Scholarships help future teachers achieve their dreams

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff have praised Northern Territory Department of Education scholarships they received during their studies to become a teacher.

The financial aid has helped undergraduate and postgraduate students overcome economic difficulties that would otherwise have frustrated their dream of qualifying as teachers.

Jawoyn woman Melissa Keelan, a former grant beneficiary and now Driver Preschool teacher, said without a government bursary, familial and other monetary commitments would have put a teaching degree out of reach.

“Growing up it was always my passion to work with children and become a teacher in the Northern Territory, so I applied for a scholarship,” she said.

“Studying without financial support was not an option. But with a scholarship I could commit to full-time study and concentrate on the subject tasks without financial pressure and stress … it was a huge contributor to the successful completion of my Batchelor of Early Childhood Degree.”

The preschool educator said would-be teachers should take advantage of the assistance on offer by the department.

Applications are currently open for the Aboriginal Teacher Education Scholarship, an annual endowment worth up to $15,000 a year.

The Jawoyn woman said the financial support can help more Aboriginal people become educators.

“The scholarship gave me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of becoming a teacher, and now I have the ability to make a difference in the lives of so many children.

“When I began the degree I didn’t know if I would complete it, or not. It was tough, and at times it pushed me way out of my comfort zone. But I made sacrifices to stay focused, and aligned myself with the right connections for support,” she said.

“My advice to any teacher trainees is to surround yourself with people who understand the requirements of study, and who can help you balance life and academic commitments.

“Being a teacher gives me so much purpose, and makes every sacrifice worth it. I love being a teacher in the Northern Territory.”

Applications for the 2020 intake for the Aboriginal Teacher Education Scholarships are open until Friday, 29 November. For more information phone 8999 5704 or email aboriginalschola.doe@nt.gov.au

Scholarships help future teachers achieve their dreams

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