From dentistry to teaching, graduate Jerin Joseph Chethalan embarks on new career

From dentistry in India to teaching in Cobden, Jerin Joseph Chethalan admits there are some nerves as she embarks on a new career this week.

Miss Joseph will teach VCE biology and chemistry and science at Cobden Technical School this year. 

The graduate teacher said the role would enable her to help others and she is looking forward to working with the children.

New move: Jerin Joseph Chethalan has made the move from dentistry to teaching. She is looking forward to beginning her new role Cobden Technical School this week. Picture: Morgan Hancock

New move: Jerin Joseph Chethalan has made the move from dentistry to teaching. She is looking forward to beginning her new role Cobden Technical School this week. Picture: Morgan Hancock

“The reason I got into dentistry is because I wanted to be of service and do something to help people,” she said. 

“The job was really good and I really liked the people who worked with me but (dentistry) was becoming more cosmetic and business like. That was when I thought I wanted to move into something where I can give back to the community.”

Miss Joseph was born in Bangalore, India and spent her childhood in various cities as her father was transferred to different locations every three years.

She and her husband Sagan moved to Melbourne in 2013, where she worked as a dental assistant when she realised it wasn’t for her. 

“I wanted to do something more service related and to give back to the community. That’s the reason I chose Teach for Australia because it resonates with my values a lot more.”

Teach For Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to attract different people into teaching through an innovative, employment based pathway. 

Miss Joseph is one of 54 new Teach for Australia teachers starting at Victorian secondary schools this year.

Many of the positions they have taken are hard to fill in areas including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and are based in regional locations. 

She said it was when helping colleagues that she decided to change careers.  

“That’s when I realised I really enjoyed teaching. People were saying ‘you do a really good job at trying to explain things and teach’. That was the turning point and I realised this is what I want to do.”

While she only moved to the south-west this week, Miss Joseph is already enjoying the quiet lifestyle.

“It’s a smaller community and people know each other more. I’m liking the fact that it’s a small school and everyone helps each other out and knows each other.

“It has the feeling of a tight knit community and I like that. The roads are not as busy and you can get to places much quicker.”

She is looking forward to beginning her new career when the students return to school on Thursday. 

“I’m really excited to put all the strategies in place and teach. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. It’s nerve wracking but I’m very excited.” 

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