Catherine Leahy has taken over 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?
I guess you can say I have education running through my veins. I come from a family of educators and I couldn’t ignore the ‘call’ to become an educator myself. The best decision I ever made in my life was the decision to get my Bachelor of Education.
My journey as an educator has taken me to many places. I lived and taught in London for the first five years of my career. I loved my time in London and my experiences there helped influence and shape me into becoming the teacher I am today. I have had experiences teaching in both private and public schools. My passion is working with children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds.
I currently work as a Prep/One class teacher at Dinjerra Primary School which is located in Braybrook, a culturally diverse neighbourhood. The school cohort has many different cultural backgrounds, low socio-economic families and high EAL. This year I have taken on a new role as the IT coach at our school. I’ve loved having the opportunity to work alongside the staff and students in bringing engaging and creative teaching and learning into the classrooms.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
First of all the students.
Using Nelson Mandela’s quote ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’ as my mantra, I’m constantly striving to provide a safe and engaging learning environment for my students. I’m forever hungry to learn and improve my practice so I can provide an education that helps my students change their lives and give them a world of choices.
The wealth of knowledge, expertise and support I get from my Twitter PLN is amazing and constantly inspires me to take on new challenges with my teaching.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
There are lot of challenges facing education presently with funding cuts and proposed education changes announced in the latest budget. The impact these will have on our society is significant. But I also think that now is the most exciting time to be in education. I love how the changes and advancements with technology have smashed down the learning walls and opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I get so excited that if I can teach my students to be creative, critical thinkers and lifelong learners the world will provide a life of choices and options. Knowledge is available at our finger tips. Technology provides a level playing field for education no matter what your background is. Unfortunately, we need to have the right technology, infrastructure and support in place to support this and this is where the equity gap in funding affects the provision of this. I know that a lot of schools are heading to BYOD with their students but when you’re teaching in a school where families are struggling to clothe and feed their children, the thought of being BYOD is just not plausible.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Education is going through a revolution and as educators we need to change our approach to education and how we deliver it to students. To be able to do this we need a government that isn’t reliant on ideology with their policy making decisions. We need a government that will listen to our heroes Ken Robinson, Stephen Heppell and David Price (just to name a few) and embrace the revolution and support schools and educators and not restrict them to a crowded curriculum and NAPLAN.
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 my biggest form of professional development. It’s just like one big staff room filled with so many wonderful educators who are willing to share and support teaching and learning no matter where you teach. I’ve enjoyed following EduTweetOz and the various discussions that have been brought up by past hosts. I’m looking forward to meeting other inspiring educators and hearing what incredible teaching and learning is happening in their classrooms. I’m also looking forward to sharing the wonderful teaching and learning happening in my little endearing school, Dinjerra.