From marketing exec to maths teacher

Charlotte Akopian was catapulted into her dream job through the teach.MathsNOW scholarship program. Sophie Winton reports.

Image: Numbers game: Charlotte Akopian was supported financially to become a maths teacher through a DOE program.

A move from marketing into maths teaching is not a normal career path, but for Charlotte Akopian the switch was made possible through a program that provided part-time work while she studied.

The teach.MathsNOW scholarship program helps scholars by proving financial assistance, paid part-time employment while studying and a guaranteed permanent teaching position in a NSW public school following successful completion of studies.

Ms Akopian, a Crestwood High School maths teacher and teach.MathsNOW scholar, said the program was critical in helping her make a career change.

“I was working in marketing and I really struggled to get through my days. I wasn't fulfilled. I knew that I was ready for a change and maths had always been something that I was good at and something that I had enjoyed,” said Ms Akopian.

“I was still involved with math programs outside of my work in marketing. So one day it just clicked and I realised that I should make the transition over to being a high school teacher.”

Ms Akopian said she was attracted to the program by its offer for financial assistance as well as a permanent job upon completion.

“Having the financial support and also knowing that I would have a permanent placement, it just was more reassuring to me while I was studying, particularly during my last practicum,” Ms Akopian said.

“It meant that I was able to really delve into what would make me a better teacher when I actually landed that role, rather than having to think about getting myself out there and trying to prepare myself for interviews and apply for positions.

“The best thing that the program gave me was the opportunity to be a para-professional. That absolutely was the standout for me and was mostly the reason why I applied for the scholarship.

“It did actually allow me to step away from my existing job because I had financial support there, but still get my foot in the door more than what a practicum student has while they're studying.

"You're given more responsibility and are able to take on more of a realistic workload ... I feel like that has enabled me to transition very well into my permanent placement.”

Crestwood High School principal Tania Wright said the teach.MathsNOW scholarship had been highly beneficial to the school.

“We were so fortunate to have Charlotte placed here at the beginning of 2021,” Ms Wright said.

“She has been an asset to the maths faculty and the school.

“Charlotte is a passionate and enthusiastic maths teacher who strives to deliver quality educational outcomes to all of her students. As a beginning teacher, Charlotte is well supported by DoE programs and school-based programs to induct her into policies and systems.”

Information on the teach.MathsNOW Scholarship is available on the NSW Department of Education website.

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