Brent’s lecturers pray before class

In Canada, in the freezing cold, there was a long, long line of people waiting to pay their respects at a funeral. It was for Brent O’Brien’s father, and the image of that long, long line stays with Brent over 20 years later. He reflects on his father’s occupation as a teacher and school principal, saying, “It made me think that he really changed lives for the better.”

Although he had considered it for himself, Brent never committed to teaching as a career. Instead, he was a successful businessman, working for almost two decades throughout Asia, Canada and Australia for a “large, multinational financial information company”. But it was all about money. “Of course, money’s important, but it’s not the most important thing in the world.” Eventually, Brent felt like he really wanted to give back, after feeling like he’d been “kind of selfish.”

After moving to Australia, one chance conversation and a second, cute one convinced Brent that maybe he could give back through teaching. The chance conversation was during a catch up with a principal friend who recommended Brent just give it a try. The second, cute prompt came from his young daughter. After telling her dad all about her favourite male teacher, she simply said, “…we need more boy teachers!” And he knew that was it.

If he was going to pursue teaching, Brent wanted to “help kids learn in a nice, happy, supportive way.” Knowing Avondale University was fully accredited, and hearing a recent graduate speak highly of her experience, Brent began a Master of Teaching at Avondale. “It may not be one of the first universities you think of… but I’d say it’s got some very talented, knowledgeable people teaching there… and it’s a hands-on university where you can approach your lecturers and they care about how you’re doing.”

But like many people who start studying again, Brent is honest about the challenges it brings. He has to balance family, work, study and other commitments. “That’s where Avondale’s good for the spiritual side… the lecturers will often have a prayer before each lecture and sometimes you’ll think, ‘this is well-timed.’”

Apart from the spiritual nurturing and personal help from lecturers, Brent describes how Avondale makes him feel.

“I really like how everyone seems like a good person.”

While completing his Master of Teaching, Brent works as a learning support officer, where he’s already benefitting from his studies. “I did a course in special needs, and straight away I started using some of the things I learned, in the classroom environment.”

So, from being a manager in a multinational company, to learning to become a teacher, Brent is now truly giving back. Studying a Master of Teaching at a supportive, Christian university can help you change to meaningful career, too. Like Brent learnt through his father’s example and his own experience, teaching is a career where “you know you’re having an impact on their lives in a positive way.”

If you’re considering a career change, study a Master of Teaching at a Christian university. Avondale University is ranked in Australia’s top 10 universities and our teaching degree is rated #1 for graduate satisfaction*. Our Master of Teaching is fully online, with government-subsidised places available. Download your course guide to find out more.

*According to the Graduate Outcome Survey (GOS) 2021. See