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Anyone who suddenly found themselves as an online student once the pandemic hit will know all too well that it can be incredibly freeing, with the flexibility to fit your studies into your life —particularly essential if you’ve already been working full-time but need a career change or you’re or looking to upskill in your field. Having said that, you’ll also know that having enough support is tantamount to your success.

This is exactly why you should pick a university that’s actually known for its online course offerings. It was this balance of flexibility and support that Madeline Jones found during her Master of Teaching (Primary) at CQUniversity, which she graduated in 2016.

Teaching was a passion for Madeline long before it became her profession, it’s almost like the career change chose her.

“I always enjoyed working with children,” she told us. “Before I commenced study, I coached various levels of club and representative netball. I knew I had more to give and I caught myself checking out various university course pages far too often. I knew it was the right move for me”.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the right choice is always the first choice, and one of the hardest decisions to make when you’re in the workforce full-time is to go back to uni for a career switch.

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“I have an undergrad degree in human resources and I worked in that field for five years. One day I woke up and was literally like, ‘This is not for me; I’m not enjoying my work. I don’t feel like I’m giving anything back to society, to the community'”.

“At the time, my partner was studying teaching through CQUni as well. He finished the year before me in 2015 and he’s now in a permanent high-school position. So, I was inspired by him and what he was doing. I just basically woke up one day and said, ‘I’m going to do it’”.

Madeline gave us the lowdown on how going back to uni for her online teaching studies went, and how her career choices are working out so far.

PTV: Why did you choose to study online?

Madeline: I chose to study online for the flexibility. I had already had the on-campus experience with my undergraduate degree and I wanted the flexibility to work full time and study.

PTV: How did your course cater for online learning? 

Madeline: I was hesitant at first, but after participating in the first round of lectures and having all the material available online it was extremely convenient.

PTV: What were the best surprises of online study?

Madeline: I could do it any time of day, in my pyjamas or by the pool. It was so flexible.

PTV: What should people expect going into the course?

Madeline: Expect to work hard, especially getting your head around the curriculum and theory behind effective education. CQUniversity offered a really dynamic, supportive and hands-on course. Reach out to lecturers and tutors, they are always willing to provide you with support.

PTV: Did you connect with other students? 

Madeline: I was super lucky to make contact with another student studying the course online who was based in Brisbane. I am still in contact with her today.

Our student group also had a Facebook group where we discussed assessments, practicums and other study-related things.

PTV: What have been some highlights of your career change so far?

Madeline: For me, definitely that light bulb moment when you see students grasp the concept you are trying to teach. Whether it’s taken a few days, a few weeks or the entire school year it is priceless.

PTV: What advice do you have for aspiring teachers out there?

Madeline: Be prepared to work hard; be prepared to have tough days, but most of all, be prepared to have fun. Learning should be fun and engaging. Students thrive in this type of environment, where they are supported and encouraged to take risks.

You are one of the main role models in your students’ lives and while it is a huge responsibility it is also an extremely rewarding position to be in.

Madeline is a pretty fab example of being able to make study work for you, without having to give up a full-time job or other commitments. With a huge ranch of flexible online courses a Graduate Guarantee, plus all the support you could dream of, CQUniveristy might just be the option you’ve been looking for.

Image: Matilda