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?
Good in maths and science at school, and completed a degree in Electrical Engineering, and found the study more inspiring than the work. While at uni, I spent a fair bit of time working as a volunteer in youth work, mainly high school kids, but also some upper primary, which I loved. Putting maths & science together with working with kids, and teaching was a natural choice. Went back for my Dip Ed after two years working as an engineer.
What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?
Main substantive role is as Head of Science, at two schools, one state school, one low fee independent school. Also had some experience as acting Deputy at both schools. The most fun I’ve had was as an ICT Mentor Leader during the period of time of the federal government laptop program, moving a school from virtually no computer access to basically 100% laptop ownership by students.
Current role is Head of Science, and chief spanner-in-the-works, in that I enjoy asking the hard questions of admin, particularly around data. Not in a destructive way, but as a way to sharpen our focus, and ensure that what we ask of our teachers is actually useful. Data is hard.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
Always love my students, but my science teachers here are amazing people. My kids are currently students at my school, which is a great motivator for ensuring that the school is doing good things.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
A big challenge on our plate is the effective use of data. Few teachers or leaders have any real maths training that prepares them for the effective use of stats and data. Rewards are always the wins you have with students that make a difference to their lives.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Can I put in three?
- Mandatory stats and data training for preservice teachers
- More focus on chance and data in maths education, and less on algebra. Most kids don’t need algebra. Everyone needs to understand data. Is there a theme here?
- Staggered start for students at Prep – Holland has a model where students start Prep whenever they are ready during the year, and some start with half days or 2-3 days per week. Some kids are just not ready for school, and some are ready early.
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 the role of EduTweetOZ is Provoking thought, & conversations with people that we wouldn’t normally mix with at our local schools. What do I hope for? Much the same. Interesting and thoughtful feedback on my own questions and comments. Challenge my thinking?