About this week’s host: Dr. Narelle Lemon

This week sees the start of the school year for most teachers and students across Australia. To keep us company as we go into that journey is Dr. Narelle Lemon who’ll be hosting the EdutweetOz account. Dr. Lemon has a wealth of experience as an arts teacher, a primary teacher, a researcher and a teacher educator.

Here are her answers to our guest questionnaire.

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’m a trained K-12 arts teacher, originally with a music background but now focused on visual arts. I have had the opportunity to work in schools with learners as young as 3 years of age through to VCE in the arts, as well a a stint as a generalist primary school teacher. For the last 8 years I have been working in teacher education in arts education and professional studies focusing on interdisciplinary skills such as reflective practice, cooperative teaching and learning, and the formation of communities of learners. I currently work in the School of Education at La Trobe University and hold the leadership position of Program Leader Teacher Education Primary which sees me working with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and pre-service teachers training to be primary school teachers. I’m also researching in arts education, social media for professional development, and building teacher capacity with cultural organisations such as museums and galleries.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I’m so lucky to have colleagues from a variety of sectors within education who keep me inspired. I’m particularly taken by creative thinkers and people who like to look at challenges with motivation, passion and a sense of “can do”. I do have to say my #PLN on Twitter is one of my most motivating professional communities.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

The biggest reward of working in education is that we have the opportunity to learn so much everyday from everyone around us. The challenge if for us to acknowledge this and to use the knowledge to continually move forward.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I’d like us to a change in how the arts (dance, drama, media, music, and visual arts) are viewed within the education sector of Australia. I would like to see a move forward in understanding just how much the arts as a whole supports all areas of learning and that it should not be one of the first areas to be cut within schools. I wonder how long it will take for us to realise there are so many skills that are transferable to the often more curriculum privileged areas of literacy, numeracy and science?

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

EduTweetOz is such a wonderful opportunity for a community to celebrate best practice, ideas, and strategies nationally, and indeed internationally. I love that it is such a positive example of how social media can break down physical boundaries to support sharing of content while nurturing relationships, participation, connections, collaborative knowledge making, and conversations  in a mutually respectful way with an education focus. I’m hoping to contribute to this practice.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

So excited about this week and can’t wait to see who connects and what ideas are generated.

Andrea Stringer

The start of a new year for EduTweetOz with @AndreaStringer

Welcome back to EduTweetOz for 2015.

After a break over the summer holidays, we’re excited to be kicking things off for the year with #SatChatOC host, @andreastringer curating the account for the week.

I’m looking forward following her journey this week and having a glimpse into her life as an educator.

Here are Andrea’s answers to our host questionnaire:


Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

  • Finished school in Year 10 (Junior) as I was offered an apprenticeship in hairdressing. After I completed my apprenticeship, I managed a salon and later owned a salon – “Hair by Andrea” (very original).
  • While I was hairdressing, I completed a course to teach at TAFE and also completed a Fitness Leadership course. While running my business, I also worked at a gym and did some waitressing. I eventually sold my business.
  • We moved to Canada on a work visa where I worked in a very large salon (commission based – the Aussie accent helped). After a year my visa expired and we began our family. We returned to Australia after four years.
  • I always thought I wasn’t smart enough for university (fixed mindset) but with my husband’s encouragement, I sat exams and was accepted at Australian Catholic University in Brisbane.
  • The following year we were transferred to Seattle so I became one of the first external students at University of New England. I completed my bachelor of general studies/teaching (major-PE, minor-World religions), graduate certificate, then masters with a focus on primary maths (UTAS). This was all as an external student.
  • Last year I completed a graduate certificate in Gifted Ed at UNSW.
  • I’m a primary school teacher with experience in Stage 1, 2 & 3. I’m credentialed in Washington, California, NSW (Australia)
  • I was often called an ‘unknown entity’ because I worked in US and had no experience in Australia. Yet my degrees were all from Australian universities.
  • Worked in Broken Bay Diocese for 2 years when I arrived back in Australia.
  • This is my third year teaching at Wenona and look forward to an exciting year ahead.
  • Areas of interest-learning spaces, collaboration, coaching & mentoring, motivation & engagement and leadership.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

