For the past four years, I have been working as both a casual and temporary primary school teacher in rural NSW. I came to teaching later in life, after studying whilst working part-time and being at home and raising 5 children. I'm now enrolled in a Graduate Diploma of Psychology (online) with one subject to complete. My goal is to then move onto a 4th year/honours psychology course. This will allow me to gain provisional registration as a Psychologist and apply to become a school counsellor, where my passion lies. School counsellors in NSW need to be qualified in both teaching and psychology, so it is a long process to get there. School counsellors are in high demand, especially in rural NSW, because there is no extra financial gain above what a teacher earns, so you really have to be in it for the love of it.
Rural students and family needs differ from other locations. Students face differences in their schooling and family life like a lack of access to facilities, a lack of after school care and activities, and increased family obligations (such as living and working on farms). Family life can heavily impact a student's well-being and schooling. Whilst we can't change the home lives of these children we can make their school life as happy a place to be as possible for them, by giving students strategies to cope whilst at school.
Every child has the right to an education and we know that children learn best when they are in a supportive environment where they feel valued. When students face challenges at school, school counsellors can step in to support their teacher or provide the student with strategies to help them overcome any issues that may be holding them back from learning, allowing students to gain a quality education and become productive members of society.
I have always envisaged myself moving forward from teaching to become a school counsellor, remaining in a rural location. School counsellors are fundamental to all schools to enable students to achieve their best, support teachers to improve student learning outcomes, and give students strategies when dealing with challenges.