Like many, Sam was not entirely sure what he wanted to do when he finished high school, but knew he wanted to study which led him to start his law degree. Eventually Sam moved to Sydney to study music but found his way back in Newcastle finishing his law degree whilst working as a construction labourer.

Once his undergrad degree was finished Sam found himself touring the United States in his band. A man of many talents and a diverse skillset, when he returned to Newcastle, he found his way back into the construction industry, but not as you think.

“I was hired as a junior lawyer at one of Newcastle’s largest firms where I worked in the construction team for almost 3 years before joining a large international law firm where I currently work.”

Sam realised that he wasn’t working in his dream job so turned to postgraduate study to pursue his next career path by enrolling in a Master of Teaching (Secondary).

“I realised commercial law wasn’t a great fit for my personality. I realised that I could use the skills and experiences I had gained to share my love of learning. Teaching it was!”

When asked why he chose this specific degree at the University of Newcastle, it was the ease of being able to juggle study around his other commitments and start his career as soon as possible.

“To be completely honest, the length of the program at Newcastle was the main drawcard. I know that while there was important aspects of teaching that needed to be acquired through study, most of the skills were learnt on the job, and this was my chance to get there as soon as I could. It was knowing that I can be out of the office and into teaching within a year and a half (four Trimesters).”

The flexibility of study options allowed me to keep working casually as a lawyer 2 – 3 days a week, being in Sydney for shows at least once a week and study full-time at the same time. Win - win.”

While Sam forges his new career path from Lawyer to Teacher, he has found that people have had different reactions to his decision and want to know the reason for change. “My goal would be to find my feet as a teacher, to find a school I love working at, and maybe someday try to become involved in educational policy and work at implementing positive change in our school system.”

“I’ve been able to call on the skills I’ve gained in my role as a lawyer in the classroom. My interpersonal skills, attention to detail and close study of the English language has put me in good stead for life as a teacher.”

Sam has enjoyed the practical placements as part of his Masters as working with senior school students has reassured him that he’s made the right career decision. “The energy and enthusiasm you get from interacting with the students, as well as seeing the positive impacts (however small they may be) you can have on people’s lives is a motivating factor.”

For those looking to return to study, Sam recommends focusing on a study/life balance for success:

“I think my main tip would be to make sure the time you spend with loved ones is quality time. Make sure to keep check of your physical and mental health.”

Study a Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Sam Montague

Sam Montague

Sam realised that he wasn’t working in his dream job so turned to postgraduate study to pursue his next career path by enrolling in a Master of Teaching (Secondary).

The energy and enthusiasm you get from interacting with the students, as well as seeing the positive impacts (however small they may be) you can have on people’s lives is a motivating factor.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.