole career, I had some time teaching food technology and computing subjects and through extra study, I also added engineering to the list of subjects I teach.”
Ms Seymour (pictured), who hails from Cobar in far west New South Wales, has also had a varied teaching career which has taken her to many places across regional NSW, a part of the country she loves to live in.
“I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. Education will change the world, so to be a teacher you are someone who can drive the change,” Ms Seymour said.
“I have been fortunate enough to work in catholic, independent and government primary schools in Dubbo, Condobolin, Orange, Wee Waa, the Hunter Valley, Gunnedah and Cobar.”
“I have predominately worked as a classroom teacher, but have also been in learning support and literacy and numeracy support roles.”
Today, Ms Seymour works at a government primary school in Dubbo, in western New South Wales.
When speaking of why she loves being a teacher in regional towns, Ms Seymour said: “I have seen teachers have an impact in their communities in many ways.
“Teachers not only have a huge impact by educating future community leaders but they become community leaders themselves, especially in regional and rural areas. Teachers often help organise sporting, fundraising and community events.”
Mr Finlay also shared how rewarding teaching was because of the important role teachers play in the community.
“We prepare students to go out into the community and workforce. We provide students with a positive role model,” he said.
When speaking of their time studying at Charles Sturt both said they thought the amount of practical, in-school experience included in their degrees really prepared them for entering the teaching profession.
“Studying teaching at Charles Sturt University was great because I was required to complete more teaching practicums compared to other university students, which gave me more hands-on experience, and I believe it helped me to become a targeted graduate,” Ms Seymour said.
Mr Finlay also remembers the practical school placements as a highlight of his degree, and now he supervises university students undertaking their placements.
“One of the best things about my degree were the practical teaching subjects. We did four practicums, with the last one going for 10 weeks. It was one of the subjects that set us up for what teaching is really like,” Mr Finlay said.
“Since I’ve been teaching I’ve had a heap of prac students, including students from Charles Sturt University. I remember being daunted by the thought of going on prac and not sure what is expected or if I could do it. I try and offer the same thing to a prac student that I do to my students; they need guidance, encouragement and support.”
When reflecting on her favourite memories at Charles Sturt, Ms Seymour recalls the uni bar nights and the amount of time she spent with friends, as well as some “awesome lectures”.
“I loved most of the key learning area subjects, such as art and humanities. I also loved the sociology subject I studied,” she said.
Mr Finlay (pictured when he was a Charles Sturt student) said living away from home on campus, playing for the University’s rugby team and completing the design subjects were among highlights of his time at Charles Sturt.
“Staying in the accommodation was a lot of fun and friends that I made while living there,” he said.
“I also really enjoyed the design subjects. While studying we put together some crazy and what we thought were ingenious projects together on found parts and pieces,”
When asked about what they want future teachers to know, both had some great advice.
“My advice to other university graduates is don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a permanent job straight away. Move and teach in rural communities because you will gain a lot of experience as a classroom teacher. You will be more employable if you have full-time classroom experience,” Ms Seymour said.
Mr Finlay said, “Teaching is a great job, every year I enjoy it more. Students change, syllabi change and the world and society changes so it is ever evolving.
“You can put a lot into it and it is rewarding. Students respect and respond well to a teacher who is invested in them.”