- 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 started teaching in an Independent Autism Unit before moving to mainstream education where I continued to implement my skills in special education for students with high needs. I didn’t always want to be a teacher – teaching was my safety net on my University selections, but once I went to my first prac I loved it and knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. I made the most of every opportunity given to me which meant having a lot of roles over my years of teaching, including sport coaching, choir, dance group, chess club, gardening and being a member of various KLA committees. I was encouraged to utilise my skills and take on more of a leadership role in the school and I became an Assistant Principal in 2012. I went from a large metro school to a small Central school in the country which was a unique and wonderful experience. I had the opportunity to really connect with a close-knit community and make some positive changes within the school. I returned to Sydney in 2016 as an AP in a small school and have most recently moved into more senior executive roles where I get to focus on building teacher capacity. I am currently the relieving Primary Advisor for the Futures Learning unit.
- Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
I find many different sources of motivation and inspiration. My immediate family (husband and 3 children) will always be my biggest supporters as well as my amazing friends and family. I have a fantastic mentor who was the reason I went into leadership roles and today he still guides me and provides advice when I need it. I have a great network of educators who are great to bounce ideas off and share insights with. I find inspiration in the works of Simon Sinek, Sir Ken Robinson and John Hattie. TEDTalks are definitely something on my ‘must watch’ list. Having a great team to work with is also a great way to stay motivated each day.
- What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The biggest reward is being able to make a positive impact on the people we work with. Not just the students, but the teachers, parents and community as well. It’s a wonderful thing to see someone’s life grow and change over the years they are with you in a school and how your contributions to their education can foster a passion or enhance their skills.
The biggest challenges working in education today are not so different to what they have always been;
- How education is perceived by parents, community and the media
- Keeping up to date with changes in culture and society
- Maintaining high levels of professional learning as pedagogy and technology change
- Staying on top of an ever-increasing workload
- If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
I would change the way that students begin school. I don’t believe a child’s age should indicate their readiness to begin school. Schools are the only places we dictate where a child should be based on their age. Even sporting groups allow a little leeway for kids to play up a level if they are capable but our ability to do that is heavily hindered. I am very keen to pursue further studies on this topic as education systems around the world show that we do not all begin schooling the same way. Age does not dictate our interests or our abilities.
- 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 great tool for teachers to collaborate and engage in professional dialogue. Having it online makes it easily accessible for teachers around Australia, and the world, to interact and share their experiences and opinions in a safe forum. In my time hosting the account for the week I hope I can engage more to follow the account, therefore bringing more teachers together. My aim is to share resources that will benefit educators in their professional development and classroom practice while encouraging people to converse on a variety of educational topics.