This week EduTweetOz moves from a high school in country Western Australia to a primary school in South Western Sydney.
Our host, Tareena Eastwood, provided these 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 have been teaching since 1999. I worked as a casual teacher in one school for 1 year and 3 terms and in October 2000 I was appointed to Mount Pritchard East Public School (MPE) in South Western Sydney. I have been teaching there for the past 14 years. I entered uni straight after high school to pursue a career that I have wanted since I was in primary school myself. I have taught grades 1 – 6 and am currently one of the two Stage Three teachers at my small school.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
I work with a really inspiring group of teachers and leaders at my school. The whole executive team are passionate about student learning and the introduction of 21st century skills. I am comfortably able to try new things, all grounded in research, and I am supported in this, even if something ‘fails’. I also have a stage partner who I work extremely well with and we have gone towards cross stage learning for many things. My students are enthusiastic and engaged in their learning and I love that feeling you get when one of them has a lightbulb moment.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The biggest reward is seeing students achieve. When a student has a lightbulb moment, whether they are a lower ability student or higher ability, seeing them achieve is what makes working in education great. Being able to engage students in what they are learning, and them wanting to stay in at lunch to finish something they are interested in or having a previously disengaged student write ‘this is the best year ever’ on the class blog are small but powerful rewards. Working with innovative people and being at the forefront of 21st century learning is fantastic.
Some of the challenges I see in working in education is the crowded curriculum. In a primary classroom, there is so much to teach, with more being added all the time. The extra curricular demands on teachers makes it difficult to find that work/life/family.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
The biggest change I would make is equity – not making all things equal by providing the exact same things to all schools, but providing the best resources, teachers, learning environments as needed to give all students an equal chance to succeed.
I would like to revamp the reporting system so that it is more beneficial to parents and less time consuming for teachers and schools. Perhaps more conference (with parents / teachers and/or students) style reporting or portfolio (hard copy or digital).
Homework! As a teacher and a parent this is not something that I see many benefits in. Keep reading practice but allow parents to interact with their children without the stress of homework or provide grid style choice homework or personal challenges such as to help a family member every day.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
I love how EduTweetOz reaches educators all over the country. It gives great insight into the challenges and rewards of working in education in all different types of settings. The generation of ideas, conversations and knowledge is amazing and there is no other Professional Learning quite like this.
I hope to generate discussions around student engagement, 21st Century Learning, learning spaces, innovation, work/family balance, formative assessment and building leadership capacity. These are all things that I am focusing on in my work and life at the moment and I would like to give insights into what I do and facilitate the opinions and ideas of others. I hope expand my personal learning network in order to continue learning after this week.
I am very excited to be hosting EduTweetOz.