In a recent endorsement of Avondale University’s teaching courses, a federal government survey has unveiled a 93 per cent satisfaction rating from its graduates. This rating distinguishes Avondale as the top-ranked higher education institution in comparison with 45 other universities and providers across Australia offering similar courses, well above the national average of 75 per cent.
Recent Avondale alumna and first-year teacher at Noosa Christian College Margaret Graham confirms these results, attributing her successful transition into her new workplace to the nurturing environment she experienced at Avondale.
The Year 5 teacher feels the staff members have “confidence in my ability and back my decisions.” A smaller school, with about 400 students across the primary and secondary campuses, seems a good fit for a teacher in their first year. Ms Graham also rates her experience at Avondale highly because of the support she received from the staff members here. “The lecturers had a lot of time for you. I got to graduate: that’s a testament to them.”
A commitment to care “is the way we do things here,” said the head of the School of Education and Science, Dr Sherry Hattingh. “We’re enacting the values of Avondale and our calling as teachers.” The rankings “encourage us to grow best practice. Relationships are what make teaching effective, so we choose to practice this in our workplace by building and developing these.”
Ms Graham had limited experience and little confidence when she started studying primary teaching, arriving at Avondale at 18 years old. A big turning point came during her last placement—an eight-week block in a Year 5 classroom at Avondale School. The teacher, alumnus Steve Platt, became a mentor. “If I wanted to try something new, or if I wasn’t sure about something, he’d make time to answer my questions. It really helped me apply theory to practice.”
Now, Ms Graham is a role model for the 20 children in her class. “I’m very aware of the things I say and do. I’m not perfect, of course— I try my best to be kind and not grumpy so they can see that’s how we should treat others.” Ms Graham seeks to build genuine relationships with her students. “I want them to know I care and, at least for the six hours a day I have them, that they are my number one priority.”