During the busy last semester of her primary teaching degree, Rachael Wood’s focus was on completing assignments, not on looking for jobs. So naturally, when Bethlehem College advertised a teaching position in October, to begin with Rachael didn’t give it a moment’s thought. “ I had no intention of applying that early. I was so bogged down with assignments I couldn’t think of anything worse than having to try and get my CV organized as well,” smiles Rachael.
Apparently God has other ideas however, as soon Rachael began to feel a very strong tug to apply for the Year 7 teaching role. “I felt really, really called and pulled to it,” reflects Rachael. This sense of call gave her the impetus she needed to complete her CV and apply for the job. Within a very short period of time she had been interviewed for and offered the position and was able to finish out her studies with the security of already having a job to walk into when she graduated.
Rachael is now settling into the rhythms and routines of her first year of teaching. “I think coming into Bethlehem College as a school has been great. The staff is awesome,” says Rachael. “They are really helpful - I’m just surrounded by a wonderful team. I love getting to know the students. They are all unique and beautiful and I’ve got a really lovely multicultural class.”
The transition from student to teacher can be a demanding one, and Rachael’s advice to first year teachers to give themselves the space they need to settle into their new role. She says, “Clear your calendar so that when you start you don’t have too many outside things on. I think dedicating the first 3 or 4 weeks purely just to work and sleep will be more than enough! You also need to be prepared to be flexible going into a new school. Have a few things up your sleeve definitely, but also just be ready to run with whatever the school is doing. That’s just part of it. It’s a rollercoaster ride!”
During the three years of her degree Rachael explored and engaged with concepts of Christian education, and is enjoying the process of living out that learning in her first classroom. “I think everything that I’ve learned at BTI about Christian Education has cemented and to see it in practice is just a huge benefit,” says Rachael. "It is about who we are, what comes out, how we respond and relate to students to create those safe environments, how we support unique children or children with different gifting. Being able to solve problems integrating all of our biblical perspectives is awesome. Being able to pray for students when things are tough or going wrong is amazing. And I just can’t imagine even teaching without that. It’s such a holistic approach, being able to actually not just acknowledge but also actually enter into the fact that we are spiritual beings.”