Hannah Watt is living her own fairy tale and it’s all thanks to Walt Disney. The Master of Teaching and Learning (Primary) student will have her own dream come true when she graduates in 2017 and enters the classroom.
“I worked at Disney World for six or seven months and I was with kids all day every day and I decided I want to work with kids,” she said.
Born and raised in Townsville, Hannah studied a Bachelor of Journalism before working at Disney World. When she returned home she went straight into the Master’s degree after finishing the last subject of her undergraduate degree.
“Right from the very start of the Masters, you know whether you want to do this course,” she said. “From week one, you’re in a classroom and you’re surrounded by children and you’re seeing what the teacher does.”
Having the opportunity to be in a classroom so early in the course not only confirmed for Hannah that she had made the right choice, the experience has also given her wonderful memories.
“One of the highlights for me was the first day I entered a school,” she said. “I was in a prep classroom and the lady who teaches religion came into the classroom and she sang a religious song and all the kids were joining in and it was really lovely and really nice and I just thought, I want to teach. This is lovely.”
As well as practical experience, the Master of Teaching and Learning (Primary) provides the opportunity to study a broad range of subjects, ensuring that students are prepared to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of learners and communities. Hannah has studied everything from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pedagogy to cultural and linguistic studies.
“You learn a bit about science, you learn a bit about math, you learn a bit about English and literacy and band-scaling kids,” she said. “There’s so much you’ve got to learn because as a primary school teacher you have to be proficient in a lot of areas.”
Developing her knowledge and skills across a range of areas was made easier due to small class sizes. Hannah said the small classes made it possible to have one-on-one time with lecturers and build rapport with them.
“They can help you out,” she said. “I remember I was teaching a maths lesson one day and I was a bit nervous about how to teach it, so I went to my maths lecturer and she guided me through my lesson plan. You develop a really good bond because it’s such a small cohort.”
Being part of a small cohort allowed Hannah to form tight bonds with her fellow Master of Teaching and Learning students.
“I’m really close with them,” she said. “You make really good friends because it’s so demanding and you’re putting so much effort into your assignments and trying so hard to get through it all and forming amazing bonds.”
Hannah said people who have an open mind and are willing to put in the effort should consider studying the Master of Teaching and Learning. She said being a full-time student means having to manage competing priorities.
“If you want to graduate in that year-and-a-half, be prepared because it’s a lot of hard work,” she said. “It’s a lot of time and dedication because while you’re on prac you have to do up the lesson plan, you’re going to have late nights. You have to come in with an open mind and a hard working ethic.”