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Exploring innovative opportunities for educators

Sam Crowe’s love for educating others wasn’t realised until later in life – but it’s a realisation she’s glad she had.

After taking a step back from her marketing and communications career to have children, Sam Crowe started working as a teacher aide.

Sam got her Certificate III in Education Support (CHC30221) qualification and began a role as a teacher aide at a primary school. A few years later, one of her teacher aide colleagues who’d left to begin working in education support teaching team for TAFE Queensland, got in contact and asked her if she’d like to give teaching adults in the distance delivery team a go.

But Sam had doubts.

“I thought, I don't know if I can do this! I'm not a teacher, you know? I'm a teacher's aide. But she said to me, education support at TAFE is very different to teaching in a school. It’s more about relating to industry and finding solutions for our students, sharing your expertise and knowledge by making it authentic for them.”

“And to my surprise I fell right into it! I didn’t have any problems adjusting. In fact, I loved it! I loved finding ways to support my students."

“If you’d asked me 15 years ago, I never would’ve assumed I would’ve been teaching! I would’ve thought I’d have gone back into something to do with marketing. But I think that’s the beauty of just taking life as it comes and not having any expectations. You never know when saying yes to an idea or opportunity will lead you down a path that’s perfect for you.”

In her current role as Senior Advisor, Educator Capability in TAFE Queensland’s Centre for Learning and Teaching, Sam Crowe reflects that she also never expected to be teaching teachers.

“It’s not what I thought I’d be doing but it does feel like a natural progression for me. It also feels like it’s what a TAFE Queensland career is all about. You know, our CEO Mary Campbell was a teacher, and it’s the same for countless others in the organisation. There’s a lot to be said about the career you can have here and about how much people believe in what TAFE can do for our community.”

After 10 years, Sam says her ‘why’ has stayed relatively the same.

“I love working with educators and supporting them to be the best they can be. I love that it’s not about me, it’s about them and what they can do for their students. It’s also a fun challenge to find new areas, activities and innovations to explore with them. My job is always different, there’s always a new project happening. It’s never boring!”

After working as a teacher, Sam says it’s been insightful to see the admin side of things.

“My past experience helps in how I approach my role now. As a teacher, I know some of the supports I needed. I try to fill the gaps I would have wanted to be filled.”

“I love the team culture of that part of my job. There’s a feeling of belonging at TAFE Queensland, you feel like you belong to an organisation that’s trusted by the community to continue to innovate and make progress happen.” She smiles.

“As individuals, we all have our different roles and responsibilities but at the end of the day, we are a part of a larger body that, for 140 years, has been a positive part of seeing Queensland thrive. I’m excited to continue to take that legacy forward.”