Hannah continues family legacy with ECT qualification
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Hannah follows in the family footsteps, choosing a career as an ECT

Hannah follows in the family footsteps, choosing a career as an ECT

by Freya Lucas

November 01, 2023

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) student Hannah Jordan comes from a long line of enthusiastic teachers – her mother is a prep teacher, her sister teaches primary school, and her aunts and uncles work in the secondary sector. 


It’s no surprise that Ms Jordan was drawn to working with children, and is now studying early childhood education with a view to making a difference in the lives of young children, building on her ten years of experience in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, where she has worked in the long day care (LDC) sector. 


Her Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) degree prepares specialist teachers to teach in prior-to-school settings such as LDC and kindergarten, through to the early years of school (Prep to Year 3).  


Accelerated qualification, scholarship support


It’s normally a four-year degree, but Ms Jordan’s on-the-job experience combined with the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care she completed in 2020 means she qualified for QUT’s two-and-a-half year accelerated degree pathway.


She’s also studying with the help of a scholarship from her employer, G8 Education. 


“Having that practical knowledge and experience of working with children in a centre gives you such a great foundation to build on at university – I already knew this was the career for me before my first day of the degree,” Ms Jordan said.


“Being a special part of their lives is so important…you set up those relationships and those foundations for learning and the rest of their schooling. Once children feel safe, secure and supported, they can thrive.”


When she started her degree, Ms Jordan was a full time student, who was also working some shifts to support her while she studied. She is now working part time as a centre manager for The Learning Sanctuary centre in Brisbane’s CBD.


Learning from practical experience


She believes the most important part of education is “learning by doing”.


“I think the most important thing is doing that hands-on experience, like the teaching placements all university education students do,” she said.


“I did my first teaching placement in an ECEC setting in a C&K kindergarten and last year I had a placement at a primary school with a composite Year 2 and 3 class. I loved being able to make it fun for them and make them want to be there – if there’s fun behind it then the learning just comes naturally.”


While she is loving her degree and everything she is learning, Ms Jordan acknowledges that combining work and study has its difficult moments. 


“It’s flexible though, and you can move between full-time and part-time – you can make it work for you and fit in with your life,” she said.


“I just keep picturing throwing that cap up in the air at the end of it, that keeps me going!”


“If there are early childhood educators out there interested in becoming a teacher, I’d say go for it – progression is a good thing, it’s not a bad thing, so don’t be scared. There’s so much support available once you are here and there’s flexibility to make things work.”


Utilising time in ECEC toward qualifications


The Head of the QUT School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, Professor Susan Irvine, said many students entered the early childhood specialist degree through a pathway that included previous experience in ECEC and obtaining a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, usually through TAFE.


“There’s a well-documented national shortage of early childhood teachers at the moment, which has led to a big focus on flexible and accelerated pathways to become a teacher in Australia,” Professor Irvine explained.


“The course can be completed full time or part time, online or on campus. And we have amazing colleagues, support and resources to help students make the transition to university.”


Professor Irvine, who has led QUT’s School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education for nearly four years, said she remembered well her own first teaching jobs and what attracted her to the career.


“I decided that I wanted to be a teacher quite early, toward the end of primary school – and that decision firmed up in high school,” she said.


“I was certain I wanted to work with younger children because of the growth and learning that happens then. Young children are incredibly thoughtful and wise, and they have such a thirst for exploring and understanding more about their world.  I thought it would be a great job – and it has proven to be a great job, with lots of variety and diverse career opportunities over the years.  


“One of my first teaching positions was as a teacher in an early education class in a small town in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. It was a school with three teachers and about 70 students and a really strong sense of belonging…I had a class that spanned preschool, Year 1 and Year 2. I loved teaching then, and I still love it now.”


Learn more about QUT’s ECEC qualifications here. Information about G8 Education is available here. 

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