Shannon Ingleton

My La Trobe story isn’t defined by my Arts Degree, experiences in student theatre or even a Diploma of Education. Whilst these factors played important plot lines, my La Trobe story is character driven. It’s about ‘The Birds’.

At the start of our first semester studying to be primary school teachers, six women found themselves sitting together in ‘Group P’. We were a diverse group in many respects: different ages, different backgrounds, different qualifications, and experiences. Yet, from those early days we knew we had found something pretty special in one another. Our group affectionately became known as ‘The Birds’.

The Birds celebrating Shannon’s birthday at the University

The Birds spent every day together at the University. Many hours were dedicated to coffee in the Agora, a drink at the Eagle Bar, and picnics on the lawns between classes. We had matching ‘Bird’ hoodies made which we wore with pride. Despite these distractions, we remained driven to succeed and prosper in our Diploma of Education. We studied hard, cheered at the group projects we were able to work on together, and bravely stepped out of our comfort zones and into our teaching placements. At the end of the year, our hard work paid off as six new teaching positions were celebrated.

At the time, one of the husbands made the grand claim, ‘Enjoy the Birds now cos I’m telling you, it won’t last when you finish the course’. Ha! Nine years on we still like to remind him of this statement! The Birds are closer than ever. As a group we have supported each other with our careers and adversity in our lives. With bursting hearts we have celebrated marriages, new jobs, and welcomed five new babies to the flock.

The Birds today

In our school holiday catch-ups we reminisce about our university days and the people we encountered. We compare the differences between education sectors and the challenges we face in our roles. We share our success stories, our failures and tales about those little people that get into our hearts. The Birds speak with passion, intelligence, empathy and respect. I am forever grateful that these amazing women came into my life.