My name is Shani (a name African in origin, and no I am not African). I am a 25 year old casual relief teacher in a rural NSW school. This is only my 3rd year out of University, and I am finding the career path I have chosen to be a difficult one.

I always wanted to teach, I wanted to share my love of History and Literature with young students. However, without a job of my own, I found my career path to be nothing but babysitting and behaviour management. Students DO NOT afford me the same respect they do their full time teacher. I struggle to get the bare minimum from students. As I am nothing but a substitute. They see me and thinkĀ no work today. And when I actually attempt to have them complete their work they are shocked and appalled. My love for this career began to die.

I moved to the South Coast last year and had a mere 2 days of work for the entire year. Too many casuals to compete with. One experience shook me. I was used to working in a rural school full of nothing but support. But here, in this coastal school, I found no support. No help. I had students throw things at me when they discovered I wouldn’t let them play outside for the period. But what shook me most, was 1 year 8 girl. After I attempted to have her complete ONE worksheet, she threatened to follow me to my car and stab me. I have never been so shaken in my life. It effectively destroyed my will to teach.

Eventually I met my partner and he helped me to realise my passion was still there. I resolved to study to be a librarian for a high school. Something I had never considered (surprising considering I spent most of my high school like in the library).

I have rediscovered my love for teaching as I am now in a supportive environment (though a full time job would be better). I am excited to finish my course and perhaps, one day, have my own library to run.