First Nations teaching trio urge Indigenous professionals to pursue careers as educators

01 August 2023
Image of Dr Vicki Pascoe, Lynelle Fallon and Recheal Daley
Dr Vicki Pascoe, Lynelle Fallon and Recheal Daley

Three CQUniversity First Nations teachers have called on other Indigenous health professionals to grow their personal and communities’ futures by pursuing careers as vocational educators or academics.

CQU TAFE teacher Recheal Daley, who has been teaching Indigenous health courses with CQU TAFE since 2020, said she loves every aspect of the role, but particularly helping Indigenous students thrive.

“What I get out of this role is seeing First Nations students having a passion for what they do. I love seeing them learn and grow with confidence. I love hearing that when they go back to their workplace, they feel they have a sense of purpose and that what they do in the clinic for their clients has meaning,” she said.

Recheal was an Aboriginal Liaison Officer before undertaking a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) in 2004. She later taught at high school in New South Wales, before being offered a traineeship as a registered nurse in 2010.

“I worked as a community nurse before an opening at my local Aboriginal Medical Centre came up. It was here that I found my true calling. If you asked me which I prefer – being a registered nurse or being an Aboriginal health practitioner – I still would prefer to be an Aboriginal Health Practitioner. That is why I love doing this job teaching and caring for people especially for my own mob,” she said.

She recalled several moments that made her realise the value of being a teacher, including one where she helped a student overcome their fear of needles.

“Looking at them and touching them was terrifying for her, but after working with me during a residential session, she had a complete understanding of the needles and their use. She was able to practice and feel comfortable. She left feeling confident and was so excited to administer her first intra-muscular injection in her workplace,” she said. 

“Hearing the students say, ‘wow there is so much more to our job now’, ‘I cannot wait to go back and work with our clients’, ‘I feel so much more confident now’, is priceless.”

Lynelle Fallon has been a Medical Imaging Lecturer with CQU in Mackay for three years, after many years as a Medical Radiation Practitioner in the public and private health sectors.

“The experience of being a lecturer is just as challenging and rewarding as working as a radiographer,” she said.

“I love to help Medical Imaging students get a good knowledge base to be confident in practicing their skills on clinical placements.

“Proud teaching moments are when the students take the time to say to me that my teaching helped with their understanding.”

Lynelle said having more Indigenous health care workers in the health sector would in turn provide better experiences for Indigenous patients.

“I would encourage Indigenous health professionals to consider becoming a lecturer to broaden their career and acquire different and new skills. Being a lecturer is a whole new world. It is rewarding to help all students on their journey to attain their degree. Our mob especially would love your presence,” she said.

Indigenous Studies Lecturer and researcher Dr Vicki Pascoe said the need for more First Nations teachers, academics and researchers was vital.

“At this time, we need to increase our First Nations staff as the university moves forward with rolling out the Reconciliation Action Plan and Indigenisation of curriculum requirements,” she said. 

“The university needs more First Nations academics as our needs grow, but the supply is not there to meet our growing needs. This shortage is becoming a crisis.

“I strongly encourage our First Nations students to consider an academic career in any area but especially in Health, Education, and the Humanities.”

Recheal agreed and said becoming a teacher would only strengthen personal growth and connection.

“Indigenous educators provide a different type of teaching and experience into the classroom, and to the students, especially Indigenous students. There’s sense of belonging, of knowing and understanding that words do not need to be used, you just feel and know the difference, without having to say it,” she said.

“Indigenous educators pave ways for the next generation, bridging gaps and provide opportunities and opening doors. Everyone learns and benefits together.”

CQU First Nations Employment Officer Danessa Willie-White said potential applicants should review CQU’s Careers site to have their profiles added to the pool of First Nations applicants.

“We encourage existing First Nations Health Workers to complete a profile and upload necessary copies of qualifications to our CQU Careers site,” she said.

“If they are interested in teaching and have a qualification but only want to teach in the VET space, they will be required to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and complete a profile. 

She said those interested in becoming lecturers should also complete a profile and indicate which fields they are interested in. 

“Any existing health workers with a degree, also have the option to undertake the GCTAE: Post-Graduate in Tertiary and Adult Education. We believe most lecturers do this once they’re employed.  This is probably something they can look into if they’re already delivered training and or lecturing.”

Danessa encouraged anyone wanting more information should email and let us know what field they are interested in so that we can put them in touch with a course co-ordinator or herself to discuss employment opportunities. 

Image of CQU First Nations Employment Officer Danessa Willie-White
CQU First Nations Employment Officer Danessa Willie-White