Linda Walton’s pre-service teaching career has taken her from Melbourne, to the rural town of Biloela in Central Queensland and a stint in Indonesia’s Malang in-between.
Linda will graduate from the University of Southern Queensland in a few months, officially completing her Bachelor of Education (Primary).
Studying off-campus from her home in Victoria, Linda added to her practical classroom experience with a four-week placement at Brawijaya Smart School (BSS) in Malang, Indonesia, thanks to the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan program.
During her stay at East Java’s second largest city, Linda rarely encountered anyone who had met an Australian.
“However one man asked me where I came from and I asked him if he had met any Australians before – he proudly replied ‘Oh yes, many, I have been to Bali’,” she laughed.
Linda said it was invaluable teaching and life experience for her, as well as her family.
“I travelled with my husband and two teenage sons - it took about 13 hours from departure to arrival in Malang city,” she said.
“I started work at 6.30am each morning to teach the Kelas 4 (Grade 4) students. They were so keen to practise their English and ask lots of questions - happy, bright and full of energy.
“I spent every lunch break in the canteen with the students, eating what they eat and participating in their daily routine as much as possible. They were excited to show me around, help order my lunch and share their table.
“I taught English, Science and Mathematics and planned my lessons according to the available curriculum. I think my style of teaching was new for the students.
“We have many more resources available to us back home. I organised science experiments and math activities using materials I could rustle up from the local supermarket.”
Linda said it was a time of exploration and discovery, providing a new perspective on the teaching profession.
“There is just so much to share and to learn both ways,” she said.
“I am forever grateful for this experience and highly recommend it to every pre-service teaching student.
“I hope to return to Brawijaya Smart School and Malang one day soon, as I have friends to see again. Also, I promised the kids.”