Please welcome this week’s EduTweetOz host Damian Wanstall (@wanstad73)

 

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?
My first work experience block in Year 10 was as a Primary teacher, and my mum still tells me she could see me in that role. After completing my Undergraduate degrees in Economics and Science, I was lucky to complete my Grad Dip Ed at University of Canberra under the guidance of Warren Atkins who was closely involved with the Australian Mathematics Trust.

I have taught in the Western Suburbs area of Sydney, before spending a stint in the Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre as a Learning Designer during the implementation of the DER program. I am now Deputy Principal at Kellyville High School.

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

The kids I teach. I am lucky to be a teaching Deputy Principal. I say this, because, there is nothing better than overcoming the, at times, frustrating parts of my day job by ‘escaping’ to a learning space with a group of kids for an hour and being motivated by their success.

I recently ran a staffing panel, and took part in a project called ‘Educator Impact’ where we observed colleagues and had students comment on our performance. It is in hearing the conversations and inspirational teaching and leading stories from colleagues that also provides daily inspiration. 

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

The biggest reward is the positive relationships you form with the kids as you watch them grow into young adults. The biggest reward is in knowing that the opportunities I get to provide make a difference to someone.

For me the challenges lie in the administrative burden placed on teachers and leaders. For Mathematics education I think it’s in educators understanding that ‘real-life’ word problems, are not actually the ‘hard-questions’ and perhaps considering beginning with an actually ‘authentic problem’ and teaching kids to critically think from that point before teaching a skill.

The biggest challenge for our kids still lies in the absolute overload of information thrown at us these days from every angle, and teaching our kids how to critically analyse it for authenticity, purpose and understanding.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Gonski would be fully funded for the final two years. Funding for educational partnership services such as AusSIP, headspace, youth connections would be continued. 

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

I hope to connect with lots of educators during the week, and I hope to learn a lot from them about their experience of education in Australia and beyond. I hope to continues to foster healthy discussion amongst teachers and leaders that leads to reflection and improvement. 

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