My name is Tansy, I am a library technician in a primary school in eastern Victoria, Australia. This is my first job as I have found it extremely hard to get a job because I have a disability that has limited my mobility to be predominantly one side of my body. I have struggled against society all my life to be accepted and working in a school brought back a lot of memories for me, mainly bad ones.
Before I go any further I must state that I subscribe to the social model of disability which is the viewpoint that I am more disabled by the society I live in, then the diagnosis I have been given.
It is because of this that within a short time at the primary school I realised that I was having an impact on the students. The ones with a disability, in particular, saw me as an equal and also someone that they could look up to who overcame her barriers.
Throughout this past year, I found that the more I was seen as just another staff member, the more I felt comfortable around the students, and visa-versa. There was one incident that was the catalyst for where I am today, I was walking across the schoolyard when three preps made fun of my walking and my hand (I walk with a limp and have one wrist fused). My boss and their teacher got onto it straight away, I knew that the students did not do it out of malice but out of curiosity. So, it was decided that a good way to fix things, apart from the apology I got from one of them, is that I spend time in the classroom.
It was after this that I said that I realised I liked working alongside the students in a different way then what my role as a library technician is. It was upon bringing it up with my boss that he suggested that I study to be a teacher.
Now, this may come out of the blue that I said yes and within a week had applied to a university. As my best friend will attest, I had been talking about doing a uni course for a while now and just hadn’t found the right one. She had successfully talked me out of literature. With teaching, I never thought it would be possible until my boss actually put it on the table as an option that was available to me.
So, on the 23rd of February, I begin my Bachelor of Education (Primary) at the University of Tasmania (Off-Campus). I know that there are plenty of blogs out there that are for students in the United States and United Kingdom, also a lot of them are for people who are leaving high-school and going to university for the first time. I am neither of these as being a mature-aged student and off-campus I hope to bring you a unique perspective on the university process.
My aim with this blog is to post once a week about studying, teaching, what I am learning and things around education that I find interesting.
Finally, there is another reason why I am doing this course. As Stella Young, an Australian comedian said in her TedX Talk: I want to live in a world where disability is not the exception but the norm…. I wanna live in a world where a kid in year 11 at a Melbourne high school that his new teacher is a wheelchair user. Having a disability doesn’t make you exceptional, but questioning what you think you know about it does.
I wanna live in a world where a kid in prep who is ‘different’ can look at me and think that they can do whatever they want to do when they grow up.
Thank you for taking the time to read.