Interview with Rhonda Wilson, Trainer and Assessor at Open Colleges
There are many different ways to work in child care, not all of them actually in a child care facility. Rhonda Wilson is a trainer and assessor for Open Colleges, assisting online students to gain their qualifications.
Rhonda commenced her career in Early Childhood in 1983 first as a preschool (and also kindergarten) teacher and now a prep teacher with Education Queensland. She has worked as a lecturer for TAFE in Diploma and Certificate levels and for Open Colleges since 1997. She has also worked as a workplace assessor and also a trainer to students from local high schools.
She has also worked for TAFE’s open learning institute as a mentor. Rhonda teaches children in a regular group that includes English as a Second Language (ESL) students, indigenous students and students with disabilities. Rhonda is now also a mentor for beginning teachers. She has many opinions on family friendly workplaces and ideas on ways that women might be able to remain in the workforce, or return more easily after having children.
In a couple of sentences please tell us about how you got into the industry and how your career has evolved?
I trained at Brisbane Kindergarten College starting straight from school. We had to elect as to whether we would enter primary teaching (early childhood or actually work in the early childhood as either a preschool teacher (Education Queensland) or as a Kindergarten teacher. I chose the first option and was posted to a small town where I had kindergarten and preschool children.
I taught in a variety of centres and then moved to Townsville where I began to lecture at TAFE. At that time we were given the core goals and we had to plan what we would teach ourselves. I wrote several programmes and also an induction book for Early Childhood teachers. I completed my masters just prior to moving to Townsville, specialising in Early Childhood programming.
I studied my graduate Diploma in Special education but did not complete it (due to family reasons). I then moved back to Brisbane and taught at Caboolture TAFE.
What are your predictions for the industry over the next 5 years?
I believe that the future is strong for early childhood trainers. As parents are returning to work we are going to see the need for more outside of the home care. I believe that carers (now called educators) are going to need to be trained at higher levels than we are seeing now.
What has been your greatest career achievement to date?
My greatest achievement was my master’s degree but another achievement I am proud of is when I assisted a student in gaining her qualifications. She had a difficult placement and received high criticism from the centre. This student is now running a very successful business across all areas of care and education. A great result.
What makes an outstanding childcare or early childhood professional?
An outstanding educator is one who understands child development, who cares, who listens, who doesn’t pretend to know everything and loves and respects the children in their care. It’s also important to respect the families.