NEiTA winner Dulari credits Southern Cross University as core part of her journey
Dulari Gonawala’s career has gone from strength to strength since arriving in Australia nine years ago, transitioning from high school teaching to early childhood, and moving into a teacher mentor position with employer Goodstart Early Learning.
One core moment in her career journey was when she made the decision to work in education again, to support her family financially in their new Australian home. Knowing that education was her true passion, Ms Gonawala gained a Certificate III in Early Childhood and began working at a long day care service in Victoria.
Once established in the sector, she began to look into online postgraduate options and began studying a Graduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood) part-time through Southern Cross University while working full-time.
“I realised I could progress my career and income level significantly just by studying the graduate diploma, so I did a lot of research and found Southern Cross University where I could study completely online,” she said.
“It was a challenge with two kids under two and working full time, but my lecturers at Southern Cross were incredibly supportive, and my husband as well.”
“I am the biggest advocate for studying through Southern Cross. Since I graduated in 2017 and received my teacher registration, four of my colleagues have followed my path and now graduated from Southern Cross.”
Ms Gonawala recently won a prestigious National Excellence in Teaching Award (NEiTA) for her role as Educational Leader at Goodstart Early Learning in Berwick, and has since been promoted to Teacher Mentor, supporting other up-and-coming early childhood educators.
“I can’t believe it myself, I sometimes pinch myself and ask if this is really happening. Winning a national award is a big deal and especially so when English is my second language. And now being in a role focused on supporting and coaching the rest of the team, this is a dream come true for me.”
In her new role as Teacher Mentor, Ms Dulari will be able to share her experiences with other teachers, while also supporting those who are moving into full registration to showcase their proficiency. She also mentors Southern Cross students through the University’s Bright Futures program.
“I love working with children, because it’s a new day every day, and I’ve learned so much about children’s behaviours and learning – it’s definitely become my passion. The first five years of life are crucial in terms of brain development, and social and emotional skills, which shows the importance of the work we do. I’m still deciding what I want to study for my Masters,” she added.
“These past few years have been a wild rollercoaster but I’m so thankful to Centre Director Julie Frazer, and my family who are all super proud. My parents didn’t have the opportunity to go to University, but they knew the value of education, and taught me English from a young age so that I could work and study – I get emotional thinking about it.”
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