Taking the best to the least

From Siberia to north-eastern NSW – a graduate teacher is realising her dream of helping others.

Eve Batchelder Standing before her class on the first day of school, newly minted teacher Eve Batchelder is understandably both nervous and excited. Her school placements prepare, but this is the real thing.

The nerves soon dissipate. “The best part was getting to know the students,” Ms Batchelder recalls. “In my head I was – and am – anxious about doing this job well, but on my feet it makes a lot more sense.”

That should come as no surprise — there has been a growing realisation that teaching is her calling.

During her undergrad years at Sydney’s Macquarie University, she enjoyed working as a tutor. On graduation, she took a year off and headed to Siberia where she home schooled an English family’s daughter. They were in Novosibirsk, where temperatures can drop to minus 40 degrees. “It was probably the best year and the hardest year of my life so far,” she says.

Beyond the culture shock, it was a further realization that education was for her. Ms Batchelder has a strong motivation to help others and had been considering social work. Teaching was a way to combine both.

So she headed to the University of Melbourne and a Master of Teaching. She was awarded a Future Generations Scholarship, established by many donations to the Annual Appeal to help graduate students meet their costs. “It just took away that financial pressure so I could focus on my study and not have that extra stress or burden.”

It placed her in good stead for the challenges she’ll face.

Ms Batchelder has an ambition to work with children and families who are experiencing social disadvantage – “taking the best to the least”. Her first teaching job is at a school that is part of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, in north-eastern NSW.

"I love teaching and that’s why I chose it. But it’s also a way that I can serve others".

Image: Eve Batchelder, Graduate Teacher