Last week’s host was @MsDolling

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?

My interest in education was piqued when I was 11 years old and volunteered my time to coach gymnastics at the club I was also training at. I knew I would not be paid for my time, but I was keen to help out. Gymnastics was an interesting place- you weren’t graded by your age; you were graded by your skills. I might be 13 years old, and in Level 5 with 15y/o’s; 11 y/o’s and maybe even an 8 y/o. I think that is a very interesting model, particularly when I consider the implications it could have on the schooling system. I earned my coaching certification and was a member of the club for 15 years- 10 of those years as a coach.

I began university as a Psychology major, but was drawn back to teaching. As a beginning teacher at Rooty Hill High School, I was very keen to follow the path of student welfare, but my Mentor and Principal had other ideas! I was nudged into the world of Professional Practice- mentoring, coaching and a very unique strand of school leadership. I have been the English faculty Professional Practice Mentor (PPM) for the last four years, and the position is ever-evolving. I am privileged to work with expert English teachers, an amazing team of PPM’s and our supportive executive.

My coaching instincts never really abandoned me, and I’ve been active in developing and leading co-curricular opportunities for students. From choreographing the school musical; to coaching the U15 girls’ volleyball team; to co-leading the Young Writers Festival; I am passionate about offering every possible opportunity to Western Sydney students. Most notably I built a public speaking and debating club for students from Years 7-12. Teams meet weekly, and have participated in competitions across Sydney.

I am proudly and predominantly a classroom teacher and am passionate about sharing my love of literature and communication with students.

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

I am inspired by Western Sydney.
The people and culture surrounding our West are effervescent.

There are so many innovative, creative educators in Western Sydney, and being educated in Western Sydney, I know how essential it is that we recognise the amazing things that are happening here.

I believe that education is the solution (to innumerable problems), and this fuels my dedication to students and my work.

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

Rewards: There are hundreds of seemingly small moments within a day or week that add up to their own reward. An understanding conversation with a colleague, a Yr 7 student taking to the drama stage for the first time and lighting up, a shift in grades that shows improved understanding. All of these examples may sound saccharine, but when an ex-student contacts you to say they knew exactly how to write their University ‘Metropolis’ essay, or another asks you to proof-read their journalism article- you feel the weight of your impact.

Challenges: Assumptions.

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

I would shift away from privatising education and principals as CEO’s.
I would foster a culture of respect for the profession and my colleagues.
I would listen to teachers, students and parents.

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 connecting educators around Australia. I’m looking forward to building connections. I hope to engage in professional discourse, discussion and play around:
English:
– The new HSC English syllabus and how schools and teachers are approaching it.
– Love of reading.
Society & Culture:
– I will be teaching my first SAC class in 2018 and need to prepare!
Mentoring:
– A key interest in line with my position as Professional Practice Mentor. I’d like to make strong connections with others who work in this space.
Adaptive practice:
– My 2018 school plan project lives in this realm. How do we measure adaptability? How do the experts do it?
– Discovering how others use classroom observation

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