Kylie Heron, mother of seven and winner of the Governor-General’s Indigenous Student Teacher Scholarship in 2010, has just received another award that will boost her study hopes.
She says the $1500 Education Queensland grant will help with living expenses during the five weeks she’ll be away from home.
“I’m looking forward to teaching in North Queensland and hope to return for my final internship at the end of the year,” she said.
Of the Governor-General’s scholarship she said she was honoured to be selected.
“It has enabled me to concentrate on my studies and has been a huge help to me and my family.”
Kylie believes the support she receives from GUMURRII, Griffith’s Indigenous Support Unit, as well as being super-organised, is the key to her success.
“I start my studies early at 6am and finish at 3pm to collect the children from school. I also do a lot of my study late at night as well,” she said.
She says her work as a teacher aide over the past 13 years has also helped her with her tertiary studies.
“I’ve been a teacher aide for so long that things are second nature to me, but now I’m learning the theory behind an exercise or activity. I have what I call these ‘aha!’ moments where I think that explains what I’m doing.”
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. A negative experience with a teacher when she was in Year 2, set the tone for the rest of Kylie’s school life.
“I was sent to the back of the classroom and that’s where I stayed for the whole year. And basically, it didn’t get any easier from there,” she said.
“Then I watched my cousin go to university to study teaching and that sowed the seed in the back of my mind. I decided to enrol at university and realise my dream of becoming a teacher.
“I want to encourage children to believe in themselves and know they can achieve.
“I’m going to be the biggest advocate of higher education for Indigenous youth. A lot of whom don’t know there is support for them but with GUMURRII you get all the support you need.
“Knowledge is so powerful and you can make a difference.”