  • I think it is because of my personal journey. I thought I wasn’t ‘smart enough’ but my experiences has proven otherwise. Clearly a fixed mindset can hinder one’s learning. It only takes one person to help develop a growth mindset. At first I needed recognition from the universities I attended. Now I’m intrinsically motivated and feedback is the recognition I prefer.
  • I love learning, discussing education, interacting and connecting with people who are passionate (about anything).
  • I’m reading Drive by Daniel Pink which is explaining why I am the way I am.
  • My Professional Learning Network and my colleagues in the US keep me motivated and push me out of my comfort zone. They are always ready for an #educhat.
  • I have been inspired by many leaders and it’s hard to mention them all. But what they all seem to emphasise is how trust and effective leadership go hand in hand.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Rewards –

  • It’s all about the students. Not just those in your classroom but all students. Nothing beats the personal thank you note or the look they share when they reach their goal.
  • I love working with new teachers and I’m guessing this is because I had such a wonderful experience in my first years. Having a mentor was pivotal.
  • TeachMeets & Twitter are game changers in the education industry. Teachers and students benefit from taking ownership of their learning. Huge rewards for all!

Challenges –

  • Politicians should seek the advice of teachers and education professionals. The focus should be on long-term solutions and goals, not short-term fixes.
  • Providing all students the opportunity to learn and provide them with the resources, qualified teachers and the support they need.
  • At times, there is a struggle between compliance and creativity (including your commitment and beliefs). It would be great if they were on the same team. “Team Students”

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

  • Create a panel of very diverse educators that represent various contexts and invite politicians to listen. “You can learn so much if you just listen.”
  • Have those making decisions in education spend time in numerous classrooms in different contexts-without cameras or media present. Let’s not take it back to the basics but take it back to the students and their individual needs.
  • Create more cohesion between compliance and creativity & innovation.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

  • EduTweetOz was one of my first connections on Twitter. For me it’s like the school library-a place where you can seek, search and find solutions. It’s a resource where educators are very willing to help you learn.
  • I would like to create a platform where educators receive support and can seek advice from all the EduTweetOz members. I like to connect people. I believe there are huge benefits for the students and education in general when we work collaboratively. Being the beginning of the school year, my goal is to generate a positive atmosphere on Twitter. I’m very happy for people to have different opinions as it keeps us questioning and growing but t is not what you say but how you say it.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Andrea Stringer

What does the future hold?

We are gearing up for 2015 on EduTweetOz. We are lining up hosts, spreading the word and thinking about what this account means to us and to the EduTweetOz community. Last year we put out a survey to gather some information about what people thought about the account, how they used it and interacted with it and how it could be improved. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to complete it, Donelle (@dbatty1) has been compiling the results and we’ve been using them to think about how we can improve what happens.

One of the compelling things that came out of the survey was confusion about what the account was, with a number of people thinking it was a chat. The purpose of EduTweetOz has never been to host a chat but rather to share the experience, passion and expertise of educators around Australia. To build up a picture of all the different ways in which educators work, the roles they take, the impact they have. This was partly in response to some of the negative publicity educators receive both in the media and in the wider community and came out of a desire to build a community of educators that welcomed everyone and provided an entry point to twitter for those educators just starting out. Each week a new educator hosts the account and shares their life as an educator with the community. Each educator takes a slightly different approach, some hosts might run a chat and that’s fine, it really is up to the host to decide how to spend their week.

We try to ensure that the hosts come from all across Australia, from different sectors, settings, levels of experience and teaching areas. This might mean that you may sign up to host but not be contacted for a period of time. Please don’t worry, it might just mean that we have a lot of teachers from your field or state or sector who have signed up to host and we are trying to spread them out to share diverse experiences. If you ever have any questions about where you’re up to on the list or would like to sign up or learn more about what it entails feel free to contact the admin team: @poppyshel, @corisel, @dbatty1 and @liz_loveslife or email us at edutweetoz@gmail.com.

You can sign up here if you’re interested.

In 2015 we’d love to have some more High School teachers (particularly in Music, Physical Ed/Health, Languages, Design, Technology), Early Years Educators and Tertiary Educators. I mention those specifically as we haven’t had any/many hosts from those areas.

