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 started teaching almost 14 years ago at Green Valley Public school. I studied at Southern Cross university and even then I leaned towards the science/biology side of my degree. The son of a nursery owner meant that I grew up in a nursery, spending holidays and afternoons potting up, watering and inevitably weeding. I guess this only naturally conditioned me to enjoy fresh air, plants, nature. A side of teaching that can be elusive at times, but once found, my most enjoyable. I still remember the first garden I got my students to create, out the front of my classroom. That was when I felt the power of teaching with passion.
From there I moved schools and further fostered my love for gardening and creating learning spaces, gardening clubs and bringing sustainability to a whole school level. Landing myself in an environmental educators role for the ‘Climate Clever Energy Savers’ program. As an environmental educator I had my eyes opened to the idea that I could step out of the classroom and take my passion to a much larger audience. I currently work at Red Hill Environmental Education Centre as a teacher and I believe that I have the best job in the world.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
My job typically has me taking students into national parks, museums and places of cultural significance. I am a tour guide with the power to teach, sharing skills, history, lessons in life, on a daily basis. I get the pleasure of taking students into amazing places and then asking them to observe, understand and respect how fortunate they are to have opportunities like this. I don’t work in your average classroom and as a result of this my motivation to work is driven by my passion to deliver a positive learning experience to each and every individual that is willing to come to my centre.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
As far as rewards and challenges in education today. The rewards relate to high levels of technology integration in education world. Making information incredibly accessible for students who have the skills and devices. Technology makes the world a much smaller place and allows real world issues to be addressed by individuals, with the potential to make a global effect. Whereas challenges, seem to relate to pressures placed on teachers. Pressures to, get reports done, differentiate programs, liaise with parents daily, keep up with behaviour management, professionally develop themselves, get everything done yesterday and then think about spending time with the family and being a normal individual. Teachers are constantly under pressure.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
If I could change anything in education, it would be… Most likely the ability for schools to access to their own bus (funded by the government). Getting students out of the classroom more regularly has such an incredible impact on engagement, behaviour, deeper understanding of content and relevance to learning. By saving schools from travel costs and encouraging more excursions into the real world, I believe that we could make our education system even better.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
EduTweetOz gives teachers the opportunity to share their passions. It provides a platform where teachers can explore what is going on around them, discussing ideas, sharing successes, lamenting failures, but most importantly giving each other encouragement. EduTweetOz gives a voice to teachers like myself, and I hope that by the end of the week we have had the opportunity to explore what makes a school great. I also want to share more of my journey into environmental education, with a focus on bringing sustainability education into all schools. Lastly, I am interested in following passions as teachers because that I feel is the key to a long and happy career in teaching.
You can follow Nic on Twitter @nichall17
So here we go…