Rhoni McFarlane has been our host for the past week and it’s her last day today. She’s worked in a range of settings and roles. Here’s a little more about her as an educator
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 came into education a little later in life deciding to change career after having children. I had always been a passionate learner and wanted to continue work that had an impact on community. I completed a Bachelor of JP/P at Flinders University in SA with Special Education included.
Since taking up teaching I have held multiple roles from classroom teacher in primary settings (reception through to year 7) and also as a literacy intervention coach, a numeracy coach, a NIT science teacher and a special needs teacher. Three years ago I entered the secondary setting for the first time and worked in a team to establish a new Unit for students with disabilities in a southern Adelaide school which I coordinate. I am also currently teaching a year 12 Research Project class and am a lead teacher in a developing innovative learning space in our school, due to open in a matter of weeks.
Oh and I also teach at Flinders Uni each week in a Differentiated Learning topic for 3rd and final year teaching students.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
I love learning and I love supporting young people and adults to be challenged and achieve. I am inspired everyday by the young people I work with that despite physical, emotional or intellectual barriers they still continue to try and stay willing to see the possibilities.
I really do not think there is a more noble profession than taking other people’s children, investing them with trust, confidence and high expectations and prepare them towards a life of learning and success.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
Rewards! Isn’t it amazing to witness a young person succeed when perhaps you were the only one that thought they could?
I think the rewards are all personal. If we don’t get those little buzzes from the successes of students, then I think we are definitely missing out on the goldmine in working with kids.
Seeing the opportunities that students have through technology to connect and interact with their world is something that I could never have imagined growing up. I think one of the greatest challenges we face as educators and as learners, is developing skills that will endure the changes in technology and continue working to make the world a more connected community.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
I really believe that we have great potential to be doing amazing meaningful things in schools, but each day I see students and staff frustrated by policy and infrastructure that denies access to the information that can potentially change learning experiences. Delivering high speed access to the internet without blanket restrictions and ensuring students have devices in their hands will go a long way to empowering all learners, teachers included.
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 EduTweetOz is a wonderful opportunity to engage and connect educators in flexible and personalised ways. The different perspectives and interests of hosts provides a diverse range of topics for discussion and opens the PLN to new ideas and opinions.
I hope that in some way, I can contribute something meaningful to the already rich dialogue that has occurred since it’s conception.