Margo Edgar, an assistant principal living in Melbourne takes over the Edutweetoz account this year. She’s worked in a range of roles and a range of school types as you’ll see from the post below. We’re looking forward to the perspective she’ll bring to EduTweetOz this week. To connect with Margo, follow her on Twitter. She tweets as @medg56
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?
Next year, will be 40 years since I entered Teacher’s College, a decision I have never regretted, in part influenced by a desire to emulate ‘Anne of Green Gables’. I have been a classroom teacher (and taught every grade except Prep) and a Library specialist. I have taught in small and large rural schools, a P-12 rural school and primary schools in the Western and Northern suburbs of Melbourne. Every school has been a unique experience and added to who I am and my beliefs as an educator. I continue to learn from the students, educators and parents I work with, every single day
My current role is Assistant Principal in a relatively large government primary school in Melbourne. I have many roles, however the ones I get the most satisfaction out of are; Prep-2 student welfare responsibilities, the development of effective assessment and reporting strategies that meet the needs of education today and supporting our school through the candidacy phase to become an IB PYP school.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
The people I learn with everyday, who continually challenge themselves to provide educational opportunities for our students, to exceed expectations. The connections and communities I am part of, outside the four walls of my school, who challenge me and my thinking every day. The opportunities I have to make a difference, both small and big, through education, in my school and in the wider community.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
Our biggest rewards are often our biggest challenges. I think I spent my the early part of my teaching career waiting for Internet to arrive. I have used computers in schools since 1981, and over the last 30 odd years have continually pushed my own boundaries of technology use in the classroom. There have been many times when I have been guilty of ‘tools’ over ‘pedagogy’, and I see this as one of the greatest challenges. However when we get it right and pedagogy comes first, the access to knowledge, the depth of understanding, and the powerful thinking that ensues is one of my greatest rewards.
A challenge that I see at the moment is that the future of education is the great unknown. Now more than ever we cannot say with any great certainty what is going to be possible in five years time (ten years time may be almost unfathomable). In trying to do things differently and provide an education system that is fluid, adaptable and future focused, we are asking our parents to allow their children to be guinea pigs. Not something that many parents are comfortable doing, therefore holding on to the status quo, even though we know it may not be the best thing – is often viewed as the safest way forward, even though we know its not the best way.
The biggest reward (regardless of the school, the place, the time) for me, is always when we get it right! When the faces of our students (or our educators, or our parents) light up because they get it. Not because it is ‘just’ fun but because the fun has come from being challenged, being questioned and persisting to achieve greatness.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
The ultimate would be …. to start from scratch and design the system from the ground up, for the current and future educational climate, rather than trying to adapt and change what we have.
In reality; change the public perception of teachers from within the system. We have to view ourselves as professionals before others view us that way. We have to stand up and be proud of who we are and what we do and we should never refer to ourselves as ‘just’ a teacher. Stop calling ourselves teachers and start referring to ourselves as educators.
I would provide more time for professional collaboration within schools and across schools and value the time educators spend learning from each other and their students. I would involve students in the ongoing process of planning and assessing their educational experiences rather than having education ‘done’ to them.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
EduTweetOz provides a forum for educators from across Australia to connect and learn from each other. It opens us up to ideas and thinking outside our own system and beliefs. It values who we are and what we do. It builds the profession and us as professionals.
Being someone who took a long time to be more than a lurker on Twitter and someone who still thinks far too much before postin; through being EduTweetOz this week I hope to challenge my own level of connection, deepen my thinking, start some conversations, find out how others spend their holidays, celebrate successes and share challenges.