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 little bit outside the box. To date I’ve worked in schools, regional office, state office, left and private consultancy, but am now back in schools again. It’s where I belong and where I feel most energised as an educator. I’ve spent most of my waking hours since 2007 focussing on integration of technology to enhance learning.
I came to education quite by mistake. Growing up I wanted to become a lawyer like my father, or join the diplomatic corps. While living in Japan I built up a small little business as an English tutor. I guess I spent about 6 years teaching English. When I returned to Australia after 8 years in Japan, with 3 children under 5 years of age in my care, I figured that teaching would be a good fit, and I’d always get those long holidays… right?!!! Lol. Pretty soon I admitted to myself that I loved teaching and off I flew.
Within schools I am a Japanese Teacher who dabbles in any other subject needed to fill my timetable. My Classroom is pretty much a Project Based Learning and ICT experimentation zone. I have held roles as Head Teacher Welfare in a large comprehensive high school and am currently Head Teacher Learning Innovation at Sydney Secondary College, Leichhardt 7-10 Campus in inner west Sydney.
Outside schools, I have been lucky to spend time in regional and state office teams leading integration of technology into classrooms via the Connected Classrooms (VC and IWB) Program, and the Digital Education Revolution NSW (Laptop) Program.
I am currently an Adobe Education Leader, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Microsoft Innovative Education Surface Expert, Microsoft ICT Peer Coach Master Trainer, Microsoft Sway Champion, and Microsoft 21st Century Learning Design Master Facilitator. Being part of these global programs helps me to meet other like-minded educators, and be inspired to keep moving forward, and keep trying new things.
As a consultant in 2013-2015 I loved working nationally and globally, but something was missing for me. It wasn’t until I walked through a busy playground at recess in early 2015 that I realised what I missed. Students. So back to school I went. Best decision ever.
As Head Teacher Learning Innovation I build, guide and facilitated professional learning in our school of about 70 teachers. I look for and plan for future focused learning opportunities for students and teachers. I try to support every teacher in the school to be the best teacher they can be. I hope that my role leads to deeper learning and engagement in learning for all our students.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
I am inspired by 2 things. The world of online educators, and the world of the students in our school. Reading and interacting with educators across the world helps me to grow, helps me to see opportunity for my students. If someone else can do it, why can’t i? The world of students gives me both context to what we need to do to support our learners and inspiration to make learning opportunities that are relevant to them. Learning opportunities that help them build the skills they will need for their future.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
Biggest reward for me is engagement. Helping students to find a passion is such an awesome gift we as educators can realise. When we help student find their passion, we help them to be happy, to be productive and to be challenged.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Oh gosh! Me? Make whole sale changes? Never. But what I would do would be to disrupt the process of assessment. Open up pathways for completion of mandatory school years, and install the biggest, fastest and most robust WiFi network the universe has ever seen.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
This week I want to delve into future focussed learning, I will be drawing from experience facilitating a program called 21st Century Learning Design. Each day we will have a theme that I’ll chat about and share resources, in between teaching and family time, of course. I’d love to meet some new twitter teachers and share some things we all do in our classrooms.