Juggling life with three pre-school children, Elizabeth Miller completed her Bachelor of Education part time, with university providing a welcome break from life.
Can you tell us about your time at Deakin? Is there anything you especially remember?
I studied part-time whilst juggling three pre-school children and work to complete my Bachelor of Education. The lectures and tutorials were a welcome break from life as I knew it, and I looked forward to the chance to converse with others without interruptions and to further my own learning. I remember studying Children’s Literature in a class of five students. The content was wonderful and the class, being so small, was like chatting with friends and a very wise mentor. ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Seven Little Australians’ were on the syllabus, and it was the first time I had read these gems. I think back to laughing aloud at A. A. Milne’s humour and crying at the tragic twist of events in Ethel Turner’s famous classic. Books and study provided a sojourn into another world.
What has been your journey since finishing your course? Briefly outline your career path prior to your current role.
Since completing my course, I have worked as a teacher and Wellbeing Leader in a primary school in the outer east of Melbourne. I also completed a Landscape design course at Holmesglen and ran my own garden design business. Recently I published my first novel, titled ‘No Freedom for the Heart’. Set in the suburbs of Melbourne, it explores the themes of loss and displacement through the lives of two families. It was published in 2017 by Sid Harta Publishers.
I am currently on leave with the intention of pursuing my writing career. I am also planning to travel in 2018.
What has been the biggest influence on your career?
Continuing to explore new directions in education, especially in the area of student wellbeing, has been a major influence on my career.
Have you always wanted to pursue the kind of career you have embarked on? If so, when and how did you realise?
My teaching career has been very fulfilling and I have loved learning from and with students and colleagues. It certainly lived up to all the expectations I had when I was a student. I have been lucky to have worked in a part time capacity for many years and so have had time to pursue other interests.
The recent publication of my novel has been a highlight of my career. Having always written in my spare time, it is amazing to see the finished product and to hear the feedback from readers.
What advice would you give graduates wanting to pursue a similar profession?
I would advise students pursuing a career in Education to find the special x-factor in every student, to value each student as a precious gift, and to know that to teach is to have the opportunity to enrich the lives of others.
As an author, I would advise graduates to pursue their passion, to continue to work on something that you love, even when it may seem that the goal is unattainable. Most barriers can be overcome with persistence.
What do you believe Deakin University has shown you/given you as a person?
Deakin University gave me a great start, and assisted me along the way.
What are your passions outside your work?
I am passionate about writing, gardening, reading and learning.
How would someone describe you?
I would be described as enthusiastic about life, optimistic and caring.
Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your career?
Take every opportunity that comes your way, and through all the ups and downs of teaching (and writing), don’t forget to have a good laugh.
What’s your least favourite word?
What is something that amazes you?
The wisdom of children.