And now, Danielle Vandenberg (@DanielleVeeDB) settles in for the 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?

kzwqtg6cI began my career in fashion design in a large fashion house in Sydney but I always felt unfulfilled and that I wasn’t actually doing anything of importance. After two years I left and followed my calling which is a love of English, Drama and pedagogy. My own English/Drama teacher was an absolute inspiration and really motivated me to learn, I thought it was a privilege to be able to impact young people’s lives in that way. I am currently Head Teacher English and have this year, with a few colleagues registered as a professional teachers’ association focused on innovative pedagogies, which I think is an opportunity to build a learning community of teachers who want to engage students through evidence based research. Our FB group is Innovation 4 Education Association but or email to all NSW Teachers is coming soon. I really look forward to collaborating with some amazing educators!

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

Students who rely on high quality teachers, as I did, to get the most out of school. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a student whose life you have positively impacted. Like minded colleagues who are focused on transforming education, taking on feedback and deep learning. My own kids who I believe need strong role models and the opportunity to shine at school regardless of their interests and talents.

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

It is an exciting time to be in education. Education hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years so to have he chance to be part of this revolution is exciting. However, it is also the greatest challenge because traditionally students and parents fear change more than they embrace it.

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

I would love to see the HSC exams draw on skills such as collaboration and critical thinking and instead of having exams which students possibly learn by rote, have them solve real world problems. I love teaching English but sometimes teaching the HSC feels extremely formulaic.

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

Collaboration is a big one. Twitter has made it incredibly easy to engage in professional learning at flexible times and engage in meaningful conversations with educators around the world. I really hope this week inspires teachers to give new pedagogies and practices a go and it encourages people to take an interest in our professional teachers’ association so we can build a community of teachers willing to support one another in a very interesting time in education.

Please welcome @wiebam to the EduTweetOz hosting table!

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? 

img_4400I grew up across three countries, South Africa, Botswana and Australia. My parents sacrificed so much for me and my siblings by immigrating from South Africa. They left good jobs, friends and family so my siblings and I could follow our dreams through education. Whilst at school I loved every subject from maths to science to sport as I just loved learning. So I quickly got known as the teacher’s pet. Which at the time I thought was great as who wants to get in trouble. I finished my last three years of high school in Queensland and headed to the University of Queensland to complete my Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Movement Studies Education. My course (I have now learnt) is not a typical teacher prep course as the focus was more on the studies of the content areas (such as Biochemistry, Biomechanics and Sports Psychology) rather than the theories surrounding learning and education. But I must confess teaching prac was the eye opener for me. Being a teacher’s pet, I did not understand why kids would not want to learn and follow instructions. My skills a football referee (soccer for the uninitiated) came to be very valuable as man management was a strength of mine on the pitch and had also be one in the class room. Once I was finished with uni, I was married and had my first child – so teaching had to wait for a year. I then got that special call asking me to be a permanent teacher. I jumped at it with excitement even though I would have to work so hard as I was not a HPE and science teacher as I intended but a senior chemistry and maths teacher. I drove head first into it and struggled like crazy but loved it. My ambition took over very early in my career, I became a Year coordinator, QCAA panel member, started brand new subjects and was the Sports coordinator. After 5 years I transferred to become a foundation teacher in a brand new school. I loved the fact that I could be part of forming a culture. After a year I become the Acting Head of Department for Science whilst running an excellence program in engineering. I did this for a year and then applied to another brand new school. I got the job and became the Foundation Head of Department Science and Maths. After a year this role has evolved into be the HOD of Science and HPE. I have the great pleasure of being in charge of the STEM program and have been blessed with all the fantastic experiences I have had. In my head I would not have predicted that my career would have taken the roundabout path that it has but I know I would not have changed a thing!

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

I have been very fortunate to have had 3 keys teachers growing up, Mr Riaan Van Schalkwyk , Mr Bill Wilson and Ms Sharon Cordiner. These people inspired me to work hard as I could but to also accept that there is no such thing as perfection. I will be forever grateful for all the support and guidance they gave me growing up as a student and still now as a teacher.

