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.

Eleni Kyritsis: Primary School Teacher and Host of Teach Tech Play

 

This week we move to Melbourne, with primary school teacher, Eleni Kyritsis taking over the account.

EleniKyritsisPlease 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 began my teaching career in 2012 at a Catholic Primary School in Melbourne. I taught Year 4 for two years and am currently teaching Year 6 and Level Leader. I am the co-host of Teach Tech Play, a monthly web-show showcasing the tools and strategies educators from around the world are using in their classrooms. I have been selected to attend the Google Teacher Academy in 2 weeks time which I am really looking forward to.

I have assisted with the implementation of my school’s Google Apps For Education and Year 5 & 6 1:1 Chromebook program. I find the integration of new and emerging technologies in my classes greatly assists my students to achieve their learning intentions. I love using a class blog and Twitter to showcase and share students learning to the wider community. This enables students to communicate with other students from around the world to develop authentic meaning to their learning. I am always looking for new and exciting ways to integrate technology into the classroom to help foster and support students as lifelong learners.

This year I have begun to share my learning at conferences. I have presented at Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria (DLTV) and have sessions at the upcoming Melbourne GAFE Summit. I am involved in the Melbourne Google Educator Group (GEG) having hosted and ran sessions for this amazing group of passionate educators.

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

The biggest inspiration for me are the students. I want to encourage, challenge and have a positive influence on each and every student I teach. Seeing my students achieve and be successful, learn and grow motivates me every single day.

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

The biggest reward is seeing my students enthusiastic and enjoying their learning. As educators we are always trying to teach the perfect lesson, but is there such a thing? We could always have done something differently and can always improve. Reflection on our own practice is crucial to our own continuous improvement resulting in students wanting to learn.

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

I would embrace student voice. I believe that the students themselves provide the most valuable feedback to a teacher. They are honest, real, and their perspective needs to be listened too.

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

EduTweetOz provides educators from around Australia the opportunity learn from others. I believe that as educators today we should not limit ourselves to only extending our learning through school lead Professional Development but exploring what else is out there, such as social media. This week I hope to continue to share and learn from others about best practice and finding new and innovative ways to engage, support and challenge my students learning.

www.elenikyritsis.com

@misskyritsis

+elenikyritsis

lenikyritsis@gmail.com

Tareena Eastwood – Primary Teacher in South West Sydney

This week EduTweetOz moves from a high school in country Western Australia to a primary school in South Western Sydney.

Tareena Eastwood
Tareena Eastwood

Our host, Tareena Eastwood, provided these answers to our five questions:

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 been teaching since 1999. I worked as a casual teacher in one school for 1 year and 3 terms and in October 2000 I was appointed to Mount Pritchard East Public School (MPE) in South Western Sydney. I have been teaching there for the past 14 years. I entered uni straight after high school to pursue a career that I have wanted since I was in primary school myself. I have taught grades 1 – 6 and am currently one of the two Stage Three teachers at my small school.

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

I work with a really inspiring group of teachers and leaders at my school. The whole executive team are passionate about student learning and the introduction of 21st century skills. I am comfortably able to try new things, all grounded in research, and I am supported in this, even if something ‘fails’. I also have a stage partner who I work extremely well with and we have gone towards cross stage learning for many things. My students are enthusiastic and engaged in their learning and I love that feeling you get when one of them has a lightbulb moment.

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

The biggest reward is seeing students achieve. When a student has a lightbulb moment, whether they are a lower ability student or higher ability, seeing them achieve is what makes working in education great. Being able to engage students in what they are learning, and them wanting to stay in at lunch to finish something they are interested in or having a previously disengaged student write ‘this is the best year ever’ on the class blog are small but powerful rewards. Working with innovative people and being at the forefront of 21st century learning is fantastic.

Some of the challenges I see in working in education is the crowded curriculum. In a primary classroom, there is so much to teach, with more being added all the time. The extra curricular demands on teachers makes it difficult to find that work/life/family.

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

The biggest change I would make is equity – not making all things equal by providing the exact same things to all schools, but providing the best resources, teachers, learning environments as needed to give all students an equal chance to succeed.

I would like to revamp the reporting system so that it is more beneficial to parents and less time consuming for teachers and schools. Perhaps more conference (with parents / teachers and/or students) style reporting or portfolio (hard copy or digital).