We really do appreciate all the effort the hosts make to tweet, answer questions, pose questions and engage with the community. Thank you to everyone who has taken on the account so far, you’ve been amazing!

Looking forward to more EduTweetOz in 2015!

It’s Not About Us

This is just a quick post to extend our thanks  to those in the EduTweetOz community who have nominated us for the 2014 Edublog Awards. In fact, EduTweetOz is a finalist in 3 categories: Best Educational Use of a Social Network, Best Group Blog and Best Twitter Hashtag or  Chat. To say we were surprised by this is an understatement.

We’re honoured to be finalists but feel we can’t take any credit at all. The account is made up of the voices of educators around Australia, with a different host each week. Any accolades EduTweetOz receive really belong to the many hosts of our account, and the great community that engage with them to further the conversation.

So, congratulations to all our hosts and to our great community of active participants who make the account what it is. You inspire us constantly, and your many different perspectives help us all to broaden our understanding of what it means to be an educator in Australia. We’re thrilled that people have valued this to the extent that it has been recognised in the Edublog Awards.

If you would like to vote, or to see the list of finalists, please click on the links above or on the images on our sidebar.

 

About this week’s host: David Adams

Apologies readers, the blog is a little late this week…

David Adams has been hosting EduTweetOz since Sunday 26/10 and has started some very thoughtful conversations. Here is a little more about him.

To connect with David outside EduTweetOz, you can find him at @rebel_teacher and follow his blog, which is well worth reading.

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

As I sat in my year 10 history class I found myself getting excited by what the teacher was showing us. I looked around the class at the other students and the various responses my teacher was receiving. I wondered if they were as interested in the lesson as I was. I chose to observe my teacher for a moment and watch what she did and how she worked. I decided in that class that teaching was something I could do. It just stuck with me since then.

While I was studying education I went on a youth camp where I met with a group of people from Darwin. I really enjoyed their company and felt something calling me to go check out that side of the world. In my final year of teaching I travelled to Darwin and went and volunteered in some of the schools. My friends introduced me to a missionary who had built a school a little further north for Indigenous children. He highly recommended taking a job in a remote school. He said that your first experience of teaching will colour the way you look at education for the rest of your life. He convinced me that there was a lot of value working remote.

I called up the Northern Territory staffing officer and asked if there were any jobs going. A week later I accepted a position in a remote town about 6 hours north west of Alice Springs. I loved it. I loved it immensely and was very saddened to hear that I would have to move on after just one term. I was offered a place that they had not been able to fulfil for some time. It was 8 hours remote along the same dirt road and the community had a number of challenges.

I took on the position and over the course of the year I had worked with several individuals to promote the right for students to learn in their native language, built a language program with community members, helped instigate a meal program, built relationships between the school and the community, acted as principal in my first term, organised and run an excursion into Alice Springs where some students received their first experience of town life, and successfully built up the attendance in my classroom from 1-3 students to a regular number of 20 or more.

Sadly, my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I returned that year to spend the remainder of his life with him. It was a hard decision, but the right one. That experience has coloured my view of teaching and I am glad for it.

After living off a  friend’s generosity I finally took up a position as Youth Worker and Teacher in Religious Education at St Paul’s School in Bald Hills, Brisbane. My role is primarily focussed on the Junior School, but has a lot of connections to Middle and Senior. I get to organise and run chapel services, I get to look after tutor group, run activities, help teachers deal with troubled kids, and generally be on call for a variety of needs. I am still strongly connected with my teaching. I work hard to make my classroom and place where students can bring their questions and ideas and share them openly and honestly.

In my role as teacher this year I have developed and run a leadership course with year 10 and 11 students to develop reflective practices and explore leadership models. I helped organise a book club with other staff where we read a book over the semester and have coffee to discuss its value within our learning environment. I have organised an informal “Teachmeet” for staff to discuss their learning at conferences and over the team. I visited a local school with another teacher to examine how their democratic practices impacts student engagement. And I have been learning and supporting PBL as a learning model within my school

 

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I love working with the students. I love the challenge of dealing with student engagement, especially in a subject where many students treat the content with suspicion. I love acting as an educational facilitator in my class, trying to show students the path to deeper questioning and intrinsic motivation to learn. But most importantly I love to wrestle with the challenges of education with my friends. The colleagues I have at St Paul’s are real inspirations to me. Nicole Baker, Erin Casablanca, Alan Lihou, Charles Mackenzie-Smith, Bruce Robinson, Kev McVey, and Alana Reville are all expert teachers who I look up to as mentors. Conversing with them over education, getting ideas from them to nurture my classes, building on their wisdom, exploring the future of education keeps me motivated to go into my classroom and work harder and give more than I thought possible.

