What is your current level of experience in education and current position?
I started my career in education the year after I finished high school when I worked for a year completing a traineeship in childcare during 2010. Throughout this traineeship I decided that childcare was not where my passion was and enrolled in a teaching degree. I began teaching in 2016. Since beginning teaching it is clear to me that teaching is definitely for me and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I have been lucky enough to gain experience in a variety of different roles since 2016. In my first year of teaching I led learning support in my school this was such a rewarding role! I was able to work one on one and in small group environments to assist those students who required extra support. Throughout that year I also dabbled in a librarian role, aboriginal education and relief teaching.
In 2017, I was on a year 2 class in an open classroom in a team teaching environment. This was a fantastic experience, one where I would form such a special friendship with my team teaching partner who is now my best friend. It was such a rewarding, fun and colourful learning environment! We had so many different personalities in our classroom which meant there was never a boring or dull day throughout the year.
This year I have moved to a new school and am teaching a multi-cat class within a support unit. It truly has been such a fantastic experience and I have loved every minute of it from the amazing days to the not so amazing days. I have learnt so much this year and since beginning teaching it has certainly had its challenges but I have loved every minute of it!
As a teacher I don’t feel as though I am tied down to any particular year group or role within a school. I am looking forward to see what my future within teaching holds for me!
What do you love most about teaching?
The little steps you see your students making to reach their goals and how excited they get when they reach their benchmarks that they have set for themselves along with myself and their parents. The relationships that you make with students both within your class and within your school environment are also one of the things I love most about teaching. Your students even when you move to a different school or swap teachers will always hold a special place in your heart and be considered ‘your kids’!
How do you define success as a teacher?
Seeing your students engaged in their learning and enjoying coming to school every day no matter what is going on in their lives. Watching them grow as individuals and reaching their goals no matter how many small steps it takes to get there, they are still excited and proud of themselves with each achievement.
Which area do you believe teacher's need the most development, why?
If I am thinking of myself definitely finding ways to make their jobs easier and not reinventing the wheel. I find myself thinking of new things I could do to better my teaching or classroom environment, resulting in making more work for myself therefore adding onto the stress of a career which is already time consuming enough. This also leads into time management which is also something I struggle with.
If we walked into your classroom on a regular day what would we see?
My classroom is a welcoming environment that encourages mistakes and questions as they are both things that assist us in becoming lifelong learners. My classroom allows for students to have choice and be an integral part of our classroom. So as much as I would like to say it would be at an appropriate voice level, all students on task and a completely calm teacher at the front of the classroom I would be lying. We have fun, we make mess and we may be a little bit loud at times but we are working hard and reaching our goals to help us to be better learners throughout our learning journey.
What are you most passionate about?
Creating a learning environment that encompasses engagement, colour, happiness and celebration for my students. My mind is always ticking about ways to present my classroom and ways in which I can improve it to better suit the needs of my students and anyone who comes into my classroom.
How would you raise a child's self-esteem and aspirations?
This is an issue which is a daily occurrence within my classroom. I have students that are on a variety of different levels and some of them regularly compare themselves to each other. Building self-esteem can at times be very difficult and rather draining. But, you need to remember that there is a student who needs the regular positive talk to encourage them in reaching their goals and they’re depending on you to help them get there. It is vital to celebrate the small achievements that your students make as it will build up their self-esteem to assist them in believing that they can achieve their goals and aspirations. Positive self talk and feedback should be given instantly and appropriately without being over the top and unnecessary. These small celebrations will allow them to feel a sense of achievement throughout their learning and continue to work hard to build their self-esteem!
What strategies do you use to manage stress?
This is probably one of my biggest downfalls. As I mentioned before I hold my classroom presentation in the forefront of my mind and I am constantly thinking of ways to improve it. At times this can mean making more work for myself which is just unnecessary. Despite this work has also been a blessing in disguise over the last few months as I needed the distraction. I try to manage stress as best I can but I find talking with my family and co-workers allows me to feel better in myself and know that if it doesn’t get done right then and there, it will be ok and it doesn’t change the fact that I am a good teacher and my students are reaching their goals.
What after-school or extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
I am not currently involved in any after-school programs, however at my previous school I collaboratively led a construction club and a gardening club. I currently lead a Lego club within my current school which is very similar to construction club. These extra-curricular activities provide opportunities for students to form friendships that they wouldn’t normally form within the playground.
How do you find a work-life balance?
Along with stress this is something I struggle with. I try my best but it is definitely something that I find really difficult. I find surrounding myself with people who have similar interests as me really helps. I always find spending time with my cavoodle puppy, Ollie really helps me work towards finding this balance.
How would you deal with an angry parent who is unreasonable?
One thing that I have always attempted to escape is confrontation. I have hated this since as long as I can remember. I am always finding myself attempting to always make everyone around me happy to avoid something potentially going wrong. I feel as though the best thing that I could do is listen. I would need to hear them out and show understanding towards how they’re feeling. Depending on their emotions I will hear them out and I would organise a meeting with my supervisor/principal to assist in solving the problem. I am lucky to have a very supportive leadership team within my school and I feel as though they would be the best people to assist me in assisting the parent.
Do you have any hobbies or talents?
I have always loved photography so I really do love sharing and posting on Instagram! I also love making and creating things which generally end up going into my classroom but also for personal use.
Aside from teaching related things I love travelling, spending time with friends and family and my puppy Ollie! In terms of talents, I am not really sure I guess you could say that I am pretty good with using computers and making different things with programs like Word or PowerPoint!
What would you love to see Smile Teachers do more of?
I think everything that is happening with Smile Teacher is fantastic! I think it would be beneficial to provide teachers especially beginning teachers with resources on ways to find that work-life balance and managing everything that comes with the role of being a teacher. I know I would certainly find that useful!
Find out more from this great teacher on Instagram @teachingwithcrayonsandsparkles
Did you know we have a Bali Teachers Retreat this January... we would love you to join us!