Courtney Glazebrook is all about getting things done. She is working hard to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous children, lobbying government and promoting collaboration in her community. All while raising her own family. And graduating from her teaching degree at Charles Sturt University (CSU) has been a key part of her journey.
How did you come to study a teaching degree with CSU?
“Originally, I did my Certificate III and my Diploma in early childhood through TAFE. CSU offered a credit to recognise those qualifications and I secured a place on the Bachelor of Teaching (Birth to Five Years). It gave me a different pathway instead of just going straight from school and studying for four years. CSU was flexible, offering different study modes. That meant I could study my teaching degree online and still advance with my career. Having prior TAFE qualifications, CSU were also supportive in applying recognition of my prior learning, which further enabled me to fast-track my career.
“I did most of my TAFE study in Sydney and then came back home to Bathurst to raise my daughter and study online with CSU. When I moved back to Bathurst, I secured a leadership role as centre director of the childcare centre on the CSU Bathurst campus, the Mitchell Early Learning Centre. Studying online enabled me to establish a great routine and supported a healthy work/life/study balance, with my family also being a huge part to my success.
“In 2013, I was the recipient for the Rural and Remote Early Childhood Teaching Scholarship through the Department of Education. This provided extra financial security to undertake my practical experiences. There’s a considerable need for Early Childhood Teaching qualifications in rural and remote areas.”
How did your teaching degree change the game for you?
“After I graduated, I became the director of the Mitchell Early Learning Centre’s sister service, Towri Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Service.
“Towri encompasses a holistic approach to caring for and educating Aboriginal children, and supporting their families in many aspects of their life. I’m very passionate about Indigenous education and advocating for Indigenous rights. I moved into that directorship to lead a restructure, as there were big changes in the funding to the centre coming up. We’ve had to restructure the business model of the preschool and apply for different types of funding to keep it operating, all while maintaining our commitment to education, identity and culture.
“It’s a constant challenge. I’ve lobbied the government to review their childcare reforms to make sure that they are inclusive and that our service receives the funding it needs. We continue to operate. We’re still fighting.
“Recently I won the Young Business Professional of the Year award at the 2018 Bathurst Carillon Business Awards. That gave me a few opportunities to speak with local members of parliament too, to look at different options for where we might go in future with our service. That was probably the most exciting one. It sparked conversations with the community and, subsequently, we’ve received overwhelming praise and support. It was a great opportunity to respect and work in partnership with the Aboriginal community and empower the children and the service. We also received media attention this year when we went up to Arnhem Land and distributed dignity bags. These bags had been fundraised for in the Bathurst community and contain feminine sanitary items like pads, deodorant and toiletries. We distributed them to health clinics for homeless Aboriginal women in remote areas.”
What’s next for you?
“I’m writing a chapter for a national Koori Curriculum textbook. I look at creating culturally safe learning environments for Aboriginal children in early childhood services. I also explore how Indigenous perspectives can be embedded in our daily practice and pedagogy as teachers.
“At the centre we also have a research project on site at the moment through CSU, exploring STEM for Aboriginal children. We’re also looking at doing some yarning circles with all the other early childhood services in Bathurst. We’ll use them to share ideas about early childhood education and embedding Indigenous perspectives. Towri is truly such as sacred, special place. I love this community. And I’m really blessed with these opportunities that are coming up and will continue to come up.
“Plus, I’m studying again at CSU at the moment. I’m a third-year trained teacher but I’m doing my fourth year. I’ve got two more subjects to go. Then after that I’m going to do my master’s. I want to undertake educational research surrounding Aboriginal education in the early years. My focus will be on creating culturally safe and appropriate services to work on closing the gap and making sure that these children have equal and affordable access to high-quality education in the years before formal schooling.
“That’s my vision for the future. I want to help build Aboriginal children’s identity and self-determination, so they can move forward with less inhibition, and reach their full potential.”
How are you going to change the game?
When you graduate from CSU, you are brilliantly positioned to make your mark in your career. After all, we’re the number one uni in Australia for grads getting jobs.
So contact us and we’ll help you start your career now.
And tell us how you are going to change the game with a degree from CSU.