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 a teacher since 1975. Teaching was not my first career choice and after completing my HSC I began studying Law at the University of Melbourne, I was, however, not suited to the world of Torts and Contracts and transferred to an Arts degree and picked up a ‘teaching studentship’. I guess I entered teaching by default, however, it’s been the most rewarding of careers. I am first and foremost a teacher of history and I don’t think I have ever not had at least one History class in my allotment. I have variously reinvented myself as a teacher and learner of English, Geography, Media and Psychology. I’ve worked in teacher education, as a History method lecturer and held senior leadership roles in Professional Learning.
Since October 2006 I’ve been in my current role, as a teacher, working in a museum. My official title is, Programs Coordinator, Humanities, at the Immigration Museum, Melbourne. This title doesn’t really give you any indication of what I do so here; I oversee the development of all education programming at the Immigration Museum. This involves our on site sessions where groups visit the museum (excursions), plus all the other education related activities associated with the museum. I work with universities and TAFE colleges and facilitate programs for undergrad and post grad students, particularly Education studies students. I present sessions and workshops at conferences, mainly profiling programs and initiatives at the museum.Over the past 5 years I have had the privilege of participating in a number of ARC research projects, looking at Teaching and Learning in Museums.
I’m also a convert to Twitter as a space to learn and make connections (thus my participation in Edutweetoz this week and several years ago. I am also a devotee of TeachMeets and the unconference model of teacher professional learning.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
I am always inspired by learners of all ages. I’m motivated by the wonderful individuals I have worked with, the students who in school were excited by learning and who now, as adults, are active citizens. By teachers who never give up on their students and by students who are excited by the world they inhabit.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
Working in education is challenging. I think it has always been so. The rewards are not always immediate however every teacher knows how wonderful it is to facilitate the opportunity of learning to another and to share the excitement of achievement. The challenges come from systems limited by access to resources and communities under pressure.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Depoliticise the education space.
Fund schools according to need.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week
Edutweetoz is a connector. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to speak to educators across Australia and further afield, in real time to share ideas and contemplate our circumstances. I hope we can have some conversations about our current situations ( as learners and teachers ) and how we are using our experiences individually and collectively to shape what we are doing as educators. I’m really interested in how we can develop a positive future focus for schools.