All posts by claireseldon

Please meet Vince Wall.

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?

Hi. I’m Vince. My Twitter handle references an email from a 12-year-old student some years ago at school who addressed me as “Mr Vince”. (She signed off with “Love”. 😊 This was greeted with much mirth by my colleagues!)VinceWall

I honestly have no idea anymore why a very young, naïve, and reasonably sheltered 17-year-old me decided to become a teacher. Perhaps I became a teacher because of family connections and because I was familiar with it as an occupation. I do certainly remember that, in my final year of high school, teaching was the only thing I wanted to do. I haven’t been disappointed with my choice.

I’ve been teaching secondary students in the humanities subjects since January 1988. I genuinely love teaching. I have every intention of sticking with teaching for perhaps another decade or two.

In my time as a teacher I’ve held various roles and seemed to have adopted a pattern of opting to become “downwardly mobile” every 8 – 10 years. Working with kids inspires and invigorates me. Teaching, despite its challenges, brings me a lot of joy in my life.

In my time teaching I have taught in the state, Catholic and independent sectors – and enjoyed them all. I have learnt from so many wonderful colleagues in so many contexts. I have also taught as a part-time sessional lecturer in teacher education. I have taught in all boys’ schools, co-ed schools, and currently teach in an all girls’ Catholic independent school. My entire teaching career has been in and around Brisbane / South-East Queensland, but I have had the opportunity to travel from time to time. My students have included lower socio-economic students and quite affluent students. I’ve taught vocational education students and taught some highly academically driven students.

I am currently a full-time classroom teacher but have spent a substantial amount of my career in middle leadership roles as a head of curriculum or as a pastoral / student welfare middle leader (such as Year Level Coordinator or Head of House). In 2017, I decided to step away from middle leadership as a Head of House of 9 years. In my 30 years of teaching, the majority have been in roles connected to student welfare. In most recent times, this has meant working with students with significant well-being needs.

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

I am blessed to work with some wonderful colleagues who inspire me. I am also blessed to work in an environment which prizes learning, personal development, and the well-being of both staff and students.

I believe teachers are privileged to have the opportunity to work with so many kids and to touch so many lives. Unlocking students’ potential to engage with their world in an empowered way is certainly a motivation for me.

Educators that inspire me include: Sir Ken Robinson @SirKenRobinson, Christopher Emdin @chrisemdin ‏ ‏, and Angela Duckworth @angeladuckw ‏.

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

Where else do we get to engage with kids who are on the cusp of entering the adult world? There’s a reward in seeing students making their way in the world as healthy, happy and successful people.

So many challenges.

A key challenge for teachers is to engage with students in a meaningful way, to guide them positively in a world with so many voices competing for their attention. To engage them in authentic deep learning, to engender a love of learning, to be a voice of hope and reason is a world that can sometimes seem so foreboding.

I’d be remiss not to mention also the challenge posed by the fragile mental health of many of our students. We need to do what we can to protect and care for our students.

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

So much to rant about and so little time.

In Queensland, I would love to separate the senior years of schooling from university selection processes.

I would love to see schools become concerned primarily about learning, rather than assessment. I would love to see educators, families, bureaucrats, and politicians fully understand that performance in assessment may not actually be an indicator of a person’s potential, ability, intelligence, or worth.

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

Edutweetoz plays an important role in helping educators to connect and share. Twitter PLNs open our eyes to perspectives and experiences outside our own. It allows us to explore a diversity of opinion and voice… and hopefully Australia and the world (and our students) are all the better because of it.

I hope the account this week generates conversations, interactions and learning for teachers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome back to Damian Marley @asteroidproject

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?

damianmarley

I’ve been teaching since mid-2005, after a decade working in retail. I changed careers after a lightbulb moment and a voice in my head that told me to teach. I’ve worked in a variety of Primary schools and year levels and I’ve been Principal of Warburton Primary School, a small school in the upper Yarra Valley, since 2014.

 

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

The kids keep me inspired and the motivation is to continually improve myself, to continually motivate my staff and to continually grow the school in every way possible.

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

This is a human role and the rewards come when the relationships grow, the faces smile and the brains expand. The challenges are immense and they centre around how best to best meet the needs of all our students.

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

I would increase the targeted funding to Government schools, in order to get more people on the ground to push our kids further and higher. I would want to redress the primacy of school choice. Choice is very important, but it needs to be balanced by appropriate community-building measures.

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

My hope is to share the adventures of a Principal this week. EduTweetOz brings educators together across the sectors. Or settings are varied but at the centre we all have students who need us.

Introducing Melissa Reily

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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 didn’t always want to be a teacher. In fact, quite the opposite. I went to a pretty rough comprehensive high school, where both the teachers and facilities were not given the respect they deserved. I saw some pretty awful things and because of this I convinced myself that teaching was one profession I would never even consider.

I went to University unsure of where I would eventually end up, and fell in love with archaeology from the very first lecture. My love for the discipline didn’t falter until the day I graduated. As soon as I stepped into the real world, however, I was far less sure of myself. I graduated at a time when there were very few jobs in archaeology or heritage management in Australia, and I believed my prospects for employment were limited at best. As a graduate with First Class Honours who also won an academic prize for the original research in her thesis, perhaps I should have had a little more faith in myself. But I didn’t.

After a couple of years of trying some different jobs and professions, I turned to teaching. I started with my own private archaeology education program and consultancy, and then quite quickly moved into classroom teaching. I completed my Grad Dip Ed and haven’t looked back.

I am currently a teacher of History and an ICT Integrator at SCEGGS Darlinghurst. That is the perfect role for me because I am able to combine the two things that I absolutely love: things that are very, very old (Ancient History) and very, very new (technology). An odd combination, I’ll admit, but it works for me.

In the classroom, I feel like I am home. If anyone had told my twenty year old self that I would be where I am right now, I would have laughed openly. But my 42 year old self knows that I have ended up in exactly the place I should be.

Home.

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

All of the students I’m yet to teach. The thought of all of those lives that I have the opportunity to positively influence keeps me motivated to strive to be the best I can possibly be.

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

If only I had the answer to this question! Student success (and I don’t necessarily mean the success that is measured by marks or leagues tables) will always be the biggest reward in teaching. As for challenges, there are always so many from both in and outside the profession, and they are constantly in a state of flux. What I have noticed very starkly of late, perhaps because it is the beginning of the school year, and at this time there is always a veritable explosion of media articles regarding education and schools, are the number of “experts” offering their opinions on our profession and the ways in which it can be improved. These “experts” are rarely teachers, even though we are the ones at the cold face of education. The erosion of teacher authority in the higher debates on educational theory and practice poses a great challenge for teachers.

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

Magic wand style? A single education system, managed by the state, generously funded and resourced to support the highest quality teaching and learning for students, irrespective of socio-economic status. In this system, I see the teaching profession as being highly respected, with salaries commensurate with the importance of our jobs.

Realistically? Better funding, governance and bureaucracy in education. Wait, that was meant to be realistic…

In all seriousness, our education system needs a major overhaul, not just of funding models but of everything, from the ground up. As it has been said many times before, our children are the future and our treatment of the way in which they are educated should be reflective of this gravity.

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

I have been an avid social media user, particularly of Twitter for several years. I actually took from break from Twitter for a couple of years, and in the time that I was gone, there was a huge increase in the use of this platform for extending professional networks, sharing resources and teaching ideas, and engaging in robust debate on issues of education.

EduTweetOz plays a vital role in all three of these areas. Importantly, because of its ‘democratic’ curation, it has a variety of voices and perspectives prodding this debate along.

My hopes for the account this week is that I’ll bring my expertise and experience to the table, but leave my opinions in my personal Twitter accounts. To facilitate and moderate, but not to dictate. To this end, I’ll be posting the latest news and interesting media pieces throughout my days as curator, and to lead a discussion on something important each evening. No spoiler alerts though, you’ll have to tune in to check out the discussion.

To add something truly interesting in the mix this week; from Friday I’ll be participating in an archaeological dig in Tasmania, which is actually teacher Professional Learning as well. So I’ll be tweeting from the field and I’m sure I’ll have some truly funny stories to relay along the way!

Can’t wait to join you all on Sunday 🙂

Please welcome Matthew Beggs back to EdutweetOZ!

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 actually realised this year that I’ve been teaching for ten years and I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. I entered education and teaching after completing a degree in media studies and attempting to make it as a writer for a period of time. Teaching was always something in my mind as a potential career and it was something recommended to me by others. I have been teaching at the current school where I work in the western suburbs of Melbourne for the past five years and am currently the Grade 5/6 team leader. The previous two years to this I was teaching 3/4 and then previous to that 1/2. This year is my first year as a team leader and it has definitely creates some challenges. At the same time it has created some wonderful opportunities to extend myself as a teacher that I do not think that I could have been able to do in previous years.

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

I think every day I turn up to work there is always something exciting and inspiring. Whether it be the student who has the “a-ha moment” or the opportunity to undertake new and exciting experiences, there is always something to motivate and challenge me. I think the fact that this year I have moved to a year level that I have never taught before is something that has motivated me to take greater risks as a teacher, which ultimately has led to me being more motivated to deliver the best possible educational experience that I can for the students that I work with.

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

I think one of the greatest rewards in education is still that moment where you can see the lightbulb goes off. The moment that a student you are working with achieves something that you might of initially felt was impossible is always such a rewarding thing. The small moments can sometimes lead to moments that are much larger and I think these small moments can sometimes be forgotten with the amount of noise that we are exposed to. A challenge that I feel in education today is the fact there is so much noise for everyone to navigate. It is becoming increasingly hard to distinguish which voices should be listened to and which voices should be ignored and ultimately this has an impact on both teachers and students.

 

 

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

I think there needs to be greater interaction between those who are training teachers and schools working at the coalface. I feel that there needs to more done from all parties involved to help prepare teachers for the realities for the workforce. If more is not done to help bridge the gap that exist between teaching rounds and the reality of the workforce, teachers will continue to burn out as the pressures on them continue to increase.

 

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

One of the things that EduTweetOz does so well is it allows for different voices to be heard in a constructive manner.

 

I think it helps to keep myself grounded as a teacher as I am able to see an amazing array of different examples of phenomenal teaching. By allowing for more voices to be heard, we are ultimately helping to promote the collegiate nature that we all seem to strive for.

I think for myself this week it is another chance to connect with those within the educational community and find what ends up making us tick as teachers. I think we seem to talk a lot about what drives us within the classroom it is always nice to reflect on what drives us outside the classroom (also what helps keep us sane outside the classroom). I think by trying to help myself and others identify our passions and to connect with others who might inspire us to be better as teachers and aren’t we always learning anyway? This account is a wonderful reflection of the Australian educational community and I hope that I can be a small part of this.