Nathan Wales decided he wanted to become a Health and Physical Education (HPE) teacher inYear 10 of his high schooling at Bentley Park College. He has been playing rugby league since he was 11 years old and always wanted a career in sports.
“I’ve loved and played sports growing up. When it came time to decide what we wanted to do with our lives I decided to do something with sport. I would see how much fun my HPE teachers were having and thought I could do that every day.”
After enrolling in JCU’s Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science, Nathan studied under many leading experts in the field. He learnt about physiology, anatomy, physics, mathematics, rehabilitation, sport psychology, strength and conditioning, biomechanics and general sports. He also continued to play rugby league and AFL throughout his degree.
“The highlight of my study was gaining all the knowledge I did under the experts who taught me. When you get to second and third year studies you’re in smaller class sizes, so you get a lot more one-on-one time with your lecturers, so you really get a grip on the content and learn so much.”
Nathan’s studies eventually opened doors in the form of work experience at the Northern Pride Rugby League Football Club and Bentley Park College’s Rugby League Academy.
“I made some contacts in my course who were helpful with organising my work experience. I think work experience is the biggest thing that anybody could want from a course, because getting as much practical exposure as possible before graduation is incredibly beneficial.”
During his sports science studies, Nathan returned to Bentley Park College as a Teacher’s Aide, and upon completion of his Graduate Diploma of Education he was hired permanently as a HPE and Rugby League teacher at the school. He now works alongside Alex Starmer who runs the Rugby League Academy program and teaches the Year 9, 10 and 12 rugby league classes.
“Seeing the kids get out, learn and enjoy themselves while having fun and building relationships is the best part of my job – it’s what school is all about. I try to make sure I do that for all my kids because I enjoy seeing them learn and have fun.”
Nathan has also returned to the Northern Pride team as a player. Although he’s considering some travel in the near future, Nathan has no long-term plans to make any changes as he’s loving his career and lifestyle.