Twitter has inspired me as I see other teachers passionate about what’s best for students.
It has depressed me as I realise how little I know compared to many others.
I want to investigate every which way of teaching but I would find the process overwhelming. I want to read the hundreds of blogs I have found through Twitter. I want to use nearly every resource I discover. But time, sweet time, prevents me.
Twitter has connected me to other parts of the world. One highlight of this is a (private) blog between my Society and Culture students and students at the UN International School in Hanoi, Vietnam. Blogging is something I am trying in a variety of contexts in class (eg see http://saclife.edublogs.org) but also a little as a teacher and anonymously as a writer.
The last few days I have been following #ACEC2010 (Australian Computers in Education Conference) on Twitter. Two of my colleagues have been presenting there, Stephen Collis (@Steve_Collis) and Chris Woldhuis (@cwoldhuis) and I’ve watched via U Stream. I have been addicted to all this, yet I have learnt nothing new since it has all been discussed before in my PLN on Twitter and through what we do at my school anyway.
I had allocated today to completing a university assignment for my Editing subject as part of my Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) through Deakin University. I’m just over half way through this course and I’m really enjoying it.
My other subject this semester is Script Writing. I spent Easter writing a monologue for it. You see, I want to be a writer, probably a fiction writer.
I am already published as an educational writer but that is just to gain a name for writing before I hit the real deal. I must admit I enjoy the exercise though. At the end of each year EdAssist send me a list of topics I could write on for BusiDate and generally I choose something that would interest me, or is most relevant to what I’m teaching, or most recently, what I know a lot about and can write with minimal research. I then write the article during the summer holidays.
My educational writing started when Grant Kleeman came to my practicum class during my Dip.Ed. at Macquarie University and asked who had a finance background. I’m actually a degree qualified accountant who used to work in funds management. For example, for three years I was the Accountant for the Cash Management Trust at Macquarie Bank. Through Grant I ended up writing three chapters of Commerce.Dot.Com. Grant then passed my name onto EdAssist. EdAssist also invited me to deliver lectures on Business Studies to students in holiday workshops, which I did for two years. I have also lectured for Economics and Business Educators (EBE) as a result of an article on WorkChoices I wrote for EdAssist. I enjoy doing all this. But the time!
For the last six and a bit years I have been teaching at Northern Beaches Christian School. It is quite a ride. Once I muddled my way through first year blues I now find the classroom quite an enjoyable and exciting place. I’m not great at differentiation but I do see students as individuals and treat them as such in my relationship with them, just less so in the teaching process. I think my passion for teaching and most of the subject matter is contagious and my students generally like class as much as I do. They also love going on journeys with me learning new ways of learning.
I also do a lot of online teaching. I think it is very suitable for Commerce and Business Studies but HSC Economics I still wonder about. This year I have some very enthusiastic Economics students but personal interaction is necessary so I have Skyped with one and driven to Scone for another. Workshops are too far apart and not always convenient for the students. My school is very gung-ho with technology and mostly I am on board. We have an institution as part of our school called Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL) which is constantly looking for new ways to educate better. I don’t always agree with some of the decisions our Principal makes, such as our focus on Matrix learning in the middle years and teaching students en masse, a lot of the time with several classes in the one large space. I’m not fond of that level of clashing noise.
What I’m currently keen on to do through SCIL is collaborating with other schools in my area, sharing ideas and producing quality resources, preferably online. For instance, I’d like to develop a focus study on social networks for the Popular Culture topic in Society and Culture. I think it would benefit from lots of input from a variety of people, not just teachers. The problem is, I’m having trouble finding Society and Culture teachers on Twitter. My next step will be to talk with people in the Society and Culture Association, via email or, heaven forbid, phone (so old-school).
I love to read, both for pleasure and to keep up with current events. I have about 40 unopened Sydney Morning Heralds in my lounge room and 100 unread emails from the New York Times, Crikey and The Punch in my inbox. In my bedroom I have dozens of books waiting for me to read them, goodness knows when.
I also have two gorgeous children, a supportive husband and a dog. I am trying to lose weight and become fit through Fernwood and a personal trainer there. I attend Turramurra Uniting Church and meet with friends from there a lot less frequently than I would like. I used to volunteer as a Youth Group leader but as a teacher by Friday night I am simply too sapped of energy. I still haven’t completed my tax return from last year, embarrassing as an ex-accountant. I have a small group of friends who I neglect too much. Some of them I stay in touch with via Facebook. I enjoy tennis, wine, restaurants, movies, classical music, opera and theatre but don’t have enough time or money for all that I want.
I dream of living on a bit of land in the Southern Highlands with high ceilings and an open fire place with cups of tea and just writing the days away. But I also know I will continue to be tugged by all my interests. And I’d miss the classroom. I plan to teach for another 6-8 years, which is when my children are due to complete their schooling, and then reassess. However, I don’t think I can keep up the current pace for that long.
I need to give some of my interests away. But what?
I know exactly these pulls Shani! I am also studying off campus at Deakin – I am doing my Masters in Education – should actually be reading about Educational leadership and administration right now – ahem! I am also diving straight back in after I complete this Masters and doing a masters of Arts too. How is Deakinn for this? I have been very impressed with this degree thus far – so will probably stick with Deakin again! I have been thinking a lot about the pulls in my life too. I am very much enjoying my simple flirtations with digital photography – and really want a better camera. I have also joined a gym as part of my school’s healthy staff promotion – very eager to lose some very excess weight!
My husband is pretty darn good too – and my children? Three but only youngest living with me at the moment – split family and all that…he can be…well – meh! But only sometimes! 🙂
Here’s to us finding what pulls our focus will be what we want it to be!