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How many people can say they really make a difference through their work on a daily basis? Griffith Education alumnus Johan Venter, who specialised in special education can. He works as a special education teacher at Claremont State Special School.

Johan says he chose special education so he could have a positive impact on student’s lives.

“I wanted to make a difference to students’ lives in the long haul,” he says.

“And in the same way, I respect and acknowledge that the lecturers at Griffith University wanted to make that difference in us as students, to take us further in our careers.

“I embarked on my first position with knowledge of how I could really get to know my students, know the curriculum and how to teach it, how to communicate with parents and the community, and how to reflect on my own teaching to continue my own professional development in the future.”

Within just a few months of graduating Johan had already secured a job, and while he found the transition into teaching a little challenging, his education provided a strong foundation that assisted greatly.

Johan says he not only had to learn the school’s diagnostic assessments, data tracking and pedagogical framework, but also Education Queensland’s policies and procedures.

“Above this, I have nine fantastic students who now sit in front of me and to whom I have to teach and implement behaviour and classroom routines.

“All staff at the school were extremely accommodating and are still offering me assistance above and beyond what I expected, and slowly, all the knowledge and experience I gained through my five professional practices and the subjects offered during my degree, came rushing back.

“This was an absolutely huge revelation to me; that Griffith University had prepared me in the best possible way to be able to do my job, and do it well. Everything fell in place and I was able to start enjoying my new profession to the fullest.”

Johan says one of the highlights of being a special education teacher is being able to celebrate the achievements of his students, however big or small, with them, their parents and carers and his colleagues.

“I now live my dream of working alongside students with disabilities and thank Griffith University for their fantastic part in preparing me to become a special educator,” Johan says.

“My studies at Griffith University developed me as a future educator in ways I never thought possible.”