Homework! As a teacher and a parent this is not something that I see many benefits in. Keep reading practice but allow parents to interact with their children without the stress of homework or provide grid style choice homework or personal challenges such as to help a family member every day.

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

I love how EduTweetOz reaches educators all over the country. It gives great insight into the challenges and rewards of working in education in all different types of settings. The generation of ideas, conversations and knowledge is amazing and there is no other Professional Learning quite like this.

I hope to generate discussions around student engagement, 21st Century Learning, learning spaces, innovation, work/family balance, formative assessment and building leadership capacity. These are all things that I am focusing on in my work and life at the moment and I would like to give insights into what I do and facilitate the opinions and ideas of others. I hope expand my personal learning network in order to continue learning after this week.

I am very excited to be hosting EduTweetOz.

 

 

Alycia Bermingham – This Week’s Host on @EduTweetOz

Alycia

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?

This year is my fifth year teaching. I knew I wanted to teach after I first experienced an amazing teacher in year 4. I was advised in high school to follow my passion and everything would be ok, so I enrolled in a history degree with the plan to follow it through to a teaching degree. I then “lost my way” at uni and decided to add on a law degree. After completing both, and doing some work in finance management, I returned to uni and completed my education degree. I am a humanities major, obviously, but I also trained to teach home economics. Having taught in a practical subject complements my teaching in a core subject, but certainly does give me appreciation for the peace and quiet I can more easily garner!!

I worked for three years in two district high schools – both coastal, but one EXTREMELY remote. They were vastly different contexts, but at both I had amazing opportunities to really discover how to teach, how to manage a classroom, and how to form great relationships with students. I have taught both primary and secondary classes, in Society and Environment, Home Economics, ICT and Business, including a range of VET qualifications. I have also been ICT Coordinator. I moved back to the city to work at a school in its foundation year, which was a unique opportunity that challenged my beliefs and values about education and my role within the system. During this time I applied for my first formal leadership position, and was selected to a Head of Learning Area role at a neighbouring school. The call of the country remained though, so I decided at the end of the year to seek a country post again. I now work at a reasonably sized, senior high school in a large country town in WA’s south west. I teach Year 12 and 11 Modern History, Year 10 and Year 8. I have also taken on the Year 7 Coordinator role for 2015, which I’ve started in already, as we prepare for Year 7s to arrive in high school for the first time very soon. I have taken on a diverse range of extra curricular roles at all schools, serving students, colleagues and the wider school community.

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

First and foremost, my students. The day I can’t reach them, can’t engage them, can’t motivate and move them forward, from wherever their start point is, will be a sad day. I am constantly overawed by the ability we have as teachers to take a student from one point to another, and to realise that it’s our decisions, actions and how we supported them that is responsible for their growth.

I’m also highly motivated by the many wonderful educators I have worked and/or engaged with. We are all so different as teachers, and I love how willing most are to share and learn from each other.

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

Expectations are my biggest challenge, and I think it’s the same for all of us. Meeting those of ourselves, students, parents, middle and senior management, department, new research and understandings – it’s a complex world we work in! No wonder work/life balance is such a challenge as well!

The rewards though are simple. We make a difference. We are so lucky – even if that difference isn’t as obvious or in the way we’d like to see it

 

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

Assessment practice would undergo massive transformation. I’d also like to see changes to the distribution of leadership responsibility – specifically within high schools. I’d like more people to have more responsibility, to enhance their accountability, and limit the idea of “new management = great change” because we all would have more ownership of processes and goals.

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

It’s so important for engagement, connections and reflection. I’ve become so much more innovative in recent times because of the inspiration that flows from the people I’ve been interacting with and how it encourages me to think about topics I wouldn’t necessarily do so on my own.

I hope that we will have a vibrant and engaging week, with lots of sharing about the basic structure of what we do – TEACH.

Leading us into Science Week we have @mrascience hosting @EduTweetOz this week!

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 was the kind of kid that quickly became obsessed with something – I loved dinosaurs so much that I forced my mum to get me a subscription to a dinosaur magazine when I was 7; I learnt all the bones in the human hands and feet, including tongue-twistable names of the bones of the hip and spine by the age of 9; I learnt the word ophthalmologist (and subsequently also learnt to spell it) and became obsessed with how the eye worked when I was 10. In essence, all my obsessions were grounded in science – I loved every aspect. It only made sense that I continue studying it when I chose to go to university.

Teaching was always what I really wanted to do, so when I could, I dove straight into it, going on to complete my Masters in Teaching (Secondary). My main decision to get into teaching was two-fold: firstly, to actually set out and do what I had always really wanted; and secondly, to bring in something different and new to teaching. As a candidate in the teachNSW graduate scholarship program, I was given a position at Belmore Boys High School (literally the best school in the world!) in 2011 and have been a teacher there since.

I assumed the role of Debating Coordinator at my school in 2012 (and made regional finals in 2013 and 2014!), as well as being an integral part of the ICT committee. Since 2013, I have been the Prefect and SRC Coordinator – a role which I’ve loved. In 2014, I was fortunate to become the Relieving Head Teacher Science at my school, an exciting, albeit challenging role. In comparison to my role as a classroom teacher the previous year, this role has given me insight into the management and coordination of a faculty, as well as bringing me to the wonderful world of paperwork and administration.

With the National Curriculum for Year 7 and 9 already having made its way through the front door, and its close cousin Year 8 and 10 waiting impatiently at the doorstep, my role also involves leading my staff to create new and engaging programs which incorporate the values of 21st Century learning in Science – creativity, inquiry, literacy, ICT and of course, experiments!

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

It is a cliche. But I’m going to say it. It’s all about the students. My students are my biggest motivation. It’s never the same every day and they definitely keep me on my toes. I’m motivated because they keep me motivated.

My school executive have been an amazing force propelling change in my school. They inspire me to continue what I’m doing and give me the permission to experiment in class and be the best teacher I can be. A strong school needs a strong executive and I’m privileged to be led by them at my school.

Oh. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

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

You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get in your abdomen? Yeah. That. That’s my reward.
In my first practicum, a teacher told me that teachers are simply drug addicts. When you teach and you get that reward – a student engaging, students sharing work, when you know you’ve done something – that’s your first hit. And you simply go back for more, you have to get it again. Teaching becomes doing everything you can to continue to feel that good. My lessons, the way I teach, is an outcome of the rewards that I get everyday.

Public Education faces huge challenges – as the largest employer in the southern hemisphere and open to students of all backgrounds, cultures and faiths, it is imperative that it is well funded, populated with teachers who are great operators and valued by teachers, students and parents.

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

I’m a fan of Dr Ken Robinson’s values of education – freedom to learn, learning without boundaries, and instigating creativity in students. Creativity is important, and is something students should be allowed to use everyday, and as teachers we should be fuelling this in students.

Literacy. Oh my God. Literacy. Three years ago, my school established a literacy program with academics at the Australian Catholic University called ELK (Embedding Literacy in KLAs) and it has triggered amazing change within the school. ELK embeds the metalanguage of literacy in subjects so that there is a common language used across KLAs. There is a focus on texts, coupled with a school developed reading pedagogy that has resulted in increases in value-added NAPLAN scores. I’ve been a part of this literacy program which has instilled in me the importance of literacy and the value it has for unpacking student’s content area understanding and writing. Literacy is an integral part of our curriculum, which I would love to see embedded clearly in all KLAs across Australia.

As a high school teacher, I’d love for closer connections between primary schools and high schools to really tie in that learning between the stages. Having a close working relationship and collaboration with universities is important and value adds to the learning which is done in school. My school has partnerships with 3 universities, each with amazing programs that our students have enjoyed.

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

As a Science teacher, I love science, so I’d love to talk about what primary and high school teachers are doing in their classes to get students experimenting and inquiring. With the build up to National Science Week, I want to engage schools in starting Science activities and talking about what some schools have organised. So lots of Science chat!

I’m interested in student voice, feedback and literacy, and would love to spark discussions.

Oh, and photos. There will be photos. Get those filters on hand, those shots focused and those selfies ready.

@MaxDrummy, answers our questions on EduTweetOz

Max Drummy is a Leader of Professional Learning for the Professional Learning Institute, Tasmania and he is hosting the EduTweetOz account this week. A day in, he’s already challenging us with thoughtful and insightful questions. Max tweets as @maxdrummy.

Here are his answers to our five questions:

max

 

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?

After a number of “gap years” between finishing a teaching degree and actually beginning to teach, I have taught and led schools in Victoria, Southern China and, for the last 10 years, in Tasmania. I have spent time teaching – mainly in technology based areas, as an Assistant Principal, and have a couple of post graduate certifications, several accreditations in coaching approaches, and a broad and varied skillset built on experience both within and from outside the education sector.

