#teacher | The Warrnambool Institute of Advance Education helped start Paul Jennings career

news, latest-news, Paul Jennings, Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education, Deakin University, Warrnambool

Award-winning children’s author Paul Jennings has fond memories of his days lecturing at Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education. In fact, the support he received from colleagues at the institute helped him turn a new page in his then career in teacher education. Jennings has looked back at his time at the institute in the lead-up to this month’s 50th anniversary of its launch. Jennings moved from Melbourne to take up a post. “I would sit in the lecture rooms and look out to the river and I thought am I really getting paid to do this?” he said. “It was an idyllic location completed with a golf course and no graffiti. “In Burwood, the classes were much bigger and I had an interest in coming to the institute where there was 130 students with 30 tutorials and six students in each of those. I thought it was paradise.” Jennings taught at the institute for about five years. “Right from the start when I called from Melbourne I was greeted with a friendly voice on the phone,” he said. “Everyone was in the staff room from the lecturers to the groundsmen and people were offering to take me out fishing and all sorts. It was a different feel to Melbourne. “I remember one guy used to ride his horse to work there. “When we first moved to Warrnambool we were doing our house up and we had no hot water. We used to head into the institute to have a shower early in the mornings.” Throughout his teaching days, Jennings was proud of the curriculum delivered to budding teachers. “In my faculty we did a fantastic job of training teachers,” he said. “Every lecturer knew every student and each individual was given attention. “It was a practical three-year course with regular teaching rounds to the local little rural schools where in some cases one teacher had seven year levels to teach. “I don’t think anyone would say our students were not prepared. “I still get a lot of people come up to me at the pub and say my lecturing was really great. “I’m proud to have been a part of educating some great teachers.” Near the end of his time lecturing in children’s literature and special education, Jennings began to develop an interest in creating his own children’s novels. His career change was supported by his co-workers which helped him pursue the idea. “I had the choice of doing a PHD while I was there but I wanted to write children’s books,” he said. “My head of faculty Bruce Jeans said to me ‘if that’s what you want, go for it’. “He gave me some time off to attend writing workshops and this was the start of my career. “If he had said ‘no’, I might not have pursued it. That level of support is lovely.” A free alumni reunion lunch will be held on Saturday, October 26 from noon to 3pm at the Brother Fox cafeteria at the Deakin University campus. Have you signed up to The Standard’s daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that’s happening in the south-west.

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