School placements are an important part of course work for Bachelor of Education students. It allows students to put their university course work into practice and integrate learnings from their placement back into their course work.
Uni Hub Spencer Gulf education student Justin Borland recently completed a three-week placement at Jamestown Community School. Justin, and school principal Michael Gaunt, share their views on the placement, the Uni Hub and the importance of local connections.
Uni Hub student Justin Borland knew he wanted to work in the field of education. He has spent the past five years employed at John Pirie Secondary School in Port Pirie, working as an SSO and youth worker.
When Uni Hub opened its doors in 2019, he took it as ‘a sign’ and enrolled in a Bachelor of Education (secondary).
“I really love working in the school, and I felt like it (the Uni Hub) was the opportunity I needed to take it to the next level,” he said.
“Uni Hub was the reason I made the decision to apply for uni – prior to this travel and the cost were the factors that held me back.”
It was a conversation with Uni Hub education mentor Terry Sizer that influenced his decision to approach Jamestown Community School about his placement.
“Terry recommended Jamestown a while ago. It also helped that I knew Michael (Jamestown principal) from when he was the John Pirie vice principal,” he said.
For Justin, the placement provided him with invaluable hands-on professional experience, working in the middle school (Years 7-10) with the Physical Education teacher. He was also given the chance to observe a variety of other classes to broaden his experience in other subject areas.
“I really enjoyed my time there. It’s a beautiful, welcoming school. All the staff are hard working and I learnt a lot from them,” he said.
Justin said outside of the school he really enjoyed his time in the local community.
“Everyone stops and says hello and they wave when they drive past. I was even able to get out to the local footy training sessions. Jamestown is a great community,” he said.
Justin said the placement gave him the him confidence in knowing that the career path he has chosen was the right choice.
“My experiences with my placement was really positive and this gives me confidence that I made the right decision with my studies,” he said.
School Principal Michael Gaunt said Justin settled in well at the school – from the moment he started his orientation sessions.
“He’s got a great connection with the staff and students – he’s brought a lot of enthusiasm with him,” Michael said.
“We’ve really enjoyed having him here at the school.”
Michael highlighted the importance of having pre-service students such as Justin come into regional schools.
“It’s always challenging to attract and retain teachers in country schools,” he said.
“Having pre-service teachers like Justin, who lives in the region, is just invaluable to us. Not only do these students get hands-on experience at local schools, in the long term there may be the potential for us to provide them with employment opportunities.”
Michael said a local tertiary education option for people in the region was important, including for students at Jamestown Community School.
“Some of our Year 12 students face barriers when it comes to considering tertiary study – and the Uni Hub helps remove these barriers. They can now access tertiary education without the need to move away,” he said.
“In addition, our Year 11 and 12 students have achieved outstanding results through SUN (Start Uni Now program) which has been offered through the Uni Hub.
“There are certainly significant benefits having the Uni Hub in the region.”
Photo: Uni Hub Spencer Gulf student Justin Borland, centre, was pictured with Jamestown Community School students David Theron, left, and Lucy Carkle.