 

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

We all talk about the pace of life and the uncertainty of what the work place will look like in the future. Yet I am concerned about what community will look like in the future. With the online community broadening we are not yet fully aware of how this will impact our relationships and personal well being. The internet is a wealth of information and entertainment providing instant gratification with seemingly little consequence. This is both a reward and a challenge that interests me.

The reward is the open learning for students and their ability to act globally from their own home. This is incredibly rewarding and can break down barriers to learning, provide opportunity for innovation and creativity, embraces diversity, and can bridge the gap between rich and poor.

But it is this same connectivity that raises some challenges for us as people. We cannot yet conceive as to how our relationships will be affected. We do not yet know how this shift in connectivity will shape our identity as individuals and as community. What does it mean to be human when my life, work, friendships, and relationships are streamed online?

 

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I would remove education from being a political agenda. Politicians are term limited, and survive on the basis of receiving votes. To do this they inevitably play to where they will get the most public support. This makes education a commodity exchanging rhetoric and polling based agenda for votes . Education is left captive to popular myths and a body of voters who think the best learning is replicating their own experiences from childhood. Education cannot prepare children for the future when used as a commodity for politicians.

 

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

Helping build rhetoric around the future of education. Bringing together the diversity of ideas and perspectives that can challenges us to reimagine education in our classrooms and beyond. I hope that this week I get to experience some of ethos conversations that explore our identity as learners and educators.

Troy Moncur: Leading Teacher

This week the EduTweetOz account heads back to Victoria, with Troy Moncur taking over as host. Here are his answers to our five questions:

Troy Moncur
Troy Moncur

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I graduated at the end of 2000 from QUT in Brisbane. We were told if we wanted a job we needed to tick the “Go anywhere in Qld” box. I was serious about my footy at the time and just selected the regions around Brisbane. I didn’t get a placement, so I decided to visit all of the 46 or so schools in the district I was living in, meet the principal and hand in my resume. After a few days I received a call and got a full time job (contract position) at Cannon Hill State School. I still recall the overwhelming feeling of responsibility (and a healthy dose of anxiety) as I stood up the front and spoke to my brand new Grade 5/6 class…Feels like yesterday…

I worked for the school year and then had to pick up work with my father over the Christmas holidays as back then the contract ended on the last day of the school year. I repeated this process for the next two years until on one fine sunny day I was given permanency! Which meant no more working for dad over the holidays!

In 2004 I came to Mildura, Victoria for football opportunities and I taught for a year in Mildura. I went back to Brisbane for a few more years continuing teaching and starting a family. The hustle and bustle of city life was becoming wearing so we made the move back to the country (Mildura) and have been here ever since (with an annual review of getting back closer to saltwater :) ).

Over the years I have taught all grades of primary school, along being a Phys ed and ICT specialist.

Currently I’m a leading teacher at Nichols Point Primary School. I am one of 4 on Leadership and along with day to day school operations, my main responsibilities are ICT Innovation, PD, Reporting and Culture.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I feel very fortunate to be at a school like I am now. My boss is very flexible, happy to give anything a go and welcomes mistakes. I enjoy both working on my own and in a team environment. I am passionate about creating and sustaining a strong, solid and people first culture. To have the flexibility to innovate is rewarding and it’s something that is always in the forefront of my mind. I’m always asking myself how we can do things better and I like to challenge the status quo.
I play and coach a local Footy team and find both coaching and teaching very similar, often sharing and trying ideas between the two domains.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Working with and managing people is always going to be filled with successes and learning opportunities. I enjoy seeing progress and success in others. It’s a great feeling to know that you have had a positive effect on another person, whether that is a colleague or student.  In the last few years I came across the saying of ‘fail fast’, it’s something that sits comfortably with me now and I try and see opportunity and optimism in everything.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

More consistency with one organisation like AITSL running the show and less change and influence from those removed from the coal face. We have been working with AITSL for a few years now and have really enjoyed the focus on professional standards, professional learning and building of teacher capacity.

