Introducing one of the most colourful and exciting teachers in the education world! She has passion to burn, lots of incredible ideas and absolutely loves teaching. Smile Teachers we are proud to introduce another great WA teacher...
Miss Erin Broughton
Aka Crocodile Dundee
Colourful, charismatic and creative.
Loves: The Bachelor, Kmart and drawing.
What is your current role and level of experience?
I am in my third full year of teaching after finishing my ATP at my current school in 2015. I teach Year 1/2.
What do you love most about working in education?
Being somewhere that you are making a difference- feeling you’ve created a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for little minds for 6 hours a day. Even better when in that 6 hours you’ve been the reason a child has learned something or are comfortable enough to share and have a laugh with you- I don’t take myself to seriously when I’m with my kids.
*My Mum has a volunteer position as the state president for WACSSO (Western Australian State Schools Council Organisation) and so we relate on a new level now that I am in the education system.
If we were to walk into your classroom on a Monday morning, what would we see?
Organised, giggly chaos. The kids constantly check my book shelf to see what has changed or want tell me about their weekends as we get off on tangents as I try to set up their weekly focuses for English.
How is your school unique and what surprises you on most days?
One of my deputies constantly leaves little notes or chocolates in peoples pigeonholes. She hand makes cards as well as chocolate freckles and its so nice to receive them.
What things do you do to build strong positive relationships with your students?
Individually Honestly, I just take interest in what interests them as best as I can- especially being boy heavy each year. I’m big on my sports and about half of my boys have always played AusKick so I spend Friday afternoons outside of school watching them play at one of the local footy clubs and I attend medals night. Other boys I’ve had are more into Minecraft, soccer or drawing so I ensure I have books, stats or art hub for kids ideas that will interest them. Last year alone I based 2 themes on the ocean and mini beasts purely for 2 of my students. A lot of my girls do dancing or piano so I try to attend some of our local fetes to support them when they perform.
As a class I’m really big on developing a strong classroom culture and a team feel. We banish the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and only focus on language such as ‘smart, sensible and capable’ or ‘silly’ when making learning choices. We say ‘accidents happen because we’re all human’ and kids are encouraged to give verbal shoutouts which the class then repeat to reinforce the praise. I have open storage so kids have access to the books/ items they need and I always ensure we have a class set of supplies which the kids are free to use. I set my expectations with my class early and its worked every year as I emphasise the respect we need for each other as well as our learning. A lot of parents think I’m pretty strict when they first meet me as I set high expectations for my kids but I back myself and see their potential in meeting what we set out to achieve.
How can we better support teachers to do their job effectively?
I think we need to better equip teachers with strategies to manage their workloads and try to reduce/share them in any way they can be.
What has been your most rewarding teaching experience, please describe?
Helping quiet kids come out of their shells and learn to stay interested in learning. I see it each year in some of my year one students. I’ve never understood this as I’ve always being loud, talkative and engaged in my work but being in this profession highlights the array of mental health issues kids are coming to school with so young and how much this can effect their learning. Its those kids who are so nervous and unsure of their place in the big school that can often need us the most. I as the adult enjoy helping them find their voice and place as I feel this sets them up for the rest of their primary teaching. We are the difference between them enjoying school or not. This was reinforced by a parent who wrote me the sweetest card explaining that I had done this for their child and they now openly talk about keeping their learning going even when its not their favourite subject.
When the happiest teaching, what would you be doing?
I really enjoy teaching my kids maths and geography as I have created character voices in each subject. This engages them to learn and we end up being able to laugh at ourselves. They particularly love ‘Miss Maths’ who is French.
If you could make one change to the current education system, describe what it would be and why?
That’s hard… Each school is different but in talking to colleagues from my area and people who I’ve met in Perth- I think everyone is struggling to feel heard or supported by their admin to some degree. I think some kind of communications course so we know whats expected of us and also how to have better communication for and from colleagues/admin/parents.
How do you manage your stress level and maintain positive well-being to be happy and teach well?
I’m far from being good at this and its lead to a lot of changes in my body which I have had to work hard to be onto of from the inside out. I commit to gym classes a few times a week after work but am not harsh on myself if I only go to say 1 or 2. I also have an epsom salt bath twice a week and I really do not do a lot of work weekends or week nights as I have become smarter with my planning. I am conscious to drink a lot of water and eat regularly to avoid stress eating or not eating at all- I have always had issues with my skin and this is a big motivator to be better for my body. I set myself appointments in advance and regularly get my hair/nails done which means I have scheduled me time. I’m lucky to have a great network friends and extremely supportive partner. I make sure I see a friend one night a week- whether it be for a Kmart run, dinner or night in watching the Bachie.
What makes you unique?
I’ve been raised with my grandparents being a massive part of my life. I have a strong value for family with my Mum being an only child and being one of two. It comes through in my teaching with the way I view my students and their learning.I would describe myself with 3 F’s. Firm Fair and Fun.
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of teaching?
Sports- AFL at any level, Basketball, BBL, NFL ect going to the gym- I really enjoy group classes and boxing. Strolling through the 24hr K-Mart (as my nail place and kebab place are right next door). I enjoy watching my partner play footy as it gives me time to just sit still and not focus on work. Drawing/ planning and instagram. Going to cafes. I’m a Bachie tragic as well as loving my Netflix.
Describe one piece of advice you would give to your former self before becoming a teacher?
Accept that its going to be different to what university tells you, its okay to have no idea what each day holds and let the little things go. I made a lot of resources by hand and could have spent time doing other things.
What are you most excited for the remainder of the 2018 school year?
Celebration Night! Our whole school end of year year concert! Last year another grad and I organised the whole thing ourselves with the help of one of the year 6 teachers and guidance of the former music teacher and it was such a smooth night. It was food themed! This year as our school turns 50 it is ‘Through the Decades’ themed.
Is there any particular area you would love to see SMILE Teachers deliver for your school?
Stress and well being PL.
Meet more amazing teachers at our Bali Teachers Retreat this January! Click for more information.