Rhodora Dizon is the first to admit she lacked motivation for school when she was younger. So, she understands that some of her students at UOW College may feel a bit overwhelmed when they first attend her Diploma of Business Management classes.
“It’s a running joke in my family that I am now a lecturer when I did everything I could to get out of doing work and homework when I was at school,” she said.
But it was that experience, and those that she had when she herself entered tertiary education, that helped influenced the way she now teaches her students at UOW College.
After earning her Diploma in Business, she began work as an Employment Consultant for Salvation Employment Plus, but soon decided to undertake a Bachelor of Business at the University of Wollongong.
“I quickly learned the difference between studying at a vocational institution and at university”, she said. “I struggled a little, even failing my very first assessment quiz.”
Rhodora decided she had to find out what she could do to improve her academic performance and decided to ask for feedback from her tutors and lecturers.
“I asked my tutors and lecturers for feedback on the progress of my work after it had been marked,” she said.
Rhodora soon found she had a passion for teaching and after a time tutoring at the Faculty of Business at Wollongong University from 2009, she joined UOW College in 2013 as a lecturer and coordinator on the Diploma of Business, teaching the Introduction to Management subject.
When Rhodora started teaching herself, she remembered how important feedback was in her own learning journey and knew it was a strategy she wanted to incorporate into her own practice.
“I think that often, feedback seems to have negative connotations, and can be seen as criticism,” she said. “But I try to encourage my students at UOW College to willingly seek and receive feedback because it is an important lesson to learn. I remind them that sometimes, people may not necessarily want to give feedback because they don’t want to discourage students, so I try to make feedback positive and encouraging. Learning to take feedback is also part of growing up.”
Rhodora has a passion for developing her students’ ability to navigate real-world problems through making her lessons relevant to their own experiences.
“I tell my students that this is the longest role I have had, because I love my job”, she said. “I teach them not only the content of the subject, but also share with them my wealth of experience as a practitioner in the field of management.”
“I have been told by many of my students that they appreciate my teaching style and what I bring to the classroom; they get more than just what's in their textbook.”
“I enjoy teaching because I learn from my students as much as they learn from me. I encourage them to challenge the topics and ideas (as well as me) so they can develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. And I am careful to create a safe learning environment where the students' contributions to the discussion - big or small - are recognised and respected.”
Subject Coordinator and Lecturer
UOW College Australia