Cassandra Kovac's road to success
Big dreams, but disheartening ATAR results
Cassie Kovac had always dreamed of being a teacher.
“When I was ten years old, I knew that I wanted to go into teaching. My teachers were really motivated. Just being able to learn off them and see how much joy they got out of teaching, it really inspired me,” Cassie explains.
“I always knew I wanted to come to Monash. My mum came here, my uncle came here.
But when she got her ATAR results, she thought that her dream was dead — they were not what she expected.
“... when I got my results in Year 12, my world just deflated, because they didn’t come out the way I wanted them too, and I didn’t know what my next step would be.”
“It was horrible. I felt completely broken.”
Monash offered a pathway to teaching
Seven years on and now a full-time primary teacher, she says it was Monash’s pathway program that helped her get there.
“I looked into the different pathway programs that Monash offered and found the Diploma of Tertiary Studies (DoTS). It was the perfect fit for me.”
Cassie changed her preferences to the DoTs program — a one-year course of study that, once completed, allowed her to transition into the second year of her teaching degree.
Cassie says she was initially nervous that people would treat her differently, like she didn’t deserve to be at Monash. But that wasn’t the case at all.
“You weren’t segregated from anyone else. I was with the same students the entire way through, and there was such a tight community of education professionals supporting me.”
“It was 100% the right place for me.”
DoTS made a world of difference
Cassie says that the DoTS program really helped her flourish and adapt to university life.
“That first year was really fantastic. The DoTs program helped me feel more supported and understand the structure of the university and just have a really great start. I knew I was on the right track."
“And when I finished, I transferred straight into my second year of a Bachelor of Education, with the same teachers and friends. I was really confident and was on the same page as everyone else."
“I think if I went into a Bachelor of Education straight away, I wouldn’t have handled university as well as I did. With all the support I received, I did 100 times better than I would have any other way.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without doing the program.”
International placement helped Cassie find a job
Cassie loved campus life and embraced all the opportunities she could, including doing a professional placement in Prato, Italy.
“It was so unique and different to anything I’d done here. Being able to go to Italy and learn about a different culture and the way they learn and being able to bring that into schools in Australia was really important to me.”
After graduating, Cassie was offered a job straight away and says that her experience teaching overseas was one of the reasons she was successful.
“Our school is so multicultural and that experience has helped me be a better teacher.”
Full-time work as a primary teacher
Cassie is now finishing her third year of teaching, a beloved Grade 3-4 teacher at Silverton Primary School in Melbourne’s south-east. Her class is lively, and the children are full of questions — exactly how she likes it.
“Teaching can be super-chaotic every day, but it’s the best job. Even if you’re having a bad day, one child can say or do something sweet, and your day is instantly better.”
Her passion appears so tangible, when you watch Cassie teach. Her face lights up in an exact mirror to the student she’s just helped understand a new concept.
It’s clear the kids love her, and she loves them. “I love teaching because I can see the kids are learning. I never wanted to have a job sitting behind a desk. Being able to get out there, being able to inspire students that are going to be part of that next generation is really important to me.”
“I love my job. It’s hard and can be frustrating. But I just love it.”
After completing a one-year Diploma of Tertiary Studies, Cassie Kovac went on to complete a Bachelor of Education (P - 10), now called the Bachelor of Education (Hons) in Primary and Secondary Education. She graduated in 2015.
If, like Cassie, you’re passionate about teaching, but don’t meet the entry requirements into the Bachelor of Education (Honours), there are some pathways options for you to consider.