As the teacher now, it is my students that help to keep me motivated. They are very vocal in telling me that they do not want to sit and be spoken at. They want to learn but they can’t always express what is the best way for them to learn. For me teacher is not just a job it is a privilege  as I get to help guide my students to reach their full potential. And show them how fun science is as everyone loves exploding things.

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

For me the biggest reward in teaching is the quiet “Thank you Miss”. It those times when a student is not understanding and then suddenly the light bulb goes off or when they feel like the world is completely collapsing around them and as a teacher I like being the one just to give them that thumbs up or small smile of encouragement. Teaching is more than teaching the curriculum for me – it’s about helping the students through the good and bad days to walk out of high school as good people.

In terms of challenges in education, I believe that the largest one is work load. Teachers love to teach and if there is anything that they can do to help their students they will do it. I know that I spend many many hours planning, researching, purchasing and making all sorts of things for my classes. I love doing that but then when it is accompanied by all the paperwork there are not many hours in the day. I have three young girls, a husband, fur babies, friends and family that depending on what week of the term it is don’t always get the best of me as. So work life balance is a very tricky thing when you love what you do but also love the rest of you.

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

I would love to see the following:

  • Teachers truly respected as professionals as without us no other profession would exist.
  • Science seen as a fun subject not just a hard one.
  •  A funding model that supports early intervention.

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

Sometimes teachers can become very isolated in their classrooms. EduTweetOz is a way of connecting with likeminded people from across the country to share thoughts, ideas and feedback. To bring up a child it takes a village. So a village of educators is a great place to gain advice and support as no one teacher has all the answers.

@Thingsbehindsun come out into the open – hey Ben Evans!

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?

djej9yfgI hold degrees from Durham and Cambridge universities in the UK. I have taught in four Schools over the past 19 years – mostly selective in terms of academic ability, boarding, day, boys’ Schools and co-educational institutions. I am a teacher of Chemistry and have been a classroom teacher, Head of Department, and have run the academic side of the School (in my last two roles). My current title is Director of Teaching and Learning, at a boys’ School in Adelaide. Both my parents were teachers, and so the only job I was keen not to do was teaching; unfortunately, it quickly became obvious that I had little interest or talent in other directions, and hence I followed the genes.

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

The chance to impress one’s personality on the role. No teacher is ever simply a cog in a larger machine, and any other teacher would discharge the role differently. Every teacher is therefore an individual, able to inspire in their own way. All the boys with are under the age of 18, so all of them are developing all the time (physically, emotionally, mentally). Having a hand in the development of young people is always rewarding; even when they get things wrong, it’s always part of the learning process. Each new School year brings with it a sense of renewal, and you’re only as good as your last year – this serves to guard against complacency.

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

Teaching is a job where every day should have a high, even if it’s only a little one – your team wins a close game, a couple of pupils have that genuine ‘lightbulb’ moment. Teaching is a job where it’s easy to keep learning, and there should be no sense of stagnation. We teach because we love our subjects, and by communicating that subject and learning more oneself, it enables us to remain engaged with the material. Introducing children to the finest minds of history, the best literature, art, philosophy and thought is indeed a noble profession.

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

Where to start! We need to change the edu-narrative, from seeing education as nothing but a ‘means to an end’, to something which is essential in and of itself. Education is more than simply a ‘pre-career’, and education should be more to do with making minds than making careers. We should do more to raise the levels of subject expertise in the profession, and look to raise the academic standards for those accepted to education degrees. We should eschew the tired narrative of skills over knowledge and understand that the skills of critical thinking, creativity and collaboration are not things we should look to teach explicitly and in a knowledge vacuum. Australia is falling in the PISA rankings, and this is more to do with flawed thinking rather than any lack of talent.