In 2011 I shifted context from school leadership to taking a role as a Leader of Professional Learning for the Professional Learning Institute, Tasmania. My main focus area is building, brokering and facilitating professional learning that examines and constructs understandings about leading and teaching with and through technology.

Besides being passionate about family life and tinkering in the shed, I am highly committed to exploring how effective education systems lead and educate for future generations.

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

Working with adult learners to influence and develop their capacities to directly influence learners is a great reward, and a privilege. I am able to work with school leaders, teacher and teacher assistants, so the need for flexibility keeps me on my toes.

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

Rewards: seeing growth in learners capacities to engage as productive, thoughtful members of local, national and global communities. Developing what Michael Fullan is calling Education PLUS – “Education PLUS is, therefore, not simply about learning 21st century skills in isolation from doing, nor is it about acquiring basic skills and knowledge out of context. Instead, it is about collaborative learning through reflection in action and on action in order to become better at negotiating the messy, fuzzy, dilemma‐ridden context of real‐world life and work with positive impact. It is about developing an attitude of mind, a set of values and the personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities identified repeatedly in studies of successful early career graduates and those leaders who have helped create more harmonious, productive and sustainable workplaces and societies.”

Challenges: ensuring that outcomes/impact of “new” models of thinking and practice can actually be measured. An often dwindling/reallocated resource base with expectation of better/more/improved outcomes.

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

Quarantine education from political agendas, whims and short term shifts. Continue to support professional standards with professional learning and development in a nationally consistent  approach to build teacher capacity to impact learning.

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

Hope to provoke and participate in stimulating professional dialogue. Furthering connections, catching half thoughts and being a part of a space, place and time where slow hunches can collide (thanks Steve Johnson :-))

5 Questions for Ben Fitzpatrick

This week EduTweetOz heads down to lovely Echuca in Victoria, with Ben Fitzpatrick, a Catholic secondary school leader in the driver’s seat.

Ben tweets as @FitzBen

Here are his answers to our five questions

BenFitzpatrick

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?

This is my 10th year of Catholic secondary teaching, and I am currently on my School’s Leadership Team, basically responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school. i.e. reporting, camps, excursions, buildings & grounds, PTI’s, ICT oversight, etc. I was previously the Year 9 co-ordinator for three years. My teaching areas are business, commerce, IT, etc. But I basically have a go at anything.

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

I get my energy from the kids, spending time with them, getting to know them and seeing them grow. I also like the support I get to offer my colleagues. Knowing (or hoping) the work I do is trying to make the school a better place for all is also inspiring. The diversity of the role is also life-giving as I never know how my day is going to end up.

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

Rewards: Success of the kids we work with, diversity of the work, ability to travel & work, exciting nature of the development of 21st century schools.

Challenges: We don’t often get to see the fruits of our hard work, but hearing of the success of past students is really nice. Political nature of education will always be a challenge I think. One of those jobs where time is never on our side.

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

Stop governments constantly changing the goal posts. Allow an organisation to be set up that manages the system, is data driven and doesn’t base decisions on what they liked/thought was best about school when they were young. (Like I hope AITSL can become with Hattie in the lead)

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

It allows open dialogue, banter, debate for educators from all points of the compass. My hopes for this week are really to learn a lot and hopefully have a bit of fun doing it.

5 Questions for Steve Box

Steve Box is head of primary in a P-12 independent school. He’ll be bringing his insights to EduTweetOz this week and facilitating the conversation. Steve tweets from @wholeboxndice.

SteveBox

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 always wanted to be an educator. My mother was a teacher, a head of department and a deputy, so I saw first hand the ups and downs. Despite all of that, and encouraged by my love of coaching as a teenager (working with younger teams), I knew it was the right career. I wanted to build some life and professional skills to take into teaching with me, so I did a Public Relations and Media degree first and worked for 3 years in community sports and events. These skills have been invaluable both as a teacher and school leader.

Currently, I am Head of Primary (P-6), in a P-12 Independent School. I have the leadership and management of students, staff, and general administration of the Primary School in my job description, encapsulating oversight of pastoral care and curriculum.

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

I guess it is the little wins on a daily basis that help keep you working away at the big picture goals. I know that all it takes is a walk to visit our early years classrooms to remember why we do what we do.

