“The most exciting moment of my teaching career was when eighteen of my students scored A grades in the biology subject in the 2020 Grade Twelve National Examination,” says Junin Masam Nasi, an agriculture scientist and Australia Awards alumna.

“I am proud of the achievements of my students because their success is the fruit of my work.”

For Junin, it is knowledge combined with passion and commitment that makes a great teacher. “Only when you have these qualities will you teach with the best of your ability,” she says.

Junin wanted to become a teacher so she could impart knowledge, values and information to help students grow and develop. So, after obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the PNG University of Technology, she decided to teach biology at St Ignatius Secondary School in Aitape in West Sepik Province.

Although she didn’t have teaching qualifications then, the school was in dire need of a biology teacher, so Junin willingly took on the job. After teaching for five years, she realised the need to pursue a certificate in teaching as a requirement for the job. “I saw the advertisement for the scholarship, applied for it and got it,” she says. “It was an opportunity on a golden plate for me to attain my teaching qualification.”

Junin graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the University of Goroka last year with the support of an Australia Awards scholarship.

Being a teacher is challenging for Junin because of the workload and constant pressure of deadlines, but it has also helped her to develop. “Patience is the remedy for work pressure and stress,” she says.

She adores what she does and finds the interaction with students enjoyable. She says, “Students share my feelings, including happiness, grief, and joy, throughout a typical day.”

As a science teacher, Junin’s hope for the education sector in PNG is that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education will continue to improve, and more strategies will be developed to equip students for life skills.

She encourages Papua New Guineans who want to pursue a qualification in teaching to apply for the Australia Awards PNG Scholarship. “Because of the scholarship, I obtained the Post Graduate Diploma in Education, giving me a qualification to teach. Thank you, Australia Awards PNG Scholarship.”