The EduTweetOz account is heading to Queensland this week, with Jacques du Toit taking over the reigns.
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 only been in education for about 4 years now. I originally studied Logistics in South Africa, and worked in that industry for a number of years before moving to Australia at the start of 2009 with my wife. Soon after arriving I started my Graduate Diploma while living in Brisbane and finished studies at the end of 2010. I managed to secure my 1st teaching job at Riverside Christian College in Maryborough, Queensland and we moved 3 hours north of Brisbane with a 2 week old little girl a few days before the start of the school year in 2011.
Since arriving at Riverside I have been allowed to grow exponentially in my teaching roles. I have taught Year 9/10 Business, Year 10 History, Year 11/12 Modern History, Ancient History and Business Management over the past 4 years. Since the end of 2012 I have been the Head of Humanities, overseeing the implementation of the ACARA History and Geography curriculum for Year 6-10, plus changes in the senior subjects under QCAA. I’m a Year 11 Form class teacher, part of the QCS teaching team for Year 12s and on the Wide Bay District review panel for Modern History. My passion is for my history subjects, especially senior Modern History
This year I have become involved with sharing my learning and teaching at conferences, and at my school. At EduTECH in June I presented during the TeachMeet sessions, and this inspired me to organise my first ever TeachMeet for the Fraser Coast region a few weeks back. I presented an hour long workshop on Evernote in Classrooms at the CSA Queensland Conference in July. Next up is the google Teachers Academy in Sydney at the end of September, where I hope to continue learning and developing.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
My family, my students, some of my colleagues and my Twitter PLN all play a role in inspiring me. My wife is my biggest advocate and is always there to lend support, and push me. My daughter, because I want education to change and not be stuck in the 20th century for her. My students, their dedication, humour, stories, dreams and interactions. My colleagues that work so hard, trying to improve themselves, and creating opportunities for their students. My Twitter PLN, the ideas, sharing, collaborations, discussions, support and diverse opinions. They all inspire and motivate me to be a better teacher.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The biggest rewards is seeing how students develop over time, growing, maturity and independence in their learning. The results are a part of it in year 12, but what they do after school to realise their potential is of even greater reward.
The challenges are definitely linked to political/economical/social environment that teaching takes place in. Different governments, controlling bodies and people that have no clue about education making key decisions have a negative effect on education. Also Teachers that are not embracing 21st century teaching techniques and technology to support students is also a big challenge in certain schools.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Install key education experts in 21st century teaching practices in a role to oversee and implement changes to circumvent all the problems created by current bureaucracy, and to be able to strategically direct the system. All states should be able to be on the same field academically, but with freedom of subjects, assessments and how to demonstrate student learning. More recognition for the fantastic work teachers do in the lives of students and communities.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
EduTweetOz allows a diverse group of teachers from all over to take the reigns of the Twitter Handle and share their individual style and insights. It is a unique way to learn from each other, and for that weeks’ host to learn from different teaching areas with the people the account interacts with. I hope I can offer my own insights, have some great discussions, learn from others and develop my own practice to benefit my students.