Guest Host: Daniel Yong

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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 graduated in 2015 with a Master of Teaching (Primary) from the Western Sydney University. Education was not a profession I had aspired to work in. I dreamt of working in the fields of journalism, acting and youth work. I was one of those students who could not sit still, and I guess after certain events in life, I realised that the one thing that made me happy was being selfless and empowering young people. As a fourth year teacher, I am able to build confidence in young people and guide them towards finding their passions, and achieve their dreams if they work hard. No matter what adversities they may face. This year I have maintained my teaching role as the Stage 3 Years 5 and 6 teacher at Lansvale East Public School. Some of the roles I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in the past include: Being selected to work on an action research project with the Primary English Teaching Association of Australia (PETAA) on dialogic pedagogies, working with the community of schools (CoS) in the Fairfield Network on transitioning primary school students into secondary mathematics, and working with Stage 3 teachers in neighbouring schools on enhancing reading programs. I am currently working on a project to enhance my teaching of vocabulary for EAL/D students with Paul Dufficy. In addition, this year I am fortunate enough to be mentored by Dr Brad Russell (Director of the Albury Network) to lead a project on dialogic pedagogies within both my school and the wider community.

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

Quite simply, my students and the outstanding teachers and individuals I meet in life and on social media.

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

Let’s speak about the rewards first! In my opinion, the greatest reward in education is when students reach that “Aha” moment. Whether it is from a question they had once found challenging, or simply realising that they have just reached a goal after working hard on it for some time. And I personally love it when my students thank me for being a part of this journey, it gives me goosebumps every time. Like every career, there are always challenges. A few of mine are time, resources, balancing the paperwork, and personal downtime. The truth is that I am still working these out. However, if you truly have the passion for what you do, you always remember the purpose for why you work so hard during the tough times.

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

I love the idea of how high school teachers operate. Faculties that have expert subject specific teachers teaching young people. This should be done from Year 3. I really think we might achieve better outcomes for our students if we follow this model. However, I do not like the idea of different faculties not communicating with one another. I’m not sure how this would work, but it’s just an idea to think about!

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 a powerful platform that connects Australian educators with one another. It is crucial we reflect upon our practices and talk to one another about what works best. The most dangerous obstacle to hinder our progress against the world is to remain trapped in our own little bubbles. This account is just one of the tools that will help us all grow as education professionals. By hosting this account, I hope to gain a deeper insight into the practices of other Aussie teachers, and perhaps have them reflect with me on our own pedagogies across the country.

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