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6 students talk pros and cons of a Bachelor of Education


Hi Footnotes,

I am looking to study a Bachelor or Education (Primary) and wanted to know what it would be like. I wanted to hear from people who’ve done the degree. Did you like it? Was it stressful? Did it require a lot of study? I just want to know if I’ll be able to cope. What did you have to do outside of contact hours?

My biggest concern is maths! I’m absolutely terrible at it, and there are units about “teaching maths to primary students”.

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For this round table discussion we called in:

  • Six current Bachelor of Education students
  • Two current primary school teachers

Student one:

I’m finishing my Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree at ACU in NSW this semester. They’ve changed the course a bit since I started, but in all honesty it’s just time consuming more than difficult. You will need to set aside time each day to work on assignments and exam notes, keep on top of essential readings (skim read key points, read more in depth if a particular week focuses on that reading). Practical subjects will take up one day a week, with blocks towards the end of semester/right after exams.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s easy. With the new curriculum, the LANTITE and other changes, the literacy and maths units may be struggle, as they’ve been changed to meet the new requirements.

Student two:

In regards to maths… you might need to take a subject about how to DO maths (which is not difficult at all – think basic general maths) and a subject about HOW to TEACH math. The latter is more like every other unit in the course you will take.

I studied my teaching degree in Sydney, and compared to my friends who were studying commerce and law, my degree was an absolute walk in the park.

I don’t remember much of the cohort “struggling” with the theory components of the degree. You’ll study educational psychology and theory, which are all about HOW to teach.

The most effort that I put in was during my practical assessments as the feedback and grades you get from your practicals are used to help you gain employment.

Prac is a challenge and is the stressful part of the degree; you really need to be organised and learn how to manage your time. In my final year, I did 3 days of practical a week, attended university the other days and worked part-time on the weekends. It was tough. Everything I learned from my degree was on placement – that is where your degree truly begins.

 Student three:

Like most have said, it isn’t easy, but isn’t that hard either, but is just time consuming. I struggle with maths and am pretty stuck on an assignment right now, but your tutors and lecturers are always more than happy to help if you ask. Maths is one of those subjects where there is only ‘one right answer’. So you’ll never be in a situation where people won’t help you. It’s not like English where you don’t want your essay to be the same – pretty much everyone’s assessment will be identical.

If teaching is what you want to do, then don’t be put off by the degree. 

Student four:

The main problem is an education degree is very easy to pass due to group work – and what this means that it is also very difficult to get a high GPA/WAM. This is only a concern if you are looking to go on and do a Masters degree. .

Almost all of my education subjects have a group assessment which is usually weighed highly, always above 20% and usually 30-50%. These days you can get into education with an ATAR of 50, so for me, I always felt let down by my group members. I wanted to go on and do a Masters so I swapped into Arts. Arts is slightly more work but I feel you can achieve better grades if you put in more work as I haven’t had any group work in arts yet. Overall, in my opinion a Bachelor of Education is pretty easy to graduate with a credit average in, but pretty hard to graduate with a HD average in.

In relation to maths, I did the subject last year and they constantly tell us that 75% of education students suffer “maths anxiety” and we don’t have to be mathematicians to be excellent teachers. The subject also isn’t really about maths (like VCE or HSC maths) it’s more about how you would deliver the mathematics curriculum to children and you will probably write an essay or do a presentation with a group to demonstrate your knowledge.

As for LANTITE which every new future teacher has to sit, I did no preparation due to having to sit it in my exam period, have a weak/average mathematics background and passed with flying colours. Some of the mathematics questions were literally easier than I’ve seen grade 6 kids do on my placement. Literacy aspect is pretty easy to, you just read passages and pick the misspelt word/grammar and correct it etc.

Teacher one:

I am primary school teacher and graduated five years ago. I get frustrated with colleagues when they say stuff like “I am not good at maths”. Going in with a preconceived idea means you will not be confident and then not passionate about teaching it, this is how the next generation of, “I am not good at maths” students come through.

I just taught a unit on the solar system. I had no idea about the solar system! But I don’t need to be Stephen Hawkins! I just need to have enough knowledge to teach 12 year olds. It’s my job to stimulate interest and understanding in different education modules – and for me it’s more about being passionate and making young people excited about learning. 

Student six:

It’s easy if you can get off your bum and ask your professors questions about the things you don’t understand !Yes, there are lectures and textbooks and the internet. But there’s nothing better than one on one mentoring from a professor. They WANT TO HELP!

Teacher two:

To be completely honest, the course is probably easier than the job at the end of it! If you can’t cope with a university degree, you’ll struggle with actual teaching and all the preparation and work you need to do to stay on top of your job.

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