The other area I would focus on is reporting. I feel there is much more to gain by reporting in an ‘ongoing’ fashion as opposed to the traditional twice yearly report cards. My current school moved to providing feedback to parents and students fortnightly (sounds a lot more work for teachers but its actually less. Will look to explore this during the week) and the benefits for all parties are enormous.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I think it’s about connecting with others and finding like minded people who challenge each other’s views. I’m typically easy going and tend to make last minute decisions (which can be a good and bad thing..). I’m looking forward to hosting the account next week, making connections with others, discussing whatever comes up and maybe even finding a job somewhere in the near future (hopefully near saltwater!).  :)

 

 

Magdalene Mattson – This week’s EduTweetOz host

Sydney teacher, Magdalene Mattson is our host this week. Here are her answers to our five questions:

Magdalene

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

Teaching found me, I was volunteering in schools and when I first saw a kid learn something from me, I thought that was really cool. I have taught a range of infants to primary age students, love integrating technology and showing kids what they are really capable as well as nurturing their creativity and realising what they can create.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
Twitter – the fact that I have been able to learn from teachers all over the world and use that in my teaching is great.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The fact that learners/students have the world at their fingertips, simple answers can be easily found. There are a range of skills that teachers have and resources that they use to support a wide range of learners,
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
The way students are assessed on a national scale – students are capable of so much more than what is shown on a standard test.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I have been a huge fan of EduTweetOz and since I became a serious tweeter hosting has always been a hope.EduTweetOz already has a huge following and I can see it growing and getting more teachers on board – I love to see popular tweeters and chats connect. So I would love to see more of that.

This week I would like to connect with more educators, build my PLN, share what I am doing while promoting other chats, tweeters and helpful sites and resources.
I also just want to have some fun!


To connect with Magdalene, follow her on Twitter at @madgiemgEDU

Introducing Jen Moes

Jen Moes is a geography teacher working in a school in Central Coast, NSW.

Jen Moes
Jen Moes

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’ve wanted to be a teacher since my very first day at school. I have a poster from that day. It says “I am 5. I can walk on my knees. I like Koalas. I want a cat. I’m going to be a teacher.”

Throughout High School my natural ability and interest was in History and Social studies so it was no suprise to anyone when I studied to be a history teacher.

I have predominantly worked at two schools. I was appointed on graduation to Mosman High School on Sydney Harbour’s North Shore. I spent 10 amazing years there learning how to teach. MHS is a non-uniform School and has a uinque culture. It was an amazing team to be part of. There, I was very involved in welfare and student voice.

I commuted to MHS from the Central Coast. I was somewhat relieved when I recieved a transfer to a Central Coast School in 2011, Wadalba Community School. WCS is a large K-12 School with a very diverse socio-economic community and is only 14 yrs old. It is very different to MHS and I have reinvented myself from a welfare leader to a curriculum leader. I also moved from a History/English staff at MHS to a HSIE staff at WCS… I now teach Geography 😢

Throughout my career I have been involved in union activism and representation. I have held the position of Fed Rep at both schools and have been a TFed councillor and relief officer.

I have also been involved with the BOS HSC exam process. I have been part of exam committees, Senior Judge Marker and Senior Marker.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s like I was born to teach. Small picture stuff like making a difference to my students lives, watching students engage in my passions (HSIE), helping my colleagues achieve their goals, making my school a fair and enjoyable place to work, is why I go day to day. It’s the big picture stuff like universal public education, community building, future Australia, future world that morivates me to keep fighting for what I believe is fair and appropriate through the powerful tool of education.

The few times I have been away from the classroom, I have missed it desperatly. The sound, the smell, the sights etc…. Yep, I was born to teach.

