International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge and we’ve invited women leaders here at the BUV to share with you their thoughts about choosing to challenge the status quo to create change.
By Joyce Choi
My name is Joyce Choi and I am a former student and now one of the newest faculty members at Whitley College. Apart from being the go-to support person for CALD students at Whitley, I am also a lecturer, teaching the English for Theology subject and the coordinator for the TransFormation program, a program which provides training for church leaders who serve in all denominations and whose first language is not English.
The journey that has led me to where I am now as a teacher and coordinator at Whitley has definitely been an interesting one, especially since my background was in Media and Communications, having graduated with a degree in one, and only a vague idea of wanting to be an influential Christian with the thought that working in media and broadcasting would be the answer.
During my time as a part-time high school tutor while studying in university, I realized that a good teacher can be one of the most influential people in a young person’s life. This then led me to getting a degree in teaching.
I grew up as a pastor’s child in an immigrant church, and I did not want the burden of ministry for my life. I tried various jobs, including teaching, but I was unsatisfied and unhappy. I had the relevant education, experience, and expertise, but it didn’t work when I wanted to use my God-given gifts in my own way. Eventually, as a last resort, I agreed to listen to my parents’ suggestion and I went ahead to do further study but this time in theology.
Studying theology was a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed all aspects of the learning experience. The most surprising thing was how my complicated life started to untangle and God’s purpose for my life started to become clearer. During the first year of my theology degree, the lecturer for English for Theology decided to retire.
When Whitley College became aware that I had experience and a degree in teaching English, I was asked to step into that role. At the same time, I was offered a part-time position at a school I really wanted to work at, which could financially provide for me while I continued my studies. For a long time, I tried so hard to find a fulfilling job, but after making a decision that I never would’ve made nor even thought about in the first place, I suddenly had two amazing jobs.
I’ve always enjoyed helping students, but my role as a lecturer for English for Theology opened up a new world for me. It is so rewarding to help students from refugee backgrounds in their theological studies, so in turn they can minister and serve their own communities. Their stories transform me, and I learn more from them every day. After teaching this unit for the last 4 years, I am excited to step into the role of Coordinator for TransFormation.
I am only starting out and still need more support and guidance, but my advice to any young woman is to listen to God. I was stubborn and wanted to live my life as I wanted, but now I realize that in doing so, I suffered needlessly. Whatever God has planned is so much better than what you have planned for yourself.