Author of the Connecting Literacy series & co-author of VCE English and EAL
How long have you been in the education industry?
I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years and have taught in Victoria, New South Wales, England and India. Although I’ve mainly taught English, I have pretty much taught every subject from Information Tech and Maths to Drama, Sport and Dance. I started consulting shortly after having my first child, but have continued to tutor and run small group sessions with students, so the reality of what I’m asking teachers to do, I’m practising myself.
How have you noticed your teaching style change over the years? Why do you think this is?
You can’t change your personality, and so much of teaching is personality – so in one way I don’t think my ability to build relationships and put the individual in the foreground has changed. What has changed is my increased knowledge and experience. It is difficult to absorb research and pedagogical theory when you are studying teaching, but I feel like now – I read current research and just absorb it. I find it fascinating and want to see how I can continue to make informed choices for the students in front of me.
What is the importance to you of good educational resources?
A good resource can (and should) make a teacher’s life so much easier and teaching stronger. It can also build consistency across a school if a year level is using the same resource for example. That being said, a resource is only as good as the teacher using it, so teacher professional development and support to use resources effectively is vital to the true success of any education resource.
What has been your favourite part of writing an education resource?
To create a product that does everything I wanted a workbook to do as a teacher is so inspiring. To be able to draw together the research and my experience and consider how to translate that into a text that can make a true difference in the classroom … oh I’m definitely in my happy place bringing this together!
What is your favourite part of being a teacher?
For me it’s about the individual. Without any hyperbole, teaching literally can change a life and that is a privilege that I take seriously. I’ve had students I’ve taught, years later, run into me and tell me about how they used a particular lesson in their life, or others who have become teachers themselves. I recently had a student I ran into, who is now a teacher, who told me that I was literally the reason he didn’t drop out of Year 12. There aren’t too many things that could top a feeling like that!
What are three things people wouldn’t know about you?
During high school and university, I was involved in a lot of musical theatre around Hobart. I was never going to become a famous performer, but I do love the feeling of getting all dressed up and performing on stage! I find it difficult to slow down, so while on maternity leave the first time, I got my Certificate IV in Personal Training, the second time I got my Certificate IV in Massage Therapy, the final time I wrote, