Welcoming Nicole Kapernick

Hi everyone. I’m the daughter of two primary school teachers but education has been valued in my family going back some generations. I dreamt of being a journalist rather than a teacher but when I completed my degree in Drama I needed to work, and teaching was the obvious option for me. I loved school as a student. I had many excellent teachers who mentored me, and I wanted to be ‘one of those’ teachers in the system – the teacher that made school a place you wanted to be.


I’ve had three stages in my career thus far – optimistic, idealistic, young drama teacher; mother of three trying to earn some money and stage her return to the profession and now- older, wiser, still idealistic but more reasoned teacher of English working full time for the first time in some 13 years.

Along the way I’ve worked in a range of Catholic schools from Lismore to the inner suburbs of Brisbane – co-educational, all boys and all girls. I’ve not had any senior roles but have mentored practicum or student teachers and always had a pastoral role as homeroom teacher.

My students are primarily what keep me motivated in my work. A long time ago a wise teacher told me that “being a parent makes you a  better teacher and being a teacher makes you a better parent”. As a parent I see the flip side of the classroom at home and the impact teachers have on young learners. I am always motivated to be the teacher students go home and talk to their parents about for the ‘right’ reasons. I’ve met and worked with quite a few inspiriting colleagues over the years and I try to integrate a little bit of their educational DNA into my approach to teaching.

The rewards in education are obvious to me – I get joy out of seeing my students succeed, I feel privileged to be part of their lives and to play a small part in getting them where they need to go and I’m guaranteed to learn one thing and laugh at least once every single day. The challenges can be overwhelming. I genuinely worry for the younger teachers I see new to the profession and wonder how long they will survive in our systems. At times I resent the public perception of my profession and their criticism of our effectiveness, amongst friends and politicians alike.
I think the greatest challenge is to have the courage to do less. It’s a challenge to say “No. Enough. Trust me. We don’t need to do that just now.”

If I could change the Education system in Australia I would dearly love to make it far more egalitarian. A free, well resourced, engaging education is the golden ticket for our young people and if all of them genuinely had this opportunity, our community would be immensely richer for it.

I follow @EduTweetOz because it is a strong community of amazing professionals who genuinely seem to love being educators and want to collaborate to make our profession stronger. I look forward to the insights that others will share with me this week and to shamelessly stealing any resources that are posted in good faith.

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