Our next host: Mags Lum – Teacher, Chemist, Metallurgist and Writer

We’re delighted to welcome Western Australian STEM teacher, Mags Lum to the EduTweetOz chair this week. With a background in chemistry and metallurgy she brings a unique perspective to education.


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’m a Graduate Teacher in Western Australia. I teach Science and Mathematics at a secondary level. I volunteered as a Peer Tutor in classrooms for just over a decade while I was working as a chemist and metallurgist on various FIFO rosters. I was also involved in many science outreach activities in the community through National Science Week and the WA Museum.

A couple of years ago I decided to formalise my interest with working with people outside of the scientific community and enrolled in a Master of Science Communication and Education. It is through this that I gained a teaching qualification.

Last year was my first year of teaching and that was at Karratha SHS in the Pilbara. I taught a combination of Science and Mathematics. I was also allocated a Year 11 Physics class to teach. It was daunting at first but both of my HOLAs/HODs were incredibly supportive and provided valuable advice when I asked.

This year I will be teaching a combination of Science and Mathematics at Esperance SHS. I am not sure what my load is yet or my timetable. I am looking forward to my time in Esperance.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

This is going to sound corny and scripted. What keeps me motivated and inspired is good teaching. I’m very much addicted to TED Talks especially the education related ones. I’ve learned so much from them and at the end of a bad day or a horror week, I will sit down and watch one. I find it helps me with self-reflection and finding mechanisms to improve my practice. I’m a Graduate Teacher so I’ve got a lot to learn about teaching.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

I can’t speak for other people working in education. My biggest reward is that I am in a profession that I enjoy and most days it doesn’t feel like work in the classroom. A close second is the support and relative freedom to improve my practice.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

If I had this ability I would ask teachers, principals, and parents what they needed and what their visions are for their schools. Then I would help where I could to make their vision a reality. Each school is unique so who am I to bring in a change without asking or the rich experience of people at the coalface.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

EduTweetOz brings so many different faces of education together and the sharing of ideas has been incredibly enriching. My hope this week is to highlight teaching in regional areas and resilience needed.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

It was an honour to be accepted to be a curator.

You can follow Mags on Twitter @ScientistMags


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