All posts by jenglish2013

About jenglish2013

You can follow me on twitter - @jeneng

Rachel Buchanan @rayedish is our host this week

 

Nc8vkF9H_400x400Please tell us a little about your background in education.

When I started university twenty years ago I thought that I would like to be a psychologist, maybe a school counsellor. My understanding that was that you needed both a psych degree and a teaching degree to be a school counsellor. I got into pyschology and studied that for three years before switching to study education, as I no longer wanted a psychologist. My husband (@mrstevennewman) is a teacher and our three kids are all at different points in the education system – we’ve got one in early childhood care, one in primary school and one in high school – so education is a big focus within our household.

Why did you decide to become involved in education?

I ended up in education serendipitously. During my third of university I was getting disillusioned with psychology and enrolled in an educational philosophy subject which I thought would be more fun than the other statistics subjects I was taking. I did well in the course and was invited to do Honours by the course coordinator. I wasn’t enjoying psych anymore so it seemed like a good idea. I followed Honours with a phd. The phd took a while as I did it part time while having kids.

What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’ve always been an educator of adults. I started out tutoring at university while I was an Honours student teaching educational philosophy. Then towards the end of my phd I was tutoring educational sociology. I submitted my thesis and started as a lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle on the same day. I teach in educational foundations – which covers a lot of territory. I’ve taught professional ethics, first year foundation courses and educational sociology to preservice teachers (early childhood, primary and secondary) and teachers in our Masters of Educational Leadership program. I teach online courses on politics and policy, and change management. While I love face-to-face teaching, I enjoy teaching on the online Masters courses as I get to hear about what teachers are doing across the country and around the world.

My current role is course coordinating our educational sociology course – which is a big compulsory course for all our preservice teachers. This semester we have about 700 students enrolled. In my role I manage the curriculum and assessment in the course, as well as manage and mentor the 13 other tutors on the course (a mixture of full-time academics like myself and casual tutors). I’m also running an online masters subject which is very small by comparison – it’s just me teaching the cohort.

In addition to my teaching responsibilities I’m also a researcher. My interests are in educational technology, policy and equity and I’m currently working a project with some local school that looks at the use of immersive VR in classrooms.

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

In terms of teaching, it is seeing students find their passion. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Regarding my research I love learning new things – so whether I learn things from the readings I’m engaged in, or find new out in the course of our projects it’s always exciting to make new discoveries.

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

From knowing and talking to teachers the challenges come in the disconnect between the policy environment and the lived context in which they work. In it’s current form, the education system is emphasising standardisation. However, many teachers want to meet the varied ends of the students of they have. A system that focuses on basic skills, a narrow prescriptive curriculum with high levels of accountability makes this difficult. In my context within higher education we feel the difficulties of the policies imposed by the NSW government (Good Teaching, Inspired Learning) the Federal government (The Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education) and the accreditation requirements of TESQA and NESA. These multiple policy frameworks make it difficult to design a cohesive degree that makes the needs of multiple education systems and preservice teachers.

The rewards comes when you know you have done a good job. When you know you have helped a student, or improved a course.

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

I’d changes the policies that are feeding the residualisation of disadvantage in Australia. This might involve disconnecting the publication of NAPLAN and the MySchool website – so NAPLAN becomes lower stakes and diagnostic (as intended). I like to see the vocational educational options improved so that these can better articulate to real pathways into the workforce. I think that the curriculum should be less prescriptive so that teachers have more flexibility to meet the needs of their students and funding sorted so it’s less politicised and we can target resources at the schools that need it most.

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

I see EduTweetOz as a great resource for connecting people in different educational sectors – to see the system as a whole and get a sense of the different people undertaking different roles within the system. It can allow others an opportunity to hear the voices of fellow educators and to consider alternate perspectives. As for me, I hope to learn from those that I interact with this week. I hope to enjoy myself and meet other educators also the country.

EduTweetOz Blog Elke Schneider

elke

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 work at Somerset College (private school) in the Gold Coast. I mainly teach Years 8 to 12 in Digital Technologies and senior IT subjects. Since starting at Somerset in 2016, I have worked hard to develop an exciting mix of topics and activities for the Year 9 and Year 10 elective ICT subjects. I enjoy developing full units of work and I have included topics such as robotics, game development, geospatial data and web/app solutions in the Year 9/10 ICT subjects. I also have a strong interest in increasing female participation in ICT and I am continually focused on improving my teaching strategies to ensure that I meet the needs of individual students. In the past year I have had success in increasing female participation in ICT and I presented on this at the recent ACER Excellence in Professional Practice Conference.

https://elketeaches.wordpress.com/presentations/eppc/

I am the Queensland Society for Information Technology in Education (QSITE) Treasurer. If you’re a Queensland educator and not yet involved in QSITE, please join today!

