Becoming a teacher: How Nicole Gladman got her dream job


Four years ago Nicole Gladman left a secure, well-paying job to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. Last year she completed her studies and secured her first teaching job. We sat down with her to discuss her journey – from degree, to graduate, to successful job applicant.

Becoming a teacher is something I’ve always wanted.

I’ve always had an affinity with children. And I’ve always held education in high regard. Through education we acquire knowledge and a better-informed view of ourselves. But we also develop a deeper understanding of the world around us and an awareness of how we can play an active and positive role within it. Every child should have access to education – no matter their circumstances. Teachers play an integral role in the lives of young learners – and I’ve always wanted to be a part of this. So four years ago I left my job and went back to university to pursue my teaching dreams. I want to show children that learning is fun – and that through learning, they can achieve anything.

I’ve recently finished a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree…

And to be perfectly honest – it’s been very difficult to reach this point! The hardest part of this process was having to work and study at the same time. The financial side of being a full-time university student is stressful. I often had to work long hours just to pay my rent and bills – and on top of that I had teaching placements, for up to four weeks at a time. The university would continually remind us that our degree should always take priority, and we were strongly encouraged not to work during our placements. But this was simply not feasible for me. At times I was working full time hours and either studying 4-5 subjects, or teaching full time, at the same time.

There were times that I felt completely overwhelmed.

Sometimes I look back and wonder how I got through my degree, and how I achieved the marks I did. I almost pulled out of the course, but a good friend persuaded me not to. I can see now that it was all worth it. I’m about to embark on an exciting adventure with my teaching degree and I’m so glad I didn’t give up on my studies!

Job-hunting has been hard, but a good learning curve.

Schools can receive anywhere from 50-150 applications for a single graduate position. Plus, sometimes the employer already has someone lined up for the position, but they still have a legal obligation to advertise the role. For every job application I submitted I:

  • Researched the school

  • Personalised my cover letter

  • Provided in-depth examples to my selection criteria

I completed this process over 20 times and I must admit it became disheartening and exhausting. But I just kept applying and refused to take rejections personally.

If I could give some advice to graduates applying for jobs, it would be: spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck!

  • Your application should show that you’ve researched the school beyond the school profile provided within the job advertisement

  • Your cover letter should outline how your beliefs personally align with those of the school’s

  • When addressing the selection criteria, your wording should be exactly the same as what the school has provided

Putting everything I’ve learned into practice.

Next year I will be teaching grade 6 at an Australian international school in Bangkok. I’m nervous and excited! As much as I enjoyed my teaching placements and was fortunate to have amazing mentors, I’m really looking forward to having my own classroom. Although, the thought of being out there on my own is a bit nerve-wracking at the same time!

Things I’m nervous about:

  • Letting down my students

  • Letting down the school

  • Letting down parents

Plus I’m moving to another country for my job, so that brings a whole other set of nerves! But I believe my ability to build positive relationships with students, my genuine passion for education, and past experience working full time, will help me handle the demanding nature of my new role. I’m also a very reflective teacher - I’m always thinking back on lessons and how I can improve them. I’m very driven to do the best possible job as a teacher so my students enjoy learning and reach their educative-based goals. I’m ready for this!

From the moment I step inside my new classroom…

I want to get to know my students and develop strong, positive relationships with each one. But, I’m not going to be too hard on myself. I’ll approach each challenge as a learning experience that will better my teaching practice.

In the near future…

I’ll be looking for any opportunity to immerse myself in the culture and experiences Thailand has to offer! I want to complete further study and I hope to be enrolled in The University of Melbourne’s online masters course by the end of next year.

In ten year's time…

I’ll still be teaching in the classroom, though not necessarily in a metropolitan city in Australia. By this point I would love to have:

  • Experienced teaching in multiple countries

  • Completed a masters

  • Learnt a second language

  • Written a children’s book

But most importantly, in ten years time I hope that I’m still having a positive impact on young learners through education. I see teaching as a lifelong career.


Nicole Gladman Biography

I recently turned 33 years old, I was born and raised in the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland before I moved to Melbourne at age 13. I left school in year 11 and worked in administration-based roles with a short lived attempt at nursing before eventually finding my passion with teaching.

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