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 had nearly finished a Bachelor of Science (Psych) and didn’t feel ready to become a psychologist. I enrolled in some education courses, thinking I’d become a physics and biology teacher. I was assigned to a practicum at a kindergarten and was quickly hooked on primary teaching. I finished my BSc and enrolled in a GradBEd (Primary). I taught for six years on completion, at a variety of schools around Queensland, then enrolled as a PhD candidate. I also teach pre-service teachers about science, science education, and technology theory and education.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
I love working with pre-service teachers. It’s fantastic working with adults who are so passionate and engaged in their future careers. They bring fresh ideas and perspectives to our classes. I love hearing from our past pre-service teachers – now teachers! – about how they’re going. That keeps me inspired and motivated!
I also have the privilege of working with so many current primary teachers of science around Queensland through my work with the Science Teachers’ Association of Queensland.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
I think that teaching is the most rewarding career, mentally and emotionally. I learn so much more about a topic, and about a topics relationships with other concepts, when I have to teach it. Much more rewarding though is the epiphany a student has when they construct new ideas for themselves. It’s so exciting to know I helped a student to learn and grow and change, in a small way. Lots of small ways add up to big ways.
I think the interference in the role and activities of teachers by politicians and committees of people making decisions without any knowledge of pedagogy or experience of teaching is the biggest challenge for teachers at the moment. A close second is the culture emerging around the implementation and use of NAPLAN.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
I’d ensure that those making decisions about the activities of schools and teachers were qualified to do so. I’d also reign in the implementation of NAPLAN so that it was a valid and reliable diagnostic assessment of literacy and numeracy; it would be something that was completed by a representative sample rather than every school student in Australia, for starters.
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 it’s important teachers talk with others outside of their local networks. Sharing ideas and experiences across the wider landscape helps us to learn and reflect on our own practices. We have to keep the conversation open, share our successes and our failures alike to learn from and with each other.
You can follow Charlotte on her personal account @cpezaro