Updated: Apr 15, 2021
For a really long time, I have always wanted to start my own Teaching School where I could teach anyone, anywhere.
My teaching journey began in 2012 when I went to teach voluntarily in Nepal with an amazing program called IVHQ . This opportunity came to me out of no where and was something that I felt compelled to take action on. I wasn't 100% sure why but I had this feeling that I needed to go and do it. I do know now as it truly was the catalyst for creating Real Stuff Matters Academy.
I just finished my undergraduate degree from Deakin University and wanted to do something big. I wanted to get out of my home and go somewhere completely foreign.
I thought about going back to my mum's region in the Pacific but I had been there numerous times and really wanted to get uncomfortable and just totally be immersed in an unknown culture. I remember when I told mum that I wanted to teach children in Nepal and she told me "Go for it"!
For me, mum was and is still a big supporter of my dreams and whilst living at home, I took advantage of having her by my side to always guide and give wise counsel to my life decisions. It's important to have a relationship with our parents and that is something I truly value; even more now that I too am a parent.
So just as I envisaged, I went and lived in Nepal and stayed for 6 months. I lived with awesome volunteers from all around the world. The above photo was a selfie taken at village school in a small village called Padampokari (South of Nepal).
After I had taught at Banu Secondary school, I would come home, have some afternoon tea and then head to this local communal area where we would play games, sing English songs and do various activities with the children. It was honestly the best part of the day. Imagine that, my 22 year old self enjoying all kinds of fun with these awesome village kids.
If you have just finished university and still wanting to look for the next challenge and willing to choose life experience over financial gain, I'd recommend international volunteer work or work placement before coming back and getting into the hard work and starting a career. After all, this is all part of future building anyway.
Teaching to those living in poverty taught me so many things with resilience and gratitude being at the top of the list. Teaching in the classroom helped me develop confidence in running a full class size. I had a Bachelors degree and that was enough for me to go and carry out English classes overseas. Trusting yourself was paramount and if you feel called to do something, do it!
If you are looking to grow and develop your character, international travel might be for you. If you love learning new cultures, languages, being in a new environment and country, it's a great step in also building and developing your character. The photo above of the snowy mountain tops are of the Himalayas which I am so happy I snapped. I remember driving down a mountain top and asking the cab driver to stop so I could take this. How beautiful to wake up and see this everyday. I was honestly surrounded with so much beauty and so much inspiration.
Feeling all types of inspired, my thoughts started to align more strongly towards the end of my stay. What dawned on me when I was riding my bike home from school one day was that some of the students I was teaching were never going to get the opportunity that I was going to receive which was "Educational freedom". I knew, that being an Australian, I would have the privileged in having the government help me pay for my university fees and allow me to study full time until I could afford to pay it back. An unheard opportunity in these parts of the world.
This gave me so much motivation that I remember riding 5km on bike to the nearest internet café and waiting for the dial up connection to connect through and started looking at Post Graduate study. This then led me in completing my Masters Degree in Human Rights and International Law from Deakin University at age 25.
Sometimes our life changes and shifts perspectives when we truly seek what it is we are destined to achieve. I have learnt that I love children and love helping people. This then led to the connection to learn that Education was a human right for all and is what has created and driven me in helping as many children as I can when it comes to education.
The teaching confidence grew when I came back to Australia and although I have never taught in a traditional classroom here in Melbourne, I started to tutor my friends children and help out other people who wanted to learn English. Some of them wanted advice about university and resume writing. I don't even know why I was being approached to help out with these areas, but it was something that I was good at and very interested in.
Fast forward to 2018, I started freelancing for English tutoring businesses and then started taking snapchats and Instagram stories of teaching friends children and then it grew. All thanks to "word of mouth marketing". It didn't grow to anything crazy but I went from teaching one on one, to teaching business English to corporate Expats from Japan and launching online virtual classrooms. Looking back at my journey, everything happened after the other and the next phase didn't happen unless I said "YES" to the current one. Everything led to new opportunities and it gave me a renewed mindset to go beyond what I had ever imagined.
Thank you for getting this far in reading my first blog. I'm so thankful and as you can probably tell, this part of my life story is one that I will always treasure and hold close to my heart.