Clancie Neilson

Master of Education student Clancie Neilson is already an expert at time management. As a Deputy Principal of a Cairns high school and mother of two teenage boys, she knows the importance of having a schedule and making the most of time. The flexibility offered by being able to study online means that Clancie is able to excel in her further studies.

“Doing it online makes it possible for me,” she says. “The boys are into sport and I have activities at work that are afterhours and this can be quite a significant time commitment. By doing the course externally, I’m able to determine when I’m available for study.”

Clancie has held the role of Deputy Principal at St Mary’s Catholic College in Cairns for nine years. With one son graduating from high school and the other in Year 11, the time was right for her to start studying again. She enrolled as a part-time, external student in the Master of Education at the beginning of 2017.

“My job at times can become very intensive with commitments such as information evenings, parent sessions and all things curriculum,” Clancie says. “That I can self-pace, in terms of my readings, with this course has been a major benefit. If you’re working full-time, this is an entirely suitable way to go about getting your Masters.”

Setting her own pace involves implementing strategies, such as reading ahead when she can, so that the study load during the semester is manageable.

“I find I have put myself through the study at a faster pace because I use the breaks to my full advantage,” she says. “I do a lot of the preparatory work during the breaks so I can have a manageable study load.”

The Master of Education offers a range of subjects, including Leading for Change in Curriculum and Pedagogy. Clancie has developed a particular interest in human resources and has found the course is relevant to her current role.

“I’m interested in the human resources area,” she says. “That is where I spend most of my time and learning about this is really contextual and of value.”

A highlight of her study has been interacting with other students from different backgrounds and with unique perspectives.

“I like the range of people who are in the course,” she says. “It’s different from doing an undergraduate degree where you are at the same stage with people in your class all the way through. In this course, it is staggered so you interact with people who are on different pathways and from different backgrounds.”