Mackenzie happy to say big brother knows best - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Mackenzie happy to say big brother knows best

14 Jan 2021

While some school leavers have trouble deciding their next move after high school, it has been an easy choice for Mackenzie Biden of Hervey Bay – she is following her brother Thomas into a career as a teacher.

Mackenzie will begin studying Primary Education at USC Fraser Coast this year – the same time that Thomas, who has just completed the four-year degree through the Hervey Bay campus, takes up his first graduate teacher role.

The siblings say they share the same motivation for choosing education as a profession.

“Like Thomas, I’ve been inspired by my own teachers and from a young age I’ve wanted to also become a teacher to help develop young minds,” said Mackenzie, who was a 2020 house captain at Fraser Coast Anglican College, where Thomas was school captain in 2016.

Mackenzie said she had no hesitation in applying through the University’s Early Offer Guarantee Scheme to study at the local campus, after her brother’s experience at USC Fraser Coast.

“It was exciting to receive the early offer weeks before my final ATAR exams, and I am pleased that, as Thomas has done, I will study the degree of my choice in my home town,” Mackenzie said.

“I was not ready to leave home,” she said. “Here I will have a great support network and, just like Thomas, can keep my part-time job at McDonalds and not have the financial pressure of moving away to study.”

Thomas, who has secured a teaching position at Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, said he was pleased to see his sister follow his pathway into education.

“I know the rewards and benefits of teaching will be incredible and I am looking forward to being a role model socially, academically and psychologically for young children.”

Thomas said the best brotherly advice he could offer was to embrace opportunities to complete internships and participate in wider field experiences engaging with community projects and working with children and families.

“One hundred percent, it is the best way to learn and develop teaching skills,” he said. “I even had the opportunity to travel overseas during my studies to complete a short work-integrated learning program in Peru.

“As well as reinforcing what you are studying, you get to put the theory into practice and also make valuable connections that can play a key role in securing future employment.”

With Mackenzie keen to work in rural areas when she graduates, Thomas has recommended participating in USC’s Coast to Country, an initiative aimed at changing pre-service teachers’ perceptions of teaching in rural and remote locations.

“I completed the five-day field excursion during my third year, visiting schools in areas such as Dalby and Roma, and loved it,” he said. “It really opened my eyes to life and teaching in a country area.”

Applications are open to study at USC from Semester 1, which starts on 1 March.

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