Rural schools beckon Notre Dame Education students

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Summer 2-12-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



It’s a 12-hour journey from The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Broadway Campus to the rural town of Broken Hill, but the distance didn’t deter 17 fourth-year Bachelor of Education students from making the trip. The group, led by staff members Julie Maakrun and Catherine Wormald, travelled to primary and secondary schools in the Broken Hill region as part of the Teach NSW Beyond the Line program, an initiative designed to allow Education students to experience rural school settings.

The students volunteered to spend a week at Wilcannia Central School, Menindee Central School and Nyngan Primary and High School, where they visited classrooms to get a taste of what teaching in rural schools is like, particularly in catering to the needs of Indigenous students. After supporting children in literacy and numeracy activities, reading books to classes and observing many curriculum initiatives, including L3, an early literacy intensive program, the Notre Dame students agreed the experience has made an impact on their approach to teaching.

Final year Primary Education student, Jessica Maughn, has already taken up the opportunity to work in regional NSW. She will begin her teaching career St Therese’s Primary School, Wilcannia, in 2012.

“The Beyond the Line Programme has allowed me the opportunity to examine my future in a remote community,” Ms Maughn said.

“The trip has instilled within me the belief that if I work hard and believe in myself and in the children I teach, the next few years may turn out to be some of the most rewarding of my career.”

Emma Davis, also in her final year of a Primary Education degree, said she would not have considered rural teaching if not for the Beyond the Line program.

“Broken Hill was an amazing experience that not only opened my eyes to new teaching opportunities, but re-affirmed the reasons I wanted to become a teacher,” Ms Davis said.

“The community, teachers and students welcomed us and their passion for teaching and for ensuring the wellbeing of their community is contagious. I would love to teach in Broken Hill or in another rural area during my career.”

Sydney School of Education Lecturer, Julie Maakrun said Notre Dame supports the beyond the Line program because it broadens students’ perspectives on entering the teaching profession.

“It is important that students don’t see rural teaching as ‘the great unknown’,” Ms Maakrun said.

“Familiarising students with rural schools through this program is valuable because they can get to know the different environment, ask the classroom teacher questions and receive honest appraisals about teaching in the country.

“It’s these experiences that ultimately shape the kind of teacher each of these students will become,” she said.

For further information please contact: Communications Officer, Elizabeth Fenech The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

T: 02 8204 4407

E: elizabeth.fenech@nd.edu.au

W: www.nd.edu.au/