Meet a teacher who loves dressing the part and teaching art!
SMILE Teachers is a community of inspiring and powerful teachers and educators.
Each week we aim to share the journey of inspiring teachers and leaders who can provide value and energy to education and help other teacher's to "be happy and teach well".
Here we present many different stories, experiences and recommendations from our favourite people. Any teachers who are willing to share their skills and knowledge and give back to the teaching community, please get in contact to contribute.
Health and well being professionals, medical experts, psychologist, athletes etc. are also going to feature in our material to help strengthen our community of amazing teachers.
This will help us all become better connected and supportive of one another in the career we love so much.
Teachers who love teaching. Teach children to love learning.
This week we have the pleasure of celebrating one of the most delightful, passionate and exemplary teachers.
Miss Hannah Gerling is an outstanding primary teacher who’s flamboyant outfits match who positive energy and commitment to inspiring her students to love learning.
Hannah has been so kind as to share her teaching journey with SMILE Teachers this week.
To learn more about Hannah, her amazing classroom fashion and teaching ideas.
Find her on Instagram @missgirlingsclassroom
Miss Hannah Girling
Aka: Rainbow Wonder Woman
Year 5 Classroom Teacher
Four years teaching experience
Perth, Western Australia
What she loves most about her career:
“The kids! The kids make it all worth it, they are why I go to school each and every morning! Building those positive relationships and watching them succeed and grow in confidence - it's my favourite!”
How she creates a positive learning environment for her class:
“I love having a bright and cheery classroom at the start of the year. However, I try not to do it all because I think it's important that my students have input into how our classroom looks and feels, as it's their classroom too!”
“In the first few weeks, we really work on classroom rules and expectations so my students have a clear understanding of what I want and expect from them. It's vital that the classroom is a safe space for my students to be themselves and work to the best of their ability, with no fear that they will be mistreated.”
Hannah’s most rewarding teaching experience:
“I taught an awesome group of kids in Year 3 in 2015 - they were my very first class and were (and still are!) very special to me!
When the classes were announced for the 2017 school year at the end of 2016, I'll never forget how excited and happy those kids were to be back in my class, as I was moving to Year 5. It was such a nice feeling, I really felt that I had made a positive difference and impact and it really hit home how important it is to build strong relationships with my students!
It made me realise I must have done something right. I've also loved those moments when a student has managed to succeed at something they were convinced they couldn't do. Seeing that look of elation and self-belief is so special!”
If you could deliver a lesson on any topic or theme, what would the lesson entail?
"I love teaching Art! I love giving my students an opportunity to be creative and try things they may not have done before. Every year I have students who have decided that they hate Art and think that they aren't good at it, but then realise that they actually can do it and do it well!"
If Hannah was given the power to change one thing about education. She would change the level of respect for teachers.
“I would love for their to be more respect for teachers. I hate hearing that teachers are 'glorified babysitters' and anyone could do what we do. I personally think it takes a special kind of person to be a teacher!”
“Too many people don't realise all of the other stuff that we do when we aren't face-to-face with our students, such as writing individualised learning plans, meetings, entering data, moderating with colleagues, marking, lesson preparation, term and year planning... the list goes on!”
“I think a lot of people also don't realise the things we have to deal with when we are with our students. Catering for all of the different learning needs and particular behaviours whilst engaging our learners is not easy.”
How do you manage your stress level and maintain positive well-being?
"It's something I am still struggling with. I get to work quite early and leave quite late, but I also live 45 minutes away from work. I don't have time in the morning and I'm too tired in the evening. I am working on being more efficient when I am at work so I can leave earlier and do something I like or go to the gym".
SMILE Teacher's understands Hannah isn’t the only one who feels this way and she is right, we all want to feel better and have more time to look after ourselves by doing things like going to the gym and exercising.
Teacher’s are all faced with the constraints of time and a constant overloading of work and stress, it was fantastic to see that Hannah has the awareness to work on these things and as a community of teachers, SMILE Teachers is here to help with challenges like this.
It is important in any career, that we have hobbies and interests outside of work. These outlets are essential to your personal care and can significantly improve your creativity, motivation and ability to get into flow.
Hobbies and Interests:
Hannah loves enjoying danced-based fitness such as Zumba, and also really likes singing. She is currently seeking a choir with similar aged people! If you have any recommendations please contact us.
We asked Hannah a question that always comes up for most of us, but we believe it is an important reflective practice that can help give us all some clarity and guidance.
Describe one piece of advice you would give your former self before starting your career in education?
To not be so hard on myself. I am a perfectionist at times and I'm my worst critic. I often place way too much pressure on myself and I found that really hard in my first year of teaching, when I was still finding my feet.
In our programs at SMILE Teachers we educate and empower teachers to adopt a creative mindset and benefit mindset, which requires Positive Intelligence. Part of this process involves conquering your self-saboteurs, Hannah is describing a number of them here. These appear from time to time for all teachers, but the good news is we have the SMILE Mindset Maneuver to help you conquer them.
What are you most excited for the remainder of the 2018 school year?
We have an awesome Art excursion coming up in a few weeks and I always love the athletics carnival! I am pretty rubbish at any sort of athletics carnival event, but I love encouraging faction/house spirit and getting behind my team! I always dress up and it's always fun!
We are sure Miss Gerling will be well dressed and full of vibrant colour at the upcoming events. Teacher’s have so many options to get more involved with school community and it is encouraging to see the effort Hannah goes to too bring joy and happiness into others lives.
It is important for teachers to get excited and look forward to enjoyable events coming up, sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in the tasks we don’t find pleasant or enjoyable and this can make us feel challenges and stressed. By focusing on the positive things to come it helps us teach more freely and get into flow.
What are your strengths as a teacher?
"Hmm this is hard! I find it quite tricky to recognise things that I'm good at - something else I am trying to work on! I think I have a strong work ethic and I'll do everything I can for my students".
Just by reading this article we can all see the passion and love for teaching Miss Gerling has. Being able to recognise your strengths is often a challenge for people, but for anybody looking in it doesn’t take an Einstein to see how fortunate Hannah’s students and colleagues are to have a kind, creative and self-less teacher.
Is there any particular topic you would love to see delivered by SMILE Teachers?
Teacher mental health, how to work more efficiently etc.
Well buckle up Hannah, we have some powerful programs in the making. The Mindset Maneuver will be a one day workshop in Perth this September with Shaun and Greg, specifically focused on teacher’s mental health and teaching tools and strategies. The retreat in Bali this January will be a more intensive look at some of these topics and more, combined with relaxation and rest in a world class location and thirdly, we are building our online programs where teachers can access a whole range of free and paid resources.
We extend our deepest gratitude to Miss Girling for sharing her personal journey with us at SMILE Teachers.
If you would like to follow her journey please find her on Instagram @missgirlingsclassroom or you can hopefully catch her at some of our SMILE Teacher's events.
Subscribe today or find us on Facebook to join the community and hear about our upcoming events and programs.