From imaginary classroom to real-life, Sarah Corkill has always been passionate about teaching.

“As a girl, I used to play the role of teacher with a pretend class of students,’’ the Griffith University Bachelor of Primary Education student said.

I want to teach so I can have a positive, lasting impact on a child’s life.”

The 22-year-old has just completed an internship at Southport State School which she says has reinforced her commitment to teaching.

“I learnt to be flexible by adapting daily plans on the go to continue with a lesson where students required more time to work on a new concept.

“The internship built my confidence and I believe this experience will make a smooth transition from an intern to graduate teacher.”

Sarah is one of 234 Griffith University students who will undertake an education internship this year.

Developing a professional identity

“Initial teacher education students develop their professional point of difference in the internship,’’ said Dr Paula Jervis-Tracey from theSchool of Education & Professional Studies.

“It enables them to make the shift from ‘prac student’ to ‘co-teacher’.”

Dr Jervis-Tracey and Professor Glenn Finger collaboratively inspire the students to achieve their best in the internships.

“Strengthening the connection between university and professional learning in schools is the key to the success of the internships,” Professor Finger added.

The University’s partnership with schools in the region is essential to the success of its teaching graduates, with approximately 90% of our 2014 graduates working in schools in Queensland and elsewhere, said Education Dean, Professor Donna Pendergast.

“We have a strong relationship with school principals, heads of departments and mentor teachers, all of whom contribute to the ongoing development of our pre-service teachers.

“Initial teacher education sets the foundation for a high-quality teaching workforce and the education internship is crucial to this.”

Making great teachers

Queensland College of Teachers Director John Ryan said an internship program was the most valuable part of any initial teacher education program.

“Internships are an excellent way to conclude an initial teacher program because they consolidate and practice knowledge and skills the students have learnt during their study.

“Great teachers are those with good interpersonal skills, who are resilient and willing to learn. They also have a strong understanding of the knowledge that underpins teaching as well as being able to put that knowledge into practice.”

Bachelor of Primary Education student Kylie Hughes has completed her internship at Woodridge Primary School.

“The Internship program was one of the best parts of my degree,’’ she said.

“I learnt how to plan and implement an engaging maths and geography unit, differentiate maths lessons for my students, how to interact with parents and how to assess student work.”

For Bachelor of Primary Education student Aaron Cumberlidge, who has secured a 2016 contract with a Brisbane school, being a teacher is a way to help young people become happy, productive members of society.

“I believe a great teacher needs to be committed to continual professional learning and to implement best-practice pedagogy.

“My degree has given me the skills and knowledge to enter the teaching profession with confidence.”

Indeed, Sarah feels fortunate to have studied education at Griffith University.

“I have implemented numerous strategies and knowledge from my degree in the classroom during practical placement.

“The best part about studying at Griffith is the practical teaching opportunities; it makes the transition from student to teacher seamless and achievable.”