I started work in the IT industry as an IT Analyst for EDS, Canada in the late 90s; I still remember Y2K and the Dot Com bubble! I also taught at the tertiary-level at Durham College (Ontario, Canada) for a number of years. At Durham College I taught IT and Business subjects such as, Java Programming, Oracle Database development, eCommerce, Systems Analysis & Design, Economics and Management Information Systems.

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

My two kids (9 & 14 years) are my inspiration to become a Secondary teacher. My kids and all my wonderful students are what motivate me to teach. Teenagers are awesome; take the time to listen to them, show them you really care and then they will help make teaching fun!

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

Forming good relationships with teenage students is rewarding because it is clear that they trust you and they tend to surprise you with their willingness to learn more. I feel rewarded when students yell out my name across the school grounds because they simply want to say ‘Hi’. It’s awesome when students want to share their successes with you and occasionally there are students that do amazing innovative work that goes far-beyond assessment requirements.

The biggest challenge in working in education today is the seemingly continuous additions of extra tasks that don’t always have a clear link to classroom practice. Teachers are time poor and the hours that I spend at home marking and developing new resources/activities all impact negatively on my family life.

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

Ensure ALL schools have adequate WiFi and digital equipment for ALL students. Include a MakerSpace in every school library. Unblock Internet access and make Digital Citizenship teaching & learning mandatory, while also encouraging the use of effective and authentic social media use in learning.

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

My host post from last year says it best: “EduTweetOz is a great place for discussion to occur about education in Australia. Twitter allows us to remove hierarchical labels, which can often get in the way at school or education events, and let us have real conversations about issues in education. EduTweetOz is also a great way to connect Australian educators and this may help educators feel like they belong and also build their Professional Learning Networks (PLN). It doesn’t matter if we agree on an issue or not, we all know that the reasons behind our, sometimes passionate, tweets is a love of teaching and learning.”

This week I hope to focus discussion around the Digital Technologies curriculum and current trends and issues in education.

Elke Schneider

Digital Technologies Teacher

QSITE Treasurer

Host of @qsite

@elketeaches

https://elketeaches.wordpress.com/

Please welcome Matthew Beggs to EdutweetOZ

blfbRzAa_400x400Please 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.

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.

RoCur – Rotation Curation

An interesting but brief analysis of our RoCur account. Do you have any answers to the questions posed?

Marginal Notes

I’m in the midst of ‘data walking’ and rereading the interviews, blog posts, tweets and observations I’ve made over the past year or so. One episode opened up when I was copied in on a tweet by Aaron:

The post referred to in the tweet was one in which Aaron was reflecting back after concluding a week occupying the ‘chair’ of a RoCur account, @EduTweetOz. RoCur is Rotation Curation and is where a different person each week takes the helm of social media account, usually Twitter. For @EduTweetOz:

“Each week a different educator will take responsibility for tweeting. We hope that people will use the space to share their experiences, pose questions, engage in dialogue about current educational issues and help each other out.
Guest tweeters and other educators will be showcased on this blog to share their passion for education with the wider community.”

This was a…

View original post 681 more words

This week we welcome Tamika Worrell


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’ve just completed my Bachelor of Secondary Education majoring in English and Society and Culture. Going down the education path made sense to me as I had always loved learning, since my first prac I knew teaching was the right career for me as I felt so at home in the classroom. Education has cemented my passion for closing the educational gap of Indigenous students and supporting them the best I can within whatever role I’m involved in. Within my studies I’ve been involved in teachmeets, received the ETA NSW Beginning teacher scholarship as well as an amazing scholarship that allowed me to undertake a practicum at an International school in Hong Kong.  I’m currently working for Reconciliation Australia on the Narragunnawali team, promoting reconciliation in schools and early learning services. Our new platform is completely free and hosts a range of PL and curriculum resources. (https://www.narragunnawali.org.au). I’m also an Indigenous Educator at the Australian Museum, sharing cultural knowledge with the school groups that attend to museum to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories. I also serve on the Board of Youth Action, the peak body for young people in NSW as a young person member.

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

My culture keeps me inspired and motivated, even though i’m still on my own cultural learning journey I am always driven by the cultural knowledge I have to offer students and other educators when it comes to teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories. My family definitely motivates me as well, they have supported me to pursue anything my heart desired.

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

We are educating young people and preparing them for jobs that don’t exist yet, we’re working with innovators and the young people that will be the leaders of tomorrow, and if we can help them on their learning journey that is massive reward. As well as instilling resilience and growth mindsets into our students and seeing them thrive in areas beyond our own disciplines. Ensuring we are helping to create culturally literate citizens who can navigate their own worlds when they leave school. I think one of the biggest challenges is time, we have more to get done than ever and we are still working with the same amount of time leading teachers to become disheartened and run down, we need to practice self care in order to combat this.

