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Courtney turns childhood inspiration into career

7 Dec 2020

A career change inspired by a cherished childhood game has taken USC graduate Courtney Maughan from fashion retail to the school classroom.

The former Hervey Bay fashion retail manager is teaching Years 3 and 4 at Bundaberg West State School after graduating recently from USC Fraser Coast with a Bachelor of Primary Education.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Courtney said. “I have vivid memories as a little girl of setting up my dolls and teaching them how to read books and solve mathematical equations.”

Her chance to turn that childhood inspiration into a profession came when USC opened its campus in Hervey Bay in 2016.

“Working and studying locally was the only option for me,” Courtney said.

“After finishing Year 12 at Urangan State High School in 2011, I worked two jobs as a teacher aide and in women’s fashion before becoming store manager for a national fashion retail chain – but I knew I was capable of more,” she said.

“After two years as manager, I enrolled mid-year in USC’s four-year Primary Education degree and was fortunate that my company allowed me to step down and work casually during university semesters.”

Now about to complete her second term as a graduate teacher, she said it was exciting to be in charge of a classroom, applying the skills, knowledge and insights she developed during her studies.

Some of those insights are drawn from a work-integrated learning opportunity overseas during her third year, which involved teaching English to primary school children in the historical Peruvian village of Urubamba.

“My study adventure in Peru was one of the highlights of my degree,” Courtney said. “It was challenging and emotional but very enlightening.

“I learned the importance of having patience, resilience and building relationships – qualities I will carry with me throughout my career.

“As I’ve discovered since starting this role, being a primary school teacher involves so much more than just teaching curriculum.

“I’m a teacher, counsellor, detective, cheer leader and role model all in one.”

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