My early career teacher journey

Early career teacher conference

May 2024

Early career teachers Bethany Baynie and Reece Bell talk about their journeys – the highlights, challenges, and advice.

Bethany Baynie, third-year PDHPE teacher, Loreto Normanhurst

Reece Bell, final-year student, the Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE)

Bethany Baynie: early career teaching

Bethany is a third-year PDHPE teacher at Loreto Normanhurst and a member of the ACHPER Early Career Teacher (ECT) committee. Beth has navigated the exciting yet challenging terrain of early career teaching, learning invaluable lessons along the way.

Beth acknowledges the initial uncertainties that come with stepping into a new role: “It took a while to feel comfortable and confident and find my feet in a new school.” She emphasises the importance of embracing imperfection, noting, “Not everything has to be perfect!”

Ongoing learning and continuous growth as a teacher is important to Beth: “You’re going to learn something new every day as an early career teacher, which can be really overwhelming at the time but I look back on that now and know that it has contributed to me being a better teacher. I’m still learning new things every day, and I’m very grateful for that.”

Beth’s key advice to fellow early career teachers:

  • Ask questions: “There is no such thing as a silly question.”
  • Seek support: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help or ask for support.”
  • Embrace community: “Everyone around you is willing to help you because they have all been in your shoes as an early career teacher and they want to help see you succeed.”

Reece Bell:  pre-service teaching

Reece is a final-year Bachelor of Education student at the ACPE and a member of the ACHPER ECT committee. Reece has completed several teaching practices across his degree, roles as a learning support teacher and casual teacher at Marcellin College Randwick, providing him with firsthand insights into the joys and challenges of early career teaching.

Reece has found great fulfillment in witnessing students unlock their full potential, describing it as incredibly rewarding.  He’s observed the value of collaboration with fellow teachers: “I understand the importance of collaborating with other teachers, understanding their different strategies and adding them to your toolkit to make yourself a better teacher.” 

For Reece, one of the greatest challenges in teaching to date has been “stepping into the classroom each time and having no relationship with the students.” This highlights the importance of building rapport and connection with students from the outset.

Reece’s key advice to fellow pre-service and early career teachers:

  • Preparation: “Being prepared is such an important element in being successful in the classroom.” 
  • Catering to students’ diverse needs: “Being able to identify the various needs of students in the classroom has allowed me to be more proactive in my approach to ensure my lesson plans address all students’ needs.”
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