I have recently had a huge addition to my understanding of education as my kids are now at school (Kindy and Yr 2.) I have always been an ‘out’ teacher. My wife and I were married in my first year of teaching. She and now our kids have always been valued members of my school communities. My sexuality has played no significant part in my teaching. That is changing as I become more motivated for my kids to see their very ‘normal’ experience of family reflected in their classrooms. This has seen me focus on developing the celebration of universal diversity explicitly in classrooms.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

The rewards will always be intrinsic. Knowing you made a difference and getting the chance to mould minds. As a sociologist, I’m very interested in our current historical position. Like all of the great human eras before now, we are at the very beginnings of major changes to how humans live and behave. The digital era is beggining to change the practices of the industrial era and we as teachers are at the forefront of developing a new tomorrow now.

I think the challenges will always be the same too. Trying to meet the ever changing demands of diverse communities while also doing what we know and feel is right as profesionals. There are the added challenges of being the bridging generations between the industrial and digital eras.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

You know what? I wouldn’t change anything. I believe that utopian communities do not exist and it is foolish to try to produce one. Of course I would like somethings to be different: much greater funding of education, the end of public funding of private institutions, the equality of outcomes for all students despite race/ability/gender etc and a move away from standardised testing; however, I truly believe that what we do in Australia is unique, envied and wonderful and in the main part producing holistic, confident young adults and a future that they’ll be creating and I’ll be living in.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I see EduTweetOz as a great way to assist teachers in the ‘getting connected’ process. It also gives individuals a platform to test ideas, strategies etc on a fairly safe and collaborative group who can give both the ‘gush’ and also the criticism needed before testing them out at our own schools etc. I think EduTweetOz is unique amongst Ed chats/accounts because it does not have a base interest or POV. Some weeks I’m interested and engaged, some weeks I’m not. A bit like choose your own adventure really.

Not sure where this week will take us. My major interest at the moment is the universal and meaningful celebration of diversity in the classroom. I’m particularly interested in the elements of the evolving LGBTI communities and also the changing perception towards the differently abled. I’m also interested in how we challenge our own ideas of diversity.

Look forward to chatting with you this week.


To connect with Jen, follow her on Twitter, @coastiemoes and checkout her blog, Rainbow Frontier

This week on @Edutweetoz we celebrate World Teachers’ Day 2014

This week the admin team (@corisel, @dbatty1 and @poppyshel) will be running the @Edutweetoz account. This is happening for a number of reasons; it’s hard to find people to host during the school holidays, it’s good for us to get a feel for what the account’s like these days (it’s a lot bigger than it was when we started) and because it’s the week leading up to World Teachers’ Day and we felt like this was a good opportunity to revisit the vision of @Edutweetoz and think about what it might become. To make sure you know who’s tweeting, we don’t want to be anonymous, we’ll sign off with our initials, @corisel=CC, @dbatty1=DB, @poppyshel=MH.

We love the theme of World Teachers’ Day ‘Invest in the future, invest in teachers’ as it resonates well with the reasons we had for starting @Edutweetoz in April 2013. Our vision for @EduTweetOz was to build a platform through which Australian educators could share what education meant for them, to share their practice, to build a sense of the variety of education practices around Australia and to provide a vehicle through which the broader Australian community might get a sense of what it means to be an educator in Australia today. We saw @Edutweetoz as a way of connecting the community to the reality of education, beyond the particular talking points selected by the media and politicians to support their agenda with regards to specific issues. You can find out more about the background of @Edutweetoz here.

It has been a wonderful journey so far, seeing how many people have engaged with the account, have volunteered to host, have shared honestly their experiences, successes and challenges and the positive and supportive community that has developed. Often teachers new to twitter are referred to @Edutweetoz as a way of building their PLN and making connections with other educators, because it’s not ‘owned’ by any one educator it can be a good jumping off point for starting conversations and joining in with discussions. The community continues to grow and continues to be a really positive space for Australian educators, a reflection of the supportive network of educators out there striving to do the best for both their students and for the system as a whole.

We are wondering if this account might provide a forum or resource for supporting educators in other ways and would love your feedback on what this might look like. Is there something we could do beyond the twitter handle? How else might we build community, learn from each other and extend these connections? To that end, we’ve developed a survey to get a sense of what you, the @Edutweetoz community, see as the purpose of this account. We don’t want to do anything that the community doesn’t see as being of value. You can access the survey here, it will be open for the next 2 weeks. We really appreciate you taking the time to complete it, it should take less than 5 minutes.

