Welcoming Sherrie Myers, this week’s host

FullSizeRender.jpgPlease 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?

One of my dreams from primary school was to be a teacher. To make a difference for children through education, ensuring that all children, irrespective of their background, be given an opportunity to be anything they want to be and be educated to make choices.

Although I had my dream, journey of life takes different roads at times and my pathway changed after completing my school years and I joined the workforce. It wasn’t until I was working in education as a tutor funded by ASSPA that the dream shone again and I started university as a mature aged student.
On completing my studies I graduated with a Bachelor of Education, Primary.
I am employed by NSW Department of Education and have taught in public schools across South Western Sydney. My educational experience expands from classroom teacher, Reading Recovery accredited teacher, Early Literacy Initiative officer and for the past eight years as a senior education officer with the Aboriginal Education team, which also included a temporary R/Curriculum Advisor position.
I am currently the R/Aboriginal Education and Wellbeing Advisor for the Ultimo Operational Directorate and co-lead the Aboriginal  Education team to support primary and secondary schools in the area of Aboriginal Education.
We provide advice and support to schools to implement the Departments Aboriginal Education and Training Policy (2008) and build strong partnerships between schools, AECG and Aboriginal students, staff and communities.
The Aboriginal Education team provides professional learning to support teachers to embed the cross curriculum priority area, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture delivering a range of registered and non-registered courses. We also provide curriculum enrichment opportunities and programs that support engagement and attendance for Aboriginal students.
The Team supports Aboriginal staff in school and non-school based positions through professional learning opportunity, network meeting and individual support.
The Aboriginal Education team’s priority is to build a strong relationship with schools to develop cultural competencies that strengthens the partnership between schools and Aboriginal communities to work collegiality to improve the educational outcomes for students, families and communities. Aboriginal Education is everyone’s business!

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

I am constantly inspired to continue my work by the strong relationships  I have with students, schools and the wider community.

I am very reflective of my work and realise that without the partnerships I have with my Team, other non- school based educators, executive leaders, schools and community, we would not see the improvements that are occurring on a daily basis for our Aboriginal students.

We have noticed a shift recently with schools wanting to be part of our work and to become culturally competent. That

inspires me that we are making a difference and others are contributing to the change.

Seeing and hearing about the success and achievement of our students and communities, motivates me to keep working hard to ensure that everyone is working towards the priority goal of improved outcomes for students, families and communities.

Working collegiality with many stakeholders in education, other government and non-government departments, and Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal organisations keeps me inspired, that together we will make change that continues to motivate all to move forward for a fair and equitable future for Aboriginal people.

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

The biggest reward is how education is moving forward within the 21st century. Schools are adapting and changing to what students require and are becoming very transient and flexible learning environments. Although, this is a challenge for some educators, but generally the overall flexibility of educators and the open- mindedness allows us to move forward.

Rewards are seeing the improvement of student outcomes and the confidence our young people are displaying as they interact with peers, educators and other adults.

I think the challenges are still current and possibly increasing, as they have been for sometime, the wellbeing of students. The holistic approach supports wellbeing but difficult to coordinate at times to ensure a student is getting the assistance from service providers as required. Within the Department, ensuring that we have the service provision available by means of additional specialist staff, experts in a range of behaviour and mental health issues, support for differentiated learning, the list can go on. In summary, I guess the challenge would be guided by available funding.

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

I would ensure that all children have access to a fair and equitable quality education. Each community is different and needs of that community would differ from their neighbour. Authentic consultation with communities to ensure that needs are met and that the school is a priority for building strong foundations for the future.

Education system needs to be guided by overall policy and legislation but flexible enough to meet differing needs. This could include number of teachers, specialist teachers, curriculum requirements, specialised curriculum, etc.

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

EduTweetOz provides a platform to share, inform and discuss on education.

During the week, I will share the significance of NAIDOC and provide information of what’s happening when and where so that others can read about or join a local event. Sharing and celebrating the achievements of Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islander people’s during NAIDOC is very important as we continue to support each other from historical happenings and move forward together for a prosperous future for our First Nations people.

I look forward to sharing my week with everyone.

 

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