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

Conversation and dialogue – education is complex, and no-one has all the answers. To paraphrase Dylan Wiliam, everything works somewhere and nothing works everywhere. We need to be open to the opinions and experiences of others, whilst being clear in our own educational philosophy. Disagreement is good, lack of certainty is wise and absorption of the thoughts of others is essential.

Welcome to EduTweetOz, Kelly Maree Cheung (@AustralasianEdu)

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?

20160418_130449School avoider. Truant. Forger of parental signatures. Frequent visitor of sickbay with phantom pains. Socially anxious. Quiet underachiever. Constantly reading. I was the kid that didn’t cause trouble in class – god forbid attention would come my way. Even when I was in class – I wasn’t really present. Yet, I really liked, and still like, learning. I really liked, and still like, dialogue and discussion about what is and what could be. With much hesitation, I thought I’d give teaching a try, and I quickly realised how much I loved the work.

Returning to the school environment on my practicum made me realise that schools can be places where even the misfits can fit in, if a community is welcoming, knowledgeable, and willing to work towards a sense of inclusive belonging. In my years since, I’ve taught secondary English and History, coached debating teams, mentored students as a Year Advisor, and constantly worked towards ensuring all students know that they are recognised and valued for who they are.

I’m currently away from the classroom completing a PhD on the text choices of secondary English teachers while primary parenting a kinder child and a one year old.

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

My own teachers – the good and the exemplary, have always inspired. Shoutout to Kevin Williams and Paul Cannon from Primary, and Josie Mitchell (deceased), Anne Heaney, Brian Bowe, Graeme Judd, Deborah O’Neill, and Michelle Peters from Secondary.

My students have always inspired and motivated me to give them my best.

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

The biggest rewards are always in those moments of shared success; whether it’s a student finishing a novel for the first time in their life or writing something that is really important to them. The challenges are the barriers students and teachers face in and beyond the classroom. Education may be a series of personal accomplishments, it may be the unfurling of a larger world but while a competitive ethos strips opportunities and avenues away from all but the most privileged, education as a mission is tarnished by iniquity.

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

I would make schools centres of communities and open to the public. Health and specialist professionals should work within communities of schools and be freely available to all families to ensure all students receive timely interventions in support of their learning needs. I’d also ensure needs based funding was sustained for as long as it’s needed.

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

EduTweetOz brings together a range of individuals across sectors providing snapshots into the complexities within the Australian education sphere. I hope my turn on the account provides insight into some of the complexities within my experiences and understanding of education in Australia.

Batter up! It’s Marco Cimino (@MrMCimino)

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?

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I have been involved in education in a lot of different forms throughout my life. I went to a Catholic primary school, then a Catholic high school, then a Catholic university, then I worked at a University, and then gained employment at a Catholic high school. Whilst I have been heavily involved in Catholic education, I am committed to furthering the cause of education across all sectors and systems. I spoke about why I became a teacher on my blog, but, I will paraphrase it here. On the first block of my practical visits during my Graduate Diploma of Education, I sat in with my supervising teacher during parent-teacher interviews. About half-way through the interviews, a man appeared with his son (an all-boys school in a working-class suburb – my old high school as it were). The boy’s father sat down in front of us, wiped his black, greasy hands onto his mechanic’s tunic and shook both of our hands. The following moment is forever seared into my memory, never to be forgotten, and eternally there to inspire me to be the best educator I can be: at the moment we told him that his son had topped his class, he broke into tears and said in broken English, ‘I have worked 2 jobs for the last 5 years to make sure he doesn’t end up like me: breaking his back to make sure his kids can have the best life.’ That is when the totality of my decision to become a teacher really hit me: This is exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The rest of my life is to be dedicated to changing the live’s of others. After all, even if I only change the life of one child, then it’ll all be worth it.

