For Brooke Hayes – PMSA Teacher Education Scholarship recipient, Clayfield College Old Collegian, and now first year primary school teacher – her teaching and life journey so far has been a series of wonderful connections.
Whether it’s been staying connected with her old school Clayfield College, making special connections with her students, or continuing to develop her relationship with God, Brooke says the scholarship has helped her pursue her dream of becoming a primary school teacher and gain a truly enriching experience during her studies.
“The scholarship allowed me to have the benefits of studying full time to alleviate any financial pressure – I was able to buy my first laptop and the textbooks I needed for my degree,” Brooke said.
“It also allowed me to take on opportunities to travel, to volunteer in South-East Asia and also to fund a practicum experience in the Solomon Islands.
“The Solomon Island teaching experience is one that is very special to me – it was very different but a completely humbling experience,” Brooke said.
In the Solomon Islands, Brooke took her Year 2 through a project where students created the life cycle of a butterfly.
“We created paper mâché cocoons and were able to combine our cultures as some students lived near big banana trees and they bought in some banana leaves to create the caterpillars.
“It is memories like these where connections are formed between the teacher and students that makes me really cherish the position that I have today.”
Graduating from Clayfield College in 2015 and awarded the PMSA Teacher Education Scholarship, Brooke studied teaching in a small cohort at Australian Catholic University (ACU).
Now 22, Brooke is thoroughly enjoying her first teaching post in a Year 2 class at St Dympna’s Primary School in Aspley.
“I love how the children in the early years are so passionate about the ‘why’ questions and wonder how things work.
“Once I have developed my skills further, I would love to go back to study further to take a leadership role within a school.”
Reflecting on her own education in a PMSA school at Clayfield College, Brooke said she valued the connections that she was able to make – both with the girls and also the teachers and wider community.
“We hear a lot about Clayfield being small in number but big with heart and I believe this is true,” Brooke said.
Brooke says she was inspired by a lot of her Clayfield teachers but no more so than Tina Mills (Freestone).
“Ms Mills (Freestone) inspired me to continue with my passion, she guided be through subject selection, university application and even assisting with my interview prep for a teaching position. She had a deep impact on me and one that I value even when we talk today.”
Brooke was also lucky enough to spend some time in Clayfield College primary teacher Vivienne Corness’s classroom during her studies.
“Vivienne has a calm and welcoming presence in the classroom. Whilst I spent some time in her classroom, I was able to reflect on my own way of teaching to mirror this into my own classroom to create a space of warmth and welcoming to all who entered the door.”
Brooke says one of the wonderful elements that the PMSA fosters in the schools is the sense of community, particularly in a small school of Clayfield College.
“Each school is open to everyone’s abilities and that truly highlights the core of the Christian values.”
And like all PMSA schools, Clayfield has a strong focus on community service.
“There was always a charity drive being conducted or various dress-up days to raise money for charities. These allowed us to live out not only the ethos of the school but what it means to be Christian and follow in God’s message,” Brooke said.
“This has continued with me through my volunteer work and active involvement in the community.”
Applications for the 2021 PMSA Teacher Education Scholarship close on 16 October 2020. To apply, complete the application form and provide supporting documentation which can be found on the PMSA Scholarships page.