Lessons from footy field to the classroom

Western Bulldogs AFLW player and VU teaching student Ellyse Gamble at West Footscray Primary School. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 254894_02

Benjamin Millar

When Ellyse Gamble pulls on her boots for the Western Bulldogs AFLW side, the key defender is keen to give the opposition a lesson.

The same will soon apply off the field as Gamble, 24, winds up her studies at Victoria University and pursues her career as a teacher.

Making her debut in the opening round of the 2017 season, Gamble has juggled her studies throughout most of her football career.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on her degree has been significant, but also provided helpful insight into some of the challenges of teaching.

“It has definitely been a change from the first couple of years of uni being in the classroom and being able to socialise with your classmates,” she said.

“I’ve had to adapt to the second half of my degree being mostly online, but with my football I’ve got really good at adapting.

“One of the key focuses we had over this past year or so has been innovative practices to still enhance that student engagement and participation via remote learning.”

Gamble has been studying a bachelor of education, specializing in maths and PE.

She said VU’s ‘block’ mode of studying one subject at a time via intensive blocks worked well with juggling her football and proved useful when it came to shifting online.

“With the block mode it has been quite beneficial during the challenge of remote learning at uni, having the small classes with your teacher and still being able to have that interaction, I couldn’t imagine being at other unis when you are in a massive lecture.”

Gamble now faces one of her most difficult decisions – deciding whether to pursue primary or secondary teaching.

“I am still considering it, I really enjoy both so I’m really unsure what I prefer the most,” she said.

“It’s going to come down to what school I fit in the most.”

Things are also heating up on the football side, with preseason training right back into swing and Gamble looking forward to crowds returning to games.

“We’re back into preseason now, we’ve been in a really fortunate position to be able to continue training,” she said.

“As players we love the people coming along to support us, our friends and family and people in the community.”