I am now a HSIE and RE educator in South-West Sydney, and have worked at a University in the past, acting as the Student Rights Advocate (providing support to students), and also helping the elected student representatives. In 2017, I will be undertaking a few major ‘projects’: I will be the Assistant Year 11 and 12 Coordinator, I will be going back to uni part-time to do my Master in Educational Studies, I will be training to teach VET, and I will also be undertaking a leadership formation program.

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

The students. It’s as simple as that. I am there to serve them. After all, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have a job. I aim to provide them with the best learning experiences they can get. They keep me honest and push me to help them.

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

Rewards: Being responsible for the formation of young minds as they enter the world and become our future leaders. One of my favourite moments is when students approach me either when I am still teaching them, or many years later, and tell me that I helped to make them who they are today (I always assume it’s for the better – it helps my ego).

Challenges: Not really knowing where the world is going: how can we prepare students for the world when we don’t know what’s around the corner. There are trends and fads, sure, but as sure as night follows day, there will be something new on the horizon that we will then need to prepare students for. Trying to stay on top of it all is a challenge.

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

I would like to see an increase in teacher professional development allowances in schools. Something along the lines of 20% of their timetable should be release time to allow them to undertake professional reading, program, or do something that will ultimately benefit their student’s.

I would also like to see (as do many educators) an increase in funding and an increase in the type of technology available to students – along with appropriate training for the teachers on how to use it. After all, the only thing worse than spending money on technology is spending money on technology and then have it sit there because no one knows how to use it.

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

EduTweetOz goes a long way to helping educators connect – as I always say, no educator is an island. Where student learning is concerned, every educator anywhere should be doing whatever they can to help them. I never claim to know all of the answers – sometimes I need to run it by others. 

It is my aim that this week I can engage everyone in a meaningful and respectful debate about education and to help as many people as possible to connect to not only benefit their own professional development, but also their students.

To kick off 2017, please welcome Ben Kirkman (@ben46k)

 

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?

nt38e3eeI have worked in a number of Primary schools across South West Sydney as a mainstream and special education teacher. I have always enjoyed a challenge and have often put my hand up to undertake a variety of roles within the Department of Education. During my career I have undertaken roles as an Assistant Principal, Itinerant Support Teacher Behaviour, Disability Programs Consultant and have worked as a Deputy Principal in two schools. In 2017 I am about to begin a substantive role as Deputy Principal at Prestons PS which is near Liverpool in New South Wales.

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

The three main stakeholders within schools motivate and inspire me. I want to ensure that public education in NSW consists of outstanding teachers and I aim to serve them as part of a supportive executive. I have worked with wonderful staff (teachers, SLSO, Office admin) and their commitment to student learning inspires me.  I want parents of public education students to be proud of the system that their children are educated in and am motivated to ensure that home/school relationships are a priority of the schools that I work in. Lastly, the students are what drive me the most, especially those who require additional support or assistance. I am lucky to say that each day, I drive to work knowing that there is nothing else I would rather do!

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

On a personal note, my biggest reward working in education is seeing that ‘teachers make the difference’ and that in the schools that I have led, student growth is linked to quality teaching and can be backed up by data. I have been fortunate to work with amazing teachers in wonderful schools that each day make life changing differences to students, families and communities.

The biggest challenge for me from a big picture perspective is the national conversation regarding education. (As these conversations often reflect policy).  I have always been interested in words like vision, culture, purpose and why… and I think Australian society in general is often unsure about what they want schools to be. What is innovation? How innovative do we as a society want schools to be? What is fair? What content does society value? What skills drive the workforce? How do you measure engagement? Do we value compliance? To drive conversation around those themes, we need to understand the why… What is our purpose? I think that is a big challenge moving forward that affects policy and decisions that influences how successful we can be.

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

If I had the ability to make changes to the education system my first three priorities would be.

  1. A Pre School attached to each Primary School to support early intervention.
  2. A continuation of or improvement to the Local Schools Local Decisions reform.
  3. A funding model that is sustainable, valued and equitable at a National level.