This week we’re hoping to explore a few of themes with everyone, linked to the World Teachers’ Day prompt. The hashtags we’ll be using will be #whyIteach, #whatteachersdo and #teacherwellbeing. We’d love to use the week to get a sense of what the reality is for teachers today, why do we do what we do, what does that look like and how do we take care of ourselves? It’s our belief that the community, and our politicians, may not have the most accurate sense of what it means to be a teacher in Australia at the moment and we want to share our passion and commitment to the profession with them.

We can’t wait to dive into the community discussions and are really looking forward to connecting with all the new followers (there’s about 3000 new followers since I last hosted the account, eek!). Thank you for all your support and pop by and say hi!

(As an aside, you can sign up here to host the account yourself – we want to hear from all of you!)

Michelle

Jacques Du Toit – QLD Educator on EduTweetOz

The EduTweetOz account is heading to Queensland this week, with Jacques du Toit taking over the reigns.

Jacques

Jacques is known on Twitter as @jdtriver and  blogs at http://mrdhistoryteacher.blogspot.com.au/ a

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I have only been in education for about 4 years now. I originally studied Logistics in South Africa, and worked in that industry for a number of years before moving to Australia at the start of 2009 with my wife. Soon after arriving I started my Graduate Diploma while living in Brisbane and finished studies at the end of 2010. I managed to secure my 1st teaching job at Riverside Christian College in Maryborough, Queensland and we moved 3 hours north of Brisbane with a 2 week old little girl a few days before the start of the school year in 2011.

Since arriving at Riverside I have been allowed to grow exponentially in my teaching roles. I have taught Year 9/10 Business, Year 10 History, Year 11/12 Modern History, Ancient History and Business Management over the past 4 years. Since the end of 2012 I have been the Head of Humanities, overseeing the implementation of the ACARA History and Geography curriculum for Year 6-10, plus changes in the senior subjects under QCAA. I’m a Year 11 Form class teacher, part of the QCS teaching team for Year 12s and on the Wide Bay District review panel for Modern History. My passion is for my history subjects, especially senior Modern History

This year I have become involved with sharing my learning and teaching at conferences, and at my school. At EduTECH in June I presented during the TeachMeet sessions, and this inspired me to organise my first ever TeachMeet for the Fraser Coast region a few weeks back. I presented an hour long workshop on Evernote in Classrooms at the CSA Queensland Conference in July. Next up is the google Teachers Academy in Sydney at the end of September, where I hope to continue learning and developing.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

My family, my students, some of my colleagues and my Twitter PLN all play a role in inspiring me. My wife is my biggest advocate and is always there to lend support, and push me. My daughter, because I want education to change and not be stuck in the 20th century for her. My students, their dedication, humour, stories, dreams and interactions. My colleagues that work so hard, trying to improve themselves, and creating opportunities for their students. My Twitter PLN, the ideas, sharing, collaborations, discussions, support and diverse opinions. They all inspire and motivate me to be a better teacher.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

The biggest rewards is seeing how students develop over time, growing, maturity and independence in their learning. The results are a part of it in year 12, but what they do after school to realise their potential is of even greater reward.

The challenges are definitely linked to political/economical/social environment that teaching takes place in. Different governments, controlling bodies and people that have no clue about education making key decisions have a negative effect on education. Also Teachers that are not embracing 21st century teaching techniques and technology to support students is also a big challenge in certain schools.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Install key education experts in 21st century teaching practices in a role to oversee and implement changes to circumvent all the problems created by current bureaucracy, and to be able to strategically direct the system. All states should be able to be on the same field academically, but with freedom of subjects, assessments and how to demonstrate student learning. More recognition for the fantastic work teachers do in the lives of students and communities.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

EduTweetOz allows a diverse group of teachers from all over to take the reigns of the Twitter Handle and share their individual style and insights. It is a unique way to learn from each other, and for that weeks’ host to learn from different teaching areas with the people the account interacts with. I hope I can offer my own insights, have some great discussions, learn from others and develop my own practice to benefit my students.