ACU (Australian Catholic University)


Issue 9, Winter 2013

You and me

Walsh family

Jamie and Danielle Walsh have a few things in common. They met while studying education at ACU’s Ballarat Campus and are now married with three children. They also both teach at All Saints Parish School in Portland, Victoria, the same school that their children attend.

Danielle Walsh, teacher at All Saints Parish School and ACU education graduate.

“I have always loved interacting with children and seeing the world through their eyes. Teaching was always at the back of my mind as a possible career, and after completing some work experience at a local school I knew that I wanted to be involved in nurturing and inspiring young minds to the best of their potential – so I enrolled at ACU to study education. 

I now work as a foundation teacher as I love teaching students how to read and write. It is so fulfilling to see the progression over the year and see the excitement in their little faces when they realise they can do it!

ACU was also where I met my husband, Jamie. He was my orientation camp leader in my first year. I think we both caught each other’s eye and that was it! We dated all through uni, got engaged a couple of years later and then married in 1999. 

Jamie is also a teacher and he works at the same school as I do. I love working with my husband as he is such a great support. He is an amazing teacher and I often ask his advice. It is also nice to be able to occasionally blow off steam about teaching and for him to know where I am coming from. He understands all the pressures and joys of teaching, so that mutual understanding helps to keep things in perspective on a daily basis.

Our children also attend the school where we teach. This year is very special because we have our whole family at All Saints Parish School together. It is great to have everyone in the same place – a one stop shop!

My husband and I share a lot of similarities, but we are also different. We are mostly similar in terms of our values and goals in life. We took some long service leave last year to travel Australia with our three children before our youngest started school. It was a brilliant trip with so many amazing experiences that made us both realise that we would like to travel more.”

Jamie Walsh, teacher at All Saints Parish School and ACU education graduate.

“I first decided that I wanted to be a teacher when I was about 11-years-old. Around grade 10 I had a rethink of my career choice and applied for some apprenticeships as a chef, however I soon returned the idea of teaching and decided to become a primary school teacher because of previous teachers who had inspired me. Also, as I grew up I enjoyed being involved in helping younger people, particularly in sporting areas and coaching.

I find the most rewarding thing about teaching is seeing the way children respond when they are challenged and experience success. Knowing that you have helped a child be successful, no matter how big or small the success, is great. However, teaching isn’t without its challenges and I think the main difficulty is finding ways to motivate some children within the normal classroom environment. 

Despite Danielle’s and my many career similarities, our teaching styles are different. Danielle teaches in foundation level and I teach levels five and six. It is great working with her. I find us both being a teacher is good support because we easily understand issues the other may have faced.

However there are down sides, for example it is harder for us to switch off when we get home because it can be really easy to talk about work.

Our children attending the same school that we teach at has both challenges and advantages. One benefit is that mornings are a lot easier – we don’t have to drive all over town to drop off at day care and then to school. We are lucky that our children are also understanding of our work situation, especially on meeting nights. I suppose issues could arise, but to avoid things becoming problematic, we have put some things in place to make sure everything works out.

Last year I taught our eldest daughter, Molly, in grade five and I found it worked well – although Molly might disagree! As I had one of my own children in class I did adapt a few things so that Molly didn’t miss out or wasn’t seen to be favoured. At least I knew for sure how much homework she had!

Danielle and I also have an arrangement with the children to leave school at school and home at home. This also applies to their friends; we are not Mr and Mrs Walsh at home or anywhere outside of school for our children’s friends. We’re a close family and our situation works for us.”

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