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

The poisoned chalice of hosting on the last week of the holidays! My intention over the week is to support all educators in beginning 2017 with a growth mindset, inspired to make a difference in students’ lives. I hope to have conversations about instruction, current research, goal setting, relationships and hopefully provide a platform where each contributor can share ideas and thoughts that can support quality instruction and build positive school cultures.

2016, the year in review

2016 has seen a number of behind the scenes changes at EduTweetOz. The account’s original administrators Donelle Batty, Corinne Campbell and Michelle Hostrup chose to hand the reigns over to Jennifer English, Allison Fairey and Glenn Langford so they could focus on other projects including a return to school and two promotions. Mark Johnson also chose to hand over his administrator role and we thank him for all that he did in 2015 and 2016. The current administrators thank Donelle, Michelle and Corinne for having the brilliant idea to initiate and develop this account and wish them well in their future endeavours. The administration of this account is purely voluntary and the success of the account is due in no small part to the hours they spent developing and running EduTweetOz.

Allie, Glenn and I would like to wish all our followers a happy and healthy rest during the summer. The account will be resting until late January.

We would like to acknowledge all of the wonderful weekly hosts we have had this year and thank them for making EduTweetOz the amazing network of educators that it is. Below is a list of all of our 2016 hosts and a quote from those who answered our blog questions about what EduTweetOz is.

@mauriziovespa  Maurizio Vespa

I believe EduTweetOz provides an opportunity to share people’s expertise and life experiences:

  • Opportunity to share knowledge
  • Inspires dialogue and fuels critical thinking
  • Builds relationships and broadens our individual networks

@WesHeberlein Wes Heberlein

As more and more in education accept social media use in a professional capacity I see EduTweetOz playing a leadership role in connecting teachers and being a platform for shared discovery.

@shortcomp Kelly Bauer

EduTweetOz, to me, is a form of professional development, and the idea of having guest tweeters means that there is constantly a different perspective of education presented.

@robbielove79 Robert Love

I see EduTweetOz as playing a vital role in connecting teachers and leaders to share good practice and challenge our individual conceptions of education.

@rtillsley Robert Tillsley

I see EduTweetOz as being vital for the cross-pollination of ideas. Teachers, principals and more have taken to twitter to support each other to be better educators.

@hostbrian Brian Host

I have seen twitter over the past five years become a way educators can create a culture of guerrilla professional development. EduTweetOz has been one of the longest standing institutions in the twitter sphere for education in Australia and I am proud to continue on its heritage.

@nickpastianas Nick Patsianas

@TiffanySinton Tiffany Sinton 

@kimbowa Kim Flintoff

@JoelBSperanza Joel Speranza

I’m relatively new to twitter but I have loved following EduTweetOz from the moment I joined. Each new curator has offered a unique perspective and each has shared their passions and broadened my views as a result.

@Lilylauren Lauren Sayer

I see EdutweetOz playing a huge role in the flattening of educational structures so that everyone gets the chance to share their ideas and innovate.  I think that Edutweetoz allows the Australian educational community to embrace the collective genius and begin to design new ideas that change bring about collective change.

@Kazegraham Karen Graham

EduTweetOz is exactly what I value in education. Collaboration. A platform to share and be connected. Everybody is on an equal platform with all opinions valued.

@jjash Jenny Ashby

EdutweetOZ can be a place where liked minded people come together and share ideas, inspire, question and discuss all things about learning.

@asteroidproject Damian Marley

@pipcleaves Pip Cleaves

@gabrielletrinca Gabrielle Trinca

@nichall17 Nic Hall

EduTweetOz gives teachers the opportunity to share their passions. It provides a platform where teachers can explore what is going on around them, discussing ideas, sharing successes, lamenting failures, but most importantly giving each other encouragement. EduTweetOz gives a voice to teachers like myself.

