Education knows no borders for dedicated teacher
Inala-based tutor Carolina Cerda knows about the challenges facing people moving to Australia without knowing the language. Now she uses her own experience to help her students.
By TAFE Queensland
For TAFE Queensland Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) tutor, Carolina Cerda, education is more than a passion or profession, it is a way of life.
Originally from Chile, Carolina taught science for more than 20 years before migrating to Australia in 2003 to begin a new life with her husband and son in a new country.
New to Australia, she enrolled at TAFE Queensland in AMEP to improve her English language speaking skills with the hope to one day return to the vocation that she loved.
To help further develop her English language skills, Carolina joined the Forum Communicators Association and a local Latino American Christian community, and delivered police newsletters, creating opportunities to practise her new found English language skills in the real world.
Passionate about helping others achieve their dreams through education, Carolina became a Volunteer Tutor for TAFE Queensland’s Home Tutor Scheme. In 2009 she completed a qualification in training, assessment and education, allowing her to tutor other migrants who, like her, were attempting to forge a future for themselves and their families in Australia.
Nine years on and Carolina now works as a full time tutor in the AMEP program at TAFE Queensland’s Inala campus, and said she is proud to prove to her students that they too can achieve their dreams.
“The first year of living in Australia and not knowing English can be very difficult, and some of my students begin the program with very low self-esteem,” Carolina said.
“I love seeing the light in my student’s eyes when they understand a concept, and the excitement they get when they realise they’re learning and accomplishing something - the first step to achieving whatever it is they set their mind to,” she said.
Having once been in the same position as her students, Carolina uses a range of teaching methods to ensure that her students have a great learning experience, using including crafts, songs, and dance, to help students succeed.
“It’s important to create a safe environment for my students to make friends, have fun and learn by doing activities, preserving memories and going on excursions.”
A lifelong learner, Carolina is also currently studying a Bachelor of Education, majoring in teaching English as a second language, and is living proof that education is a passion that knows no borders.
The AMEP is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. In Queensland, the AMEP is delivered through TAFE Queensland.