Fiona shines bright in the classroom

Fiona Quayle loves nothing more than seeing that light bulb moment when her students ‘get it’. It’s what drives her and makes her work as a teacher so fulfilling.

Fiona Quayle is the kind of teacher who lives for her work.

She has an insatiable thirst for knowledge herself, which in turn inspires her students in the classroom.

When she’s not teaching, Fiona enjoys reading and listening to podcasts about topics like literacy.

Fiona began her career as a primary school teacher, before moving into secondary teaching for a decade.

When she had her children, she decided to give nursing a try, but didn’t end up finishing her studies because she knew her heart wasn’t in it.

Teaching was her true calling.

“I love the engagement with students,” says Fiona. “I love when they learn and you see that light bulb moment in a classroom. You can see it in their face – when the penny has just dropped – nothing compares.”

Fiona moved from secondary to tertiary teaching and spent 10 years working at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) teaching support officers and helping tutor pathway students moving into the Bachelor of Education.

When that area of the ACU shut down, Fiona took a job with Chisholm teaching the Certificate IV in School-Based Education Support.

The Certificate IV equips students with the skills needed to support children and young people with additional needs within the primary and secondary educational settings.

The qualification includes specialist knowledge in how to support students on the autism spectrum.

Fiona loves her work.

When she’s not in the classroom, she’s often out in the field assessing how her students are performing while on placement.

“It’s a great job, because you not only get to teach, you also get to go into different schools and see how different schools operate,” says Fiona.

A highlight of teaching the Certificate IV in School-Based Education Support is the diversity in the classroom, Fiona says.

“The cohort can be varied in age and that’s what I love – I’ve taught students who are 18 and someone who was 70,” she says.

“I’ve had a student who was a meteorologist, another who has two degrees in marine biology and business. They’ve just decided all of a sudden they want a change in career.

“They may have had a child or someone in their family who has required learning support in the classroom and they come with this passion to actually want to help and support these students.”

As for her younger students, Fiona says often they might not feel quite ready to teach or to do a Bachelor of Education.

She says the Certificate IV is a great way to ease into a classroom environment and support students on an individual basis.

“It’s quite an in-depth course,” says Fiona. “The students who go out really have a great understanding how schools operate and the content of the curriculum.

“They are supporting our vulnerable students and I always say they have the best job in the world, and one of the most important jobs.”