@drnomyn Naomi Barnes

@MatthewBeggs Matthew Beggs

I think EduTweetOz not only helps provide a chance for teachers to interact with each other but it also provides us with opportunities to see us as people. I think sometimes we can get so bogged down in our working life that we can forget to actually remember that we are people as well, with our own things that makes us tick and drive us. I think I just want to find the things that make us inside and outside the classroom, as if we can have a greater understanding and acceptance of the varied experiences that we have, it ultimately gives us a greater appreciation of the things that make every single stakeholder in the educational experience tick.

@reemeyers Sherrie Myers

EduTweetOz provides a platform to share, inform and discuss on education.

@elketeaches Elke Schneider

EduTweetOz is a great place for discussion to occur about education in Australia. Twitter allows us to remove hierarchical labels, which can often get in the way at school or education events, and let us have real conversations about issues in education. EduTweetOz is also a great way to connect Australian educators and this may help educators feel like they belong and also build their Professional Learning Networks (PLN). It doesn’t matter if we agree on an issue or not, we all know that the reasons behind our, sometimes passionate, tweets is a love of teaching and learning.

@janiekibble Jane Kibble

It’s always interesting to read of people’s special interests and the teaching and learning environments that they exist in. This account allows people to showcase their passions and their special skills.

@robbielove79,   @misscmorrison Robert Love and Chantelle Morrison

C: I’m excited about the collaboration and networking – we’re all in this together!

@mrascience Vatche Ansourian

EduTweetOz allows educators a powerful platform to be able to discuss and bring up issues in education. It is a wonderful way to showcase what teachers are doing and allow them to voice their concerns and thoughts in a safe place.

@aly_ciab9 Alycia Bermingham

The varied discussions are so tremendously important to opening eyes and minds to new perspectives.

@michelle_neil Michelle Neil

I see EduTweetOz as being that stepping stone to collaboration, particularly  in STEM vs education. There are a LOT of scientists and science communicators here on Twitter.

@yvetteposh  Yvette Poshoglian

My teaching eyes were opened when I began using twitter as a learning and networking tool. While working with pre-service teachers finishing their university studies, I implored them to join twitter and underscored how important social media is in developing their networks and in particular how useful threads like #edutweetoz are. I have met loads of colleagues through twitter who I now work with in a professional capacity. The movers and shakers in our profession are on twitter. The conversation is happening right here.

@violet_verbena Violet Verbena

@DALynch46 Danielle Lynch

@wrenasmir Craig Smith

I feel that EduTweetOz provides a valuable opportunity to keep the momentum of dialogue going week to week between all tweeting teachers in Australia. We all need to keep talking, keep thinking, keep identifying needs and conjuring solutions, and initiatives like EduTweetOz I feel are helping work towards this.

@angelaryall93  Angela Ryan

@OliviaIlic Olivia Ilic

@EduTweetOz is about dialogue.

@eduemum Sally-Anne Robertson

EduTweetOz is a fabulous resource for bringing together educators in a non-commercial, collegial manner. I love that each week we are introduced to others who are involved in education who bring their various backgrounds, experiences and opinions to the “Twitter table”.

@joclyne1 Jo Clyne

I love twitter as an educational networking tool. I’m excited that through accounts like EduTweetsOz educators can access an international peer group to provide ideas, support and encouragement for their teaching practice.

@mrkrndvs Aaron Davis

Giving voice to some of the amazing educators on the web.

@aliceleung Alice Leung

EduTweetOz is a great way for teachers to share their passion of teaching and learning with the wider Australian community and the wider global community.

@jimlloyd82 Jim Lloyd

The account is a great idea, and has had many great educators as host during my time on Twitter. It’s a good forum for hearing from a variety of different educators (something I value highly – vive la difference!).

@debsnet Deborah Netolicky

I find EduTweetOz a wonderful opportunity to get to know a range of Australian educators by experiencing their ways of hosting the account and engaging with their diverse interests and approaches.

While I think the power of EduTweetOz is in the community, not the host.