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

Further embed Indigenous perspectives and support teachers in order to implement these effectively from a local level.

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

I see EduTweetOz connecting educators and forming a large supporting network of teachers to support and assist each other, leading to innovations in education. I hope that on the account this week I can aid in helping people think about Indigenous cultures and histories beyond NAIDOC week, thinking about the land we live and work on and the languages and songlines that exists within these lands that have always existed. We need to support all students in the classroom to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, regardless of whether we have Indigenous students in our classroom of not. As well as connecting educators to prominent Indigenous figures and sources for further information for general teaching and knowledge.

This week’s host is Penny Bentley @penpln

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education?

I became a secondary maths and science teacher in the 1980’s after working in medical research for several years. Talking science with teens seemed way more appealing than doing research with rats.

What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

Throughout my 25 years on the frontline of classroom teaching I had many roles, some more suited to my skills and knowledge than others. Teaching maths and science from years 7 to 10, along with senior chemistry, formed most of my teaching load from year to year. Thinking back now, was it that year 8 home economics class, the year 10 PE class or the year 9 Outward Bound camp that almost put an end to my teaching career long before I was ready?  I had leadership roles too, but much preferred to co-ordinate my busy science classes than hundreds of students in year level assemblies.

Six years ago I left the classroom, once described by Schon (1995) as a place where ‘the turbulent world of practice’ occurs. I’d had enough of practice, but not of learning more about it. Now I’m writing up my PhD thesis on how Australian teachers experience professional learning on the open Web.

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

I guess it’s all the wonderful teachers I interact with on the open Web who share their experiences of ‘the turbulent world of practice’. The willingness of teachers to be there for each other, to share resources and ideas and participate in conversations. That keeps me inspired and motivated. Also, I love exploring archives in the public domain. To read the original words of Bacon, Darwin, Dewey, Pierce, Curie and so on…that’s truly amazing.

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

I’ll never forget the day I first connected to the internet. Back in those days it was the small image of a moving globe that signified a connection, and it sent shivers down my spine. Being able to access information from home was transformative for me, as was the ability to communicate with others and create digital artefacts as the interactive Web evolved. I believe one of the biggest rewards for teachers today is the amazing connectivity and openness of the Web as a means of opening our eyes and the eyes of our students. Of course, this biggest reward brings with it many challenges.

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

Ever since I’ve been in the education system people have been making changes to ‘fix’ something that’s broken rather than support the system to evolve. Change takes time and more than the ability of one, so I’d be looking to connect with others to come on board for the long haul. That’s what we’re doing here on social media. Having ongoing conversations with people from diverse backgrounds related to education, and it’s a good place to start. Change lies in the willingness of people to listen to and learn from each other. To respectfully engage with teacher educators, with educational researchers, with teachers on the frontline of practice, with politicians, parents, students and a whole range of experts.  In answering this question, I’d encourage everyone to think more about what it is that needs changing and how we can bridge the gap between the different kinds of knowledge everyone brings to the conversation. I’d also ask everyone to take a critical look at what’s happening right now. Should our professional learning and our children’s education be directed and controlled by multinational edtech companies? Should we be giving our student’s learning history (data) away for these companies to use as they wish? Should STEM education focus on coding and robotics or global problems as climate change, disease and poverty.

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

EduTweetOz enables the conversations I mentioned above and I hope to chat about all of these issues. Thank’s for giving me this opportunity.

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.

Damian Marley @asteroidproject is our host this week

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’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.

 

Taking on hosting duties this week is Angie Taylor

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?

After a few years of overseas travel, I found myself at a major cross-road in my life. I decided to enroll in a Bachelor of Primary Education at the University of Technology at the now defunct Ku-ring-gai Campus in Lindfield. The beautiful leafy campus tucked into Sydney suburbia is where I arrived as a mature aged student – pregnant, divorced, with a one year old.

I did end up having to skip a semester but then made it up with summer school completing my degree half a year later than my peers. The practicums I undertook were with the guidance of amazing educators. They confirmed for me my love of teaching and let me know that I was taking the right path.

As a targeted graduate, I had the good fortune to teach at a range of schools across Sydney and am now an Assistant Principal at Boronia Park Public in Sydney’s inner northern suburbs.

 

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

I live to connect with others. I’m driven by the connections I make with students across my school and in my class. I’m driven by a passionate desire to make things better for them, for our community and the teachers in my school. The smiles, the hi-fives and hugs, those amazing light bulb moments are a panacea to the hum drum of reports and administrative requirements of our job. The joy I get out of connecting with other educators feeds my desire to do better, but also reinvigorates my passion for education.