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

We have a direct chance to influence the outcomes of young people. It is quite a responsibility, but seeing the ‘light bulb’ moments, seeing personal growth and development of the students is very rewarding. The profession is full of challenges, in terms of the economic/political sphere’s influence on education, the somewhat low value placed on the profession and the expectation for teacher to be the solution for all of the world’s issues.

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

I would do anything possible to depoliticise education. Put educational experts in the decision-making roles. I would look to shift emphasis away from the standardised testing regimes. I would look to re-brand the profession and ensure that teachers and educators were given the respect they deserve in the community as a whole.

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 voice for a united Australian education. Regardless of sector, primary or high school, gender or cultural background, it helps to reflect that we are all in it for the positive outcomes of our students. I hope to stimulate conversation, prompt reflection and share some perspectives.

More about this week’s host Sarah Langford (@skipdot)

Steiner teacher, Sarah Langford has been hosting the EduTweetOz account all week. Here is some more about her.

SarahLangford

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 taught English and History (SOSE) for nine years. One year in a public school, seven in a Grammar school and this is my first year as a Steiner teacher. I’ve also worked as a casual parliamentary educator at Parliament House. My current role feels more about learning than about teaching. So much is new in terms of curriculum content, as well as organisation and philosophy.

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

It’s really the students who keep me motivated. Nothing is better than seeing a student have a lightbulb moment or hearing questions that show that they’re thinking on a deeper level.

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

The biggest challenge is time. There is so much to do and to get through and there never seems to be enough time. The reward is knowing that you’re doing something meaningful that is making a difference in students’ lives. We might not see it, it might only happen years later but I believe that it’s there.

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

I would limit standardised testing and try to give teachers more time and autonomy to do their jobs. I would encourage more authenticity in assessment (something that I try to challenge myself with) and more community engagement. I would also like to raise the profile of music and art as important parts of the curriculum.

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 a great source of information, resources, and encouragement for teachers. I am hoping to give some insight into Steiner education this week.

To connect with Sarah, follow her on Twitter where she tweets as @skipdot

Narelle Woodberry hosts @Edutweetoz for NAIDOC week

Narelle Woodberry, an early career secondary school teacher from NSW, will host the Edutweetoz account for NAIDOC week in 2014. Here are her answers to our five questions.

NarellePlease 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 am a first year Secondary teacher at an inner city school – stage 6 only. I am currently teaching English.

I am also currently the President of the Met East Region Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG). This means I, alongside other AECG members, advise and consult with not only principals, but  directors around the Sydney Region- as far down south as Waterfall, North to the Bridge and before Canterbury.

This consultation and advocacy role is a volunteer role and is around all issues to do with Aboriginal Education – from advocating for Aboriginal students to assisting schools in incorporating Aboriginal content into the curriculum.

Prior to becoming  a teacher I was an Aboriginal Education Assistant at several schools in the Eastern Suburbs. I have also worked in other various roles in education and training. Essentially in the past 20 years or so I have in one form or another been an educator – now I have the formal Degrees – I have a Bachelor of Education (Secondary:Humanities)/Bachelor of Arts (English) from Sydney Uni.

I became involved in education simply because it is in my blood – my mother Joyce was one of the first AEO’s in Sydney metro in 1975. Mum was also one of the foundation members of the NSW AECG- so really I couldn’t avoid it.

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

For me it is about seeing a student who previously wasn’t getting it or doing any work just one day have that ‘ah ha’ moment & also about sharing my cultural knowledge with all students – but also motivating Aboriginal students to stay in school and to see that they do have the skills and knowledge to cope academically. Essentially, beating back the  stereotypes.

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

The rewards are the students successes I don’t just mean the standardised testing results but successfully making it to Year 12 in spite of all the challenges life has thrown at them. The challenges are essentially having a government who doesn’t understand what’s a teacher does – the mainstream media rubbish we put up with on a daily basis & the sheer amount of work involved in being a teacher.

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

Make it compulsory for ALL education staff go to through cultural awareness training – essentially an immersion into the local Aboriginal community – to understand what their students are going through but also so they have a better knowledge about Aboriginal people.

Basically show the rest of Australia that Aboriginal culture is a living breathing entity that’s not dot painting and Aboriginal culture and people don’t just live in Central Australia.

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

To share my ideas- get help as a mature age first year out teacher & to help spread the fun that is NAIDOC week.