@scottmillmanEDU Scott Millman

EduTweetOz was one of the first accounts I followed when I joined Twitter, and I love the shared experience. Twitter debates can be vicious and polarising (I’m looking at you, Angry British EduTwitter), so it’s nice that Australian educators have this shared account that values collegiality, community and connection. (I mean, EduTweetUK would last about a minute!)

I recently said that EduTweetOz is a great way to taste someone’s brain and decide if you want a second helping.

@wentale Wendy Taleo

@benjaminzonca1 Ben Zonca

Keeping the conversation going, whatever that conversation may be, is incredibly important, and EduTweetzOz is the perfect platform for a diverse selection of educators to do exactly that. Giving a voice to teachers brings them out of their individual context, offering both the host account, and those they interact with a chance to challenge perspectives, be challenged themselves, and to strengthen the Twitter’s educational community.

@annadelconte Anne Van Der Graaf

EduTweetOz helps keep teachers informed about educational issues in Australia. It is a support network and a forum for teasing out ideas.

To end 2016, generate some excitement for Anne Van Der Graaf! (@annadelconte)

photographing-the-photographer-on-presentation-day
Anne Van Der Graaf

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 ‘for real’ began for me in a primary setting for a private girls’ school in 1980. We were the first year of the Commonwealth Scholarship students that were not bonded and so we had to find our own way in the teaching world and apply for positions.

When I was at school I was hoping to work for the National Parks and Wildlife Services or be a geneticist – ironically, never a ‘boring old teacher’! While I was deciding between the two I took a break to ‘go bush’ and set off to work on a sheep station in central Queensland for a couple of years. Here I became the governess, teaching correspondence lessons to the three eldest children, the jillaroo chasing sheep and cattle on a motorbike and the nanny for the pre-schooler twins during out of school hours. To my surprise and joy I found that the children and I had fun learning together. It was then that I knew that this teaching caper was just the thing for me.

After four years of teaching, our four children were born at intervals and I took eighteen years leave. You have to know your limtations.

In 2002 I decided that it was time to return to my chosen profession before it was too late. Since then I have been a temporary casual teacher at the one Primary School in South West Sydney. Over the years I have been involved with community programs, support teaching, relieving from face to face teaching, sharing classroom teaching roles and EAL/D teaching. In fact now, I can actually confidently call myself an EAL/D specialist.

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

This may sound corny but it’s definitely our students who are my greatest inspiration and motivation. We are a multicultural school and there is never a dull moment or a day without a laugh. I enjoy trying to create authentic learning experiences for our students that are challenging enough to be interesting and yet accessible for every one of them. I hold Twitter responsible for pointing me to new resources and different methods as well as ideas and people to learn from. Many people with whom I’ve worked have been inspiring but over the past couple of years my chief encourager has been my dear friend and amazing EAL/D educator, Cindy Valdez- Adams @tesoloz whom I met through Twitter. This year she has invited me to complete the ‘Teaching English Language Learners’ course, the PETAA ‘Grammar and Teaching’ course and the NSW Department’s new course ‘Teaching students from a refugee background’ at Fairfield Public School. I thank my principal Teresa Gosche for allowing me to pursue my PDP goals.

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

It is rewarding to be able to share ideas and be validated for work not only in your own little patch, but across a wider professional learning network both face to face as well as through the internet. It is rewarding for our students to be able to produce, save and share what they are learning and doing to a wider audience through the use of technology and social media.

It is challenging to make the best choices. We have limited time with our students. How can we use our time and theirs effectively to be systematic and thorough as we teach them skills and understandings and to prepare them for the great unknown, which is the future?

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

By ‘ability’ do you mean, wisdom, knowledge, expertise, magical wand? I have seen many changes over the years. Our society has changed and will keep on changing … there are no silver bullets. As teachers more and more is required of us. We are meant to be experts in everything. Teachers need to be supported to be able to keep up with the increasing demands that are being placed on them and to do the best for each of their students. We need to have the funds to up-skill our teachers in areas pertinent to them and their schools..

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

EduTweetOz helps keep teachers informed about educational issues in Australia. It is a support network and a forum for teasing out ideas. This week I hope to use EduTweetOz as a means for educators to share their current successes and learning experiences as well as their hopes for the year to come.

Ben Zonca in da EduTweetOz house! (@benjaminzonca1)

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Ben Zonca…plus one

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?

My path to education came after, and was inspired by, an extended foray into the music industry. I had no intention of becoming a teacher after high school, and remember few of my own teachers fondly – I was the definition of a disengaged student throughout secondary school. After some success as a classical musician, producer and recording engineer, I married a teacher, and was inspired to follow in her footsteps! From there my passion grew, and have since had roles in primary and secondary music education, MYP and Literacy coordinator in the middle years, and am currently teaching Grade 4 in a PYP school where I also coordinate international education and coach literacy.

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

The incredible and often untapped potential of young people; when given the tools to critically and creatively engage in big ideas, to consider the values and beliefs of others, to critically explore multiple perspectives, and to follow their passions, young people flourish, and demonstrate the need for an education system that moves forward with the world.

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

I think I’m stating the obvious, but navigating an expanding curriculum, and an increasingly complex world is challenging, but packaging of this into something relevant, challenging, engaging, and worthwhile of exploration is a challenge that brings with it great rewards. Working alongside students who are actively building an understanding of the world around them, and their significant place in it, is the reason I continue to develop my practice.

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

I’m a huge advocate of the International Baccalaureate as an educational framework that values students as the guiding voice in the classroom, and recognizes young people as an integral part of a globalized society, and believe that a lot can be taken from this and used to strengthen national programs worldwide.

Educators on Twitter, I think at least generally, are more predisposed to keeping up-to-date with movements in education, and in an ideal world this would be the mindset of all educators. Unfortunately though, this may never be the case, but we can hope!

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

Keeping the conversation going, whatever that conversation may be, is incredibly important, and EduTweetzOz is the perfect platform for a diverse selection of educators to do exactly that. Giving a voice to teachers brings them out of their individual context, offering both the host account, and those they interact with a chance to challenge perspectives, be challenged themselves, and to strengthen the Twitter’s educational community.

No, it’s not *that* Taleo – Wendy Taleo in the EduTweetOz hot seat (@wentale)

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Wendy Taleo

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?

My career spans from milking cows as my first job, undergraduate degree in stuff I can hardly remember, living in different countries and training in my second language to where I am now ~ happily ensconced as a learning technologist in a dual sector university at the ‘outpost’ campus. I’ve worked in a few different sectors and through that process I realised that education was the one for me. My current roles is a mix of systems support for the Learning Management System through to academic support and training on usage of the LMS. I’m pursuing my Masters of Arts in stuff I hope I can remember and use (Online and Distance Education) and continue to jump feet first into way too many fantastic open education opportunities.

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

Curiosity about the way things are and the way things could be.

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

I’ll modify that question to include ed+tech. The rewards are being able to see technology being put to the best use for the student experience. Rewards in getting others to see that technology is not something to be feared or controlled but to be used. The challenge to encourage more people to push past the ‘luddite’ factor and find uses for technology in expressing themselves and helping others express themselves. The challenge to explain to others that I find sometimes non-screen time is the best learning tool and even sometimes even 42 won’t be the answer.

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

   What could be done
   To better the bed we lie in
   What could be said
   To make roses bloom
   Each step that we take
   Each course that we make
   Each attitude we throw
   Effects the system.

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

My hope this week is to survive, really. EduTweetOz will survive, with me or without me. The vast majority of my twitter connections and online study and interaction happen with people that are 3 or more timezones away. I want to connect with other educators in this region and in particular, those ed-tech creatures. By raising some issues, discussing and debating, we can be motivated to keep on going!