Viviene Tuckerman, currently an Edmodo support ambassador from NSW will head up the EduTweetOz account this week. Here are her 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?
A lot of my family have been teachers. My grandmother was a school principal in primary school. Sans Souci I believe was one of her last positions. She came from a coal mining family and it was a huge achievement for her to get an education and become a teacher. My mother worked as a Maths teacher for all her working life too. My son teachers juvenile justice students and children at risk.
It was a natural choice for me to become a teacher as I love kids. Originally I trained as a primary school teacher and then I decided to retrain as a TAS teacher, specialising in computing. I taught IPT, IST and SDD. I also taught junior maths and ran the Counting On Numeracy Program for a couple of years. I worked for a year as a Computing Coordinator and ICT Integrator at Portland Central. I continued on for the last four years as an ICT Integrator and classroom teacher at Portland until the end of last year. I am now on leave due to ill health, but in the meantime I continue in my role as an Edmodo Support Ambassador, a role I very much enjoy.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
Above all it is the students who inspire me in my work as a teacher. I know as a teacher you can make a real difference in their lives and I like to think I inspire at least some of them in return. There have also been many wonderful teachers and leaders I have worked with.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The greatest reward is in teaching a class of engaged, excited students who become passionate about their learning. There is nothing I find more rewarding than when students want to come back at lunch to keep working, or go off independently at home and continue with the same passion, bringing their work in to show me with pride. I love it when students approach me in the playground and tell me how much they love my classes and talk to me about their passions.
The greatest challenge in education for me is the constantly changing expectations of governments, the cutting of much needed funds and the tireless criticism of teachers in the media. More and more we as teachers are expected to take on the role of social workers and parents as the family breaks down. It can be exhausting and heartbreaking, but very few people who are not in education understand how much we do.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
I would cut out Naplan and similar standardised tests. I would allow more student chosen projects and play as a part of learning. I feel there are too many restrictions on many sites on the internet and that we have a duty to provide a safe, supervised space where students can learn how to become digital citizens and understand all that entails. Another change I would like to see is more protective behaviour programs embedded in schools. We live in difficult times for the family and in society at large. Our students need to be explicitly taught what unsafe behaviours are, and how to recognise it when others are making them feel unsafe and know who they can go to who will believe them and take action.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
Twitter is a very powerful educational tool and educators share an enormous amount of their ideas, tribulations and projects. EduTweetOz connects teachers from all over Australia in many varying fields – I think this is invaluable in education. I have greatly enjoyed taking part in many of the conversations in #EduTweetOz and making connections with teachers I have met. There is nothing like having a real time conversation with other teachers on twitter!
I hope to share some of my own passions and lead some interesting discussions in my role as chair of #EduTweetOz for the week. I am particularly interested in student voice, game based learning and gamification, global collaboration and the role of Edmodo in giving our students the opportunity to connect with other classes and teachers. I hope to facilitate some new connections between teachers while I am in the chair and spark some new ideas.
You can connect with Viviene on Twitter at @VivienTuckerman