Jo Prestia is this week’s host (@JoPrestia)

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 always wanted to be an art teacher. I’ve spent 30 years in Catholic secondary schools in two states, mostly in Curriculum leadership positions but always teaching art. Four years ago I decided to pursue other avenues but always in education. These days I wear a number of hats. I have my own education consultancy business, working with teachers, students and Learning Support Officers (LSO) in schools and through Critical Agendas. I mostly facilitate workshops to do with special needs, disability, learning, boys ed, coaching and differentiation. I also work at Monash University as a tutor with pre-service teachers and with English Connect that runs programs for international students including Peer Support (assistance with academic writing) Let’s Chat (conversational English program), Connecting Across Cultures workshops and Orientation workshops for those newly arrived. In my spare time I enjoy doing CRT (Casual Relief Teaching).

Did I mention I am a part-time PhD student? My research is in the area of special needs – mainly interested in collaborations between teachers and LSOs.

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

 Teaching for me is all about learning. I am inspired daily by the learning and collaboration of both educators and students. I love learning with them and sharing their learning journeys. This is what motivates me in my current multi-roles. Every day is a new experience. I get to visit new places, different schools and have the opportunity to learn with different audiences. In fact one of my biggest fears is turing up to the wrong place! Everyday I check and double check where I am supposed to be – it’s not a chore but I like to think of it as an adventure – a new one every day. I love what I do!

On those days where I get the chance to stay home and work on my research, I like to hook into groups such as PhD Owls who support and assist me with just getting on with it. Several times a week I also enjoy twitter chats. My PLN inspires, challenges and motivates me to be the best educator I can be. I love that too!

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

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

 Never allow the system to stagnate. There is one constant in education – change. We shouldn’t be surprised, but we should be ready to ensure that students always come first. Change for the sake of change in unhealthy – we must evaluate, communicate, collaborate and reflect, then decide.

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 an avenue where educators can do just as I described above. A platform where we can evaluate, communicate, collaborate and reflect. It will be no surprise to anyone having read thus far that this week the bulk of our conversation will centre on inclusion, special needs and disabilities. I’m looking forward to the conversation. Thank you for the opportunity to host EduTweetOz this week. I hope you will join me in the learning.
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