From Trainee to Teacher
It was Laura Negri’s traineeship at St Paul’s Catholic School in Hobart that not only inspired her to become a teacher, but gave her the hands-on experience and networks she needed to get a teaching job straight out of university.
“Still to this day, my traineeship was the best year of my life,” said Laura.
After receiving an ATAR score of 94 in year 12, Laura felt she was expected to jump straight into university and study a degree in something that complimented her score. So, she decided on Physiotherapy, but she wasn’t convinced.
“I decided to take a year off to work, save money and have another think about pursuing a career as a physio, but then I saw the Sport and Recreation traineeship opportunity arise at St Paul’s and thought, maybe I should give teaching a go! I’ve always enjoyed the coaching aspect of sport, so teaching had always been in the back of my mind, but I never planned on exploring it further.
What excited me about doing a traineeship; was working with kids, and I knew that if I wanted to go down the teaching pathway this traineeship would give me a huge advantage over others when it came to applying for jobs.
I knew that the experience this traineeship would give me would look amazing on my resume and I can confirm that it did. In every interview, selection panels were curious to hear more about my experiences throughout my traineeship!”
Laura began her traineeship in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the industry.
“I was a week into my traineeship at St Paul’s, I had an amazing mentor in Justin and I remember going home to mum and dad and saying ‘I don’t want to be a physio anymore; I want to be a teacher!
My parents were skeptical and asked: but are you sure? And I replied with, 100%! So for me, the traineeship planted the seed for my career for the rest of my life, and I love teaching so much I can’t see myself doing anything else.”
One of Laura’s greatest inspirations was her mentor Justin Veitch, who was the PE teacher and Deputy Principal at St Paul’s at the time. She believes it was Justin who was the deciding factor as to whether teaching was the career for her.
“I saw the impact Justin was having on the kids, most of them coming from a low socio-economic background, and he just knew how to engage with them and build those fundamental relationships, which is so important for high-risk kids. His teaching pedagogy and energy were inspiring, he taught them in such a way that they were always having so much fun and learning at the same time, which is what it is all about, right?
Knowing that I could one day have the same positive impact on kids, sealed the deal for me!”
In her traineeship at the school, as Laura put it, “I got to do all the fun stuff.” From helping with carnivals to supporting sports events, running a soccer program and working alongside teachers in classrooms with the kids, there was never a day Laura didn’t want to come to work. For her, her traineeship was everything she hoped for and more
“I think as well, the skills I gained have been vital in my growth as a person and as a teacher. I learned to communicate effectively with kids as well as parents and staff. My confidence just skyrocketed. I felt sure of my abilities.”
She also acknowledges her AFL SportsReady Field Officer at the time, Tracey Parry, who she said is one of the most caring and nurturing people she knows.
“Tracey is the best! She constantly checked in on me, always called me to make sure everything was okay, she is so passionate about her job and it was evident that she wanted to see me succeed. I can’t thank her enough!”
After graduating, Laura jumped into a Bachelor of Health and PE that would allow her to pursue a career in teaching.
“During my degree, I was able to continue working at St Paul’s which was amazing because I was getting so much practical experience as well.
The first thing I noticed when I went to Uni was that I was much more prepared for the practical side of things. A lot of people in my degree had never been in a classroom and I had a whole 12 months of experience. This made me feel confident within an environment that can be quite daunting for many, and it really showed, as I graduated with distinction.”
Through her degree, Laura worked across four different schools, all connected to her traineeship.
“Those connections that I made at St Pauls’s primary school; they are the people who ultimately helped me get a job after uni.
Because I did a Traineeship, four teachers I knew from St Paul’s had moved on to work at other schools, so those connections quickly broadened, and I was able to gain work experience across multiple schools.”
Laura is now working full-time at Bacchus Marsh Grammar in Victoria as a 3rd-grade teacher.
“This is an amazing school and I absolutely love teaching here. It really feels like a dream come true for me and It all started because of my traineeship.
My advice would be, if you are in two minds about a career, a traineeship can be the deciding factor regarding what you want to do with your life. You get to work in the industry, not just read about it… and that is everything.
This article is part of a series to highlight the real stories of young people who chose a Traineeship as their career pathway.
The ‘Careers are made through Traineeships’ article series features AFL SportsReady alumni demonstrating ‘where they ended up’ post Traineeship.
To find out more about our Traineeship program and the opportunities it can lead to, click here
In April 2021, Laura participated in a webinar, explaining ‘How Traineeships Inspire the Next Generation of Teachers.’ You can view the webinar recording HERE.
Date: 1st of April 2021
Image: Laura Negri
Author: Marissa Pagliarello