Painting a new path
The search for more time with her family led ACU education and humanities graduate Linda Harrod-Eagles to swap forensics for teaching.
Changing careers is a challenge for anyone but new research suggests we need to be ready. Five to seven career changes in a lifetime is the new average for Australian workers who are willing to update their qualifications and switch careers. For Linda the change was a way to pursue her real passions and make a difference in young people’s lives.
“I decided that my career in policing was impacting my family and that teaching would better suit my lifestyle. I also felt that I could use my skill set in the classroom to discuss real-life scenarios with students in subjects like legal studies and business,” said Linda.
“I chose ACU as I felt the Brisbane Campus was more focused on learning than partying. It had a very tranquil environment with supportive teachers.
“I really did enjoy studying at ACU. The facilities were of a high standard, the lectures were of a high standard and I received help. My lecturers were very supportive of my desire to complete my degree in the shortest possible timeframe so that I could get back into the workforce.”
Following her passions
The move to teaching also allowed Linda to pursue her passion for art and pass it onto her students.
“I have been painting since I was young, and it is a tremendous stress outlet and way to communicate my feelings to an audience. I use mostly acrylic paint on canvas with some aspects of texture paste. I paint many different contemporary and abstract works,” she said.
“I had so many fantastic experiences while studying including holding my very first art exhibition. The skills I learned at university helped build my confidence to do such a thing. It was a very successful exhibition which also helped build this confidence.”
Linda graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) in 2017 and now works full-time at Grace Lutheran College in Brisbane.
“I teach from Year 7 to Year 12 subjects including business studies, legal studies and visual art. I run a co-curricular program called Art Club after school which allows me to connect with students on a casual and fun basis where I run art workshops.
“I did further training in mooting so I can support my students to compete against other schools in competitions all over Queensland.
“I have also increased my skill set in assessment and training, business and mental health. I am encouraged to do professional development regularly, so the learning never stops.”
Supporting young people
The daily rewards of teaching and supporting young people as they grow are clear to Linda but there are also challenges.
“Teaching is a very exhausting career where you spend days, nights and weekends working. Take it from a former police officer, teaching is a tough gig,” Linda said.
“But I am proud of the relationships I have formed with other teachers and students. I am always overcome when I receive a heartfelt letter from a student at the end of the year that tells me how much I have impacted them and how my support meant the world to them.
“The reason I teach is to impact the students positively and possibly change their lives for the better. I want them to know that when they are in my classroom, they are safe and supported.”
And her advice to others?
“Study what you love, not what you think you should study. When you love what you study you outperform others in the workplace. You cannot fake passion.”
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