Sue Cunningham has started a Bachelor of Primary Teaching.SHE may not be freshly out of high school but Sue Cunningham is more than ready to tackle the challenges of tertiary education.
Nanjing Night Net

A few months shy of her 50th birthday, Ms Cunningham started her Bachelor of Education at Warrnambool’s Deakin University this week.

The Port Fairy woman left St Ann’s, now Emmanuel College, in year 11 and only became interested in teaching while raising her son Thomas.

“I’ve got one boy so I’ve been quite involved in his school for some time,” she told The Standard.

“I did a teacher’s aide course online at TAFE in 2009.

“I spent the majority of time at St Pat’s (Parish Primary School) where Thomas goes but I also did some work at (Port Fairy) consolidated.

“I was also the gardening specialist in consolidated’s kitchen-garden project.”

After two years of working about 16 hours a week as an aide, Ms Cunningham enrolled for the teaching degree with the support of both schools. She said it had been daunting to find herself sitting in a lecture with so many young students, some less than half her age, but her confidence was growing.

“A lot of them are just out of school, 18 years old,” she said.

“But I’ve got life skills and they’ve got the study skills happening … we’ll be able to work together and help each other.”

Ms Cunningham said she was relying on partner Paul Mahoney, family and friends to help her balance her new lifestyle.

“It’ll be hard to juggle everything,” she said.

“It’ll be busy, busy … but if I can get a good routine happening, it should be fine.”

The student said she had seen many older teachers coming through the primary system and was looking forward to becoming one of them.

Ms Cunningham’s enrolment at Deakin is one of a record number at tertiary institutions around the state, with federal government funding increasing the number of places available at universities around Australia from 488,000 in 2011 to 545,000 in 2012.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.