Teaching graduate on a journey of lifelong learning

Wednesday, 14 February 2018


After four years of formal training, an education graduate from the University of Newcastle’s Port Macquarie Campus is about to stand at the front of a classroom as an official teacher for the first time.

Jack Wilson

Growing up in Lake Cathie just south of Port Macquarie, Jack Wilson always had a passion for knowledge and knew teaching was the pathway he wanted to take.

“School was the one place where you could explore the world and find out about how the little things you used each day worked. I loved this setting and work experience in a primary school really helped cement my passion for working with children,” he said.

Putting his skills to practice at Lake Cathie Public School in Term 1, Jack will be teaching casually across all subject areas from Kindergarten through to Year 6.

“My studies have given me the confidence to handle whatever challenges may be thrown at me, whether that’s a changing schedule, a child who is having a bad day, a lesson that needs to be deciphered or having playground duty,” he said.

Immersing himself in every opportunity that University had to offer, Jack gained invaluable experiences that enhanced his studies, including a short study tour to China.

“Going to China was my biggest highlight. We had the opportunity to talk to education students at two different Chinese universities, talk to and observe teachers whilst they taught and we even got to teach in the classrooms.

“From this experience, I learnt the value of connecting classroom content with the local context alongside world views and the appreciation of the different perspectives that exist,” he said.

Armed with a go-getter mentality and a grant from the Hastings Education Fund, he also became the University’s first Campus Life Assistant to help fellow students with activities, study and general wellbeing.

“University has many hurdles, from time-management to family commitments. Knowing there is support there to manage time better, ask about financial aid or just chat about an assignment can make all the difference. I really enjoyed being able to help out and work alongside my peers,” he said.

Feeling nervous, excited and a little relieved that four years of hard work has come to an end, Jack said it has been an experience he will never forget.

“I remember my very first lecture when a fourth-year student came and talked to us about their experiences of university. Throughout their talk, I kept thinking, how do I get to there from where I am in just four years? I can’t believe it’s finally happened and it’s an experience that I will remember for many years to come.”

While his undergraduate experience may be over, Jack is about to commence a Master of Education to go on and teach secondary school mathematics into the future.

“Mathematics is a subject that I am passionate about, but I believe it is the least appreciated by students. I hope that I can change that way of thinking for the students I may teach,” he said.

Jack is among almost 90 education, midwifery and nursing students who will graduate from the University of Newcastle’s Port Macquarie campus on Wednesday 14 February from 1pm at the Glasshouse.