She had been a primary school teacher, leading classes of Year 3, 4 and 5, at Lockhart River State School and was slowly but steadily becoming one of the more senior members on the staff.
But what she really wanted to do was be an Early Childhood Teacher.
“I liked being a school teacher but my real passion was in early childhood, working with the younger children, and now that I’ve made the move I feel much less stressed and don’t really need the 10 weeks holidays I used to get!” Ms Norton said.
“But I did go from teaching and being quite senior to changing nappies and cleaning out rubbish bins in my first few weeks. It’s all part of the job though, and I’ve never once regretted making the move.”
The 30-year-old joined the Goodstart Trinity Beach team as a casual educator in 2010 and studied her certificate three and diploma to become an educator in the pre-kindergarten room.
She then moved to the kindergarten room as an early learning teacher and helped implement the Queensland kindergarten program in 2012.
She is now part of the leadership team at the centre and is a mentor for many other educators in the region.
“I think the main difference between a school situation and an early childhood situation is that at school, it’s very structured and very academic and there is a real focus on results coming from the parents.
“In early learning teaching there is much more of a focus on the individual child. It’s all about their skills, their interests and it is very hands on. Every year we have our set kindergarten course but it always changes dramatically because each group of children is so different and I love that.”
She said the parents were always happy and positive about their children’s experience at the centre and that the children were a joy to be around.
“They’re (the children) like little sponges at that age, learning so much and picking everything up so quickly. “
Ms Norton has recently begun studying a certificate for in training and assessment so she will be able to train and assess other educators at centres throughout the country.
“I usually have about eight hours per person that I mentor, so spend about a day a month working on that which has been a great learning experience,” she said.
Ms Norton has just received news she has been successful in her application to become an early learning consultant.
“Early learning is my passion so this means I’ll be able to help other educators build up their skills and their confidence
“Change is always a bit daunting but if you can do it and changes things up a bit in your life, it’s great.”
FIVE THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT AMANDA:
- She spent the first three years of her teaching career at Lockhart River State School
- She loves exploring the reef and rainforest surrounding her home town
- Her favourite place for coffee in Cairns is The Sipping Duck
- The children at Goodstart Trinity Beach greet her everyday by saying “Good morning Miss Amanda happy coffee day!” because they are aware of her love of coffee.
- She is terrified of cockroaches.
Today is World Teacher's Day, which celebrates the important role teachers play in educating and caring for tomorrow's leaders.