This week, EduTweetOz moves back to Tasmania with Stuart Lord taking over the reigns. You can connect with Stuart on Twitter at @stuartdlord
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 trained to become a teacher after moving to rural Tasmania from Melbourne. There were a range of factors that drew me to education, some pragmatic (the work opportunities available where I had chosen to live), some experiential (the positive and negative experiences in my previous working life) and some philosophical (as a Buddhist, seeking ‘right livelihood’).
Initially, I was involved in a Middle School program at UTAS, but had to withdraw due to ill health. When I returned to study, I chose an online, Early Years course through the Queensland University of Technology. Online because family commitments and distance meant that I couldn’t attend the UTAS campus and Early Years because, by that time, I had a young child and was deeply immersed in, and fascinated by, those stages of learning.
Since then, I’ve worked predominantly as an Early Childhood classroom teacher but also in literacy support. I filled in for a term as an Advance Skills Teacher and am currently applying for another stint in that position. There have been various additional responsibilities I have taken on, notably relating to Aboriginal Education through the Focus Schools program and IT (especially a deployment of iPads). In addition, I am an AEU Rep and on the AEU Tasmanian Branch Council.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
The moral imperative of what we do and the opportunity to make a difference; the intellectual challenge of grappling with the rich and complex activities of teaching and learning; the collegial support and interactions with other education workers both in and outside the school; and interactions with students and being involved in their development as learners and people.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The biggest rewards are being involved in the development of the students with whom we work, the institutions within which we operate and the profession that we are collectively helping to shape and define.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Adequate, needs-based funding. Our system already delivers above OECD average results with below OECD average funding. The mantra that ‘money isn’t always the answer’ is not an adequate excuse for under resourcing and entrenched inequality.
More time and support to further develop quality teaching. Everyone can improve and quality teaching is a vital. Improved outcomes also depend on work done outside the classroom. There should be more time and support for this, particularly through mentoring and coaching.
I could go on (and this week, I probably will).
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
What I have valued most from EduTweetOz has been the diversity of voices—both the hosts and those who interact with them—and the broader, national perspective provided. As well as learning from others, there is immense value in simply lifting your eyes above the immediate pressing concerns before you and considering your place in the broader educational system. The interactions and contributions can also just be a lot of fun. I hope that this week the account fulfills those roles and in any and every way possible continues to meet the needs of its followers.