Student (Renee Fleeton) shares why she chooses to study despite being a practicing teacher and mother.
Studying can be a hard but rewarding process. Renee Fleeton, a Graduate Certificate in Leadership & Theology student with BBI-TAITE answers a few questions, shares her inspiration to study and how studying positively impacts her personal and professional life.
Renee, you have already graduated with significant degrees in tertiary studies, but would you mind telling us something of your teaching experiences?
I began teaching RE and Science in 2005 in Canberra and later moved to Melbourne and joined a new school in 2012 as a RE teacher. My third school in 2014 found me as a Domain Leader and later the Director of Faith and Mission. My fourth school in 2017 as a Religious Education teacher – Justice Leader.
What prompted you to engage in your current study?
I worked with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) who opened up a world of spirituality and formation that has guided me professionally and personally. Connecting to my faith is important and I love knowing more about this thing called Religion and Theology.
If you were trying to encourage young people, or anyone for that matter, to undertake theological studies, what would say to them?
I think if we are asking our students to be lifelong learners then we need to engage in this personally as well. We need to lead by example and be continuous learners. Our registration bodies say ongoing professional learning but I wanted more and enjoy studying and knowing more about my subject area.
There’s a discipline involved in theological study, does this assist you in any way? Does it take away from your role as a mother?
Study helps me be more disciplined, it keeps me focused and forces me to prioritise my time which means spending time cooking or playing with my daughter who is three this year with study coming in behind that. I read when she plays or sleeps and while I’m on the “puter” she is playing games on the iPad. I edit work while she is in childcare or on my lunch breaks at work.
Does your current study impact upon you as a woman of faith, and a mother?
I want her to see that we can have a professional life that is informed by personal morals, ethics and commitment to faith. Life is busy and my daughter always comes first – her needs and wants and my time with her is precious. But I also want her to see that my job is also apart of who I am and that is a Catholic Woman who practices her faith in any way I can. Me being a mother is what drives me to be the best I can be and for now, that includes study.
How does online study compare to your previous learning experiences?
Online intensives are hard work but they keep my mind ticking over in a way that speaks to the core of who I am. This course allowed flexibility about when and how I study – I miss discussions and chatting about content but it forces me to stay focused in most aspects of my life. It has helped me to be more disciplined and opened my eyes to a knowledge that informs how and why I am a teacher.