People come into your life to teach you lessons and my life has seen a vast array of that. I’ve been motivated to do better by people that have challenged my drive and determination and have been inspired to succeed by teaching alongside some amazing educators and leading under some amazing principals.

I love to build collective teacher efficacy through sharing and collaborating with others as well as being involved in Teachmeets, Twitter and Yammer where I’ve connected with educators from around the world.

I’m passionate about technology, creating websites, blogs etc. and took a year off class to just teach through technology while beginning my Masters in Educational Leadership. I’m continually trying to build my capacity as an educator and leader and have already completed the DoE’s management credential to further my understanding of running a school.

I am also chair of the Lane Cove River Alliance – a group of eleven local schools and through them we’re organising a 400+ staff development day around Wellbeing. This direction came out of analysing the needs of staff from their feedback following the inaugural SDD of which I was also a part.

Above all, the continual support of my husband and children keeps me motivated and able to focus on the many tasks at hand.

 

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

One of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is the disconnect between public perceptions of our roles and the reality of the difficulties, and limitations, that we have to deal with every day. This gap in understanding may never be bridged!

The rewards, however, are abundant.

 

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

My first step would be to ensure that all schools, government or independent, enjoyed equal base funding across all levels of government. Then, make it more equitable for schools dealing with educationally disadvantaged students such as students with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students with limited English language proficiency, low socioeconomic status (SES) students, and students in regional, rural and remote areas to access additional funding where required.

 

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

I’m hoping that EduTweetOz will further connect teachers across the country – if not the world! – and help us all become better informed on those subjects that we hold dear as well as those we are yet to discover. My passion for collective teacher efficacy is building one teacher at a time.

On a personal note, I hope that many of you will reach out and connect with me on Twitter. You can find me @Angie8881

Please welcome Michael Sky as this week’s host

18741609_10155291288641866_628332772_n_FotorPlease 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 was a professional uni student for a number of years, by accident not design. I studied a Bachelor of Arts at Macquarie University, intending to do education, and I went to my first day to enrol and they asked if I was enrolling in primary or secondary. To that point I hadn’t thought about that choice and on the spot chose secondary. I decided to major in History and have Maths as my minor, and it was only when I did my first prac in 3rd year that I knew secondary teaching was not for me.

I completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and then went and did a degree in music at Southern Cross in Lismore, the first time I had lived outside of Sydney. That was the first step in me leaving Sydney forever.

After that degree I moved to Newcastle and was playing in some bands and teaching private music tuition. After a few years of doing that I went back to uni to do a Dip Ed in primary teaching. I got a job from uni as a 5/6 classroom teacher in Wollongong, but after a chance conversation with a colleague decided to move to London and teach, which I did for two years. Coming back to Newcastle as a casual was difficult in terms of gaining permanency, so I started applying for jobs in rural NSW. I was successful in gaining employment at North Star in 2011 on the 3/4/5/6 class. I planned to stay 3 years in North Star, but stayed 5 and a half. I probably was thinking about moving somewhere else for about 12 months when my current role was advertised. As principal of a small school that was only 25kms down the road from where I had taught for more than 5 years, it seemed like a good way to get into a leadership role in my own school. 6 months on and I have no regrets about taking on my current role. As a teaching principal in a small rural school, you get a degree of freedom to try a wide range of ideas.

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

The things that keep me inspired are, for me, the very things that our schools exist for, students and the community. I am very blessed at the moment to have the most lovely group of students I have ever taught, but even when I have more difficult students and or families, I am motivated to find a way to connect that child with their learning. I am also inspired by a number of educators that I have met through social media, including Twitter and Yammer. I have found these forums amazing for connecting with people who in general I think are far smarter than me, yet are usually so friendly and sharing with their ideas and approaches to teaching. This is doubly so for leadership. I must admit I haven’t had any great leaders in the schools I’ve worked in, but I have met leaders through social media that have given me real focus in how I approach education through their experiences and willingness to share

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

For me education is all about the students. They are the challenges, but working with them to help them improve and want to improve is the reward. The other challenge is the amount of reform that has come into education over the past few years much of which can prove a distraction to the everyday job of teaching the students.

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

I would give rural schools a lot more money!

I think the urban/rural divide remains a major issue and I am not sure there is really an earnest attempt to improve access for and the achievements of rural students. It is also concerning when you look at how many small schools have been closed in the last 10 years and you can’t help but wonder if small schools will survive in the future when the focus of governments is economic rather than service based.

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

I think it is good that there is a way in which all the different parts of the education sectors can be bought together through this account. No one is an expert of everything, but this at least allows a range of voices to share their ideas, engage in discussions and inform people of differing experiences.

I hope to be able to discuss leadership, experience of teaching rurally and anything else that grabs my attention during the week. Would love it if there was anyone thinking of teaching rurally who would let me convince them to give it a go.​