What is your educational background?
I attended Levuka Public School, Nuku District and Adi Cakobau School. I did my tertiary studies at Lautoka Teachers’ College. Then I did some TESL studies at the University of the South Pacific, and my undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.
What is your job title, and why did you choose that particular field?
I am a Primary Teacher. My extended family is full of teachers and teaching being a noble profession for my family, it was not difficult to make the choice to go into teaching. In addition, I believe that my personality and the way I view life makes it easier for me to relate to young children. Also, the pleasure and reward I get at the end of a school year knowing that I have touched at least one of my student’s life and their family, is one I treasure. It shows to me that I have made a difference in a young life and hopefully they will carry it with them for as long as they live.
What subjects (secondary school to tertiary) are required to do the field of work that you do? At secondary school level, I did English, Maths and the three Sciences. At teacher’s college, it diversified to curriculum and child development and the theories of teaching and learning. At undergraduate and postgraduate levels, I began to specialize in early childhood education, curriculum development and research in education.
What is your view of being a woman doing this work?
Primary teaching is full of women. Although teaching can be seen as an extension of being a mother or a female carer at home, the dynamics and strategies change because I am not only directly responsible for the well-being of my three children but 16 (or more) other children and their families. Therefore, I have to be adaptable, flexible, understanding, patient 24/7 as long as the children (and their families) are in my care.
What other opportunities are available in this line of work?
There is directorship/headship in primary schools or whole school. It may also lead onto research work at universities if that is a path you may want to pursue.
What is a major highlight of your work that you would like to share?
The highlight of my work is that I get to live (and travel) in different countries and teach children from different cultural backgrounds and experiences. It allows me the opportunity to share my Fijian culture with them. But my major highlight, is when at the end of the year, I get a parent and their child saying, “Thank you for making a difference in my child’s life. We will always remember Fiji because of you!”
What are your plans for further studies? What opportunities are there for you?
I plan to pursue my doctoral in education degree so I can get into more research in education, which is my passion.
Any advice you would like to give our youngsters who may be interested to follow your footsteps?
f you choose to go into teaching, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
“Teaching is the profession that creates all others.”
So follow your dreams and Travel with God!
VINAKA VAKALEVU SARA