Her boys are young – the oldest is just eight – so Alex questioned whether the time was right to add study to her busy family and work life. But what her supportive mum told her, changed her perspective. “Your boys will see you working hard at something that you really want, and that’s the best example to set for them,” her mum said.

A creative producer and graphic designer, Alex Blackham is now becoming a teacher by studying Avondale University’s Master of Teaching degree. “I love my job and the team I work with, but I got to a point where I felt I needed to change what my future would look like.”

A proud wife and mother of three beautiful boys, Alex wanted to study at a university that aligned with her family’s values. “The one thing I say over and over again to my children is, ‘Always be kind and honest.’” Serving others is important, too.

“I want to make a positive impact on someone else’s life.”

Balancing work and home life with a study load has been challenging. She compares the university experience now with how it was going to university the first time. “It’s completely different. I’m taking time away from my family and friends to complete this course, so I’m giving it 100 per cent.

I’m staying up late each night, after the kids’ bedtime, to get the study done.” Doing something that will make her children and family proud – while impacting the lives of other children as a teacher – has been Alex’s motivation for the past two years. “I am so supported by my husband, mum, family, friends and even neighbours. It takes a village!”

Alex appreciates the support she receives from Avondale lecturers. She recalls one recent assessment that she submitted late one night, with a few hours to spare, but received an almost instant email from the lecturer. “I panicked and thought,

Something must be wrong.

It wasn’t. My lecturer was simply letting me know my assessment looked good. I’d covered all the tasks and submitted correctly. It was a huge relief to get that reassurance.”

Alex’s advice for people considering a post-graduate degree with family and work is this:

“Ease into the study; start doing part-time. Accept the support and help when it’s offered.”

After completing her studies, Alex hopes to work part-time or casually as a teacher, close to home. “By the time I finish, all my children will be in primary school, which is a scary thought. But it is also a nice thought: we will be on the same schedule.”

What’s also surprised Alex? The confirmation from family and friends that a career change into teaching was right for her. “After being accepted into the Master of Teaching, I began telling family and friends and I was shocked when everyone said to me ‘I always knew you would be the best teacher’. It made me feel like I had made the right decision.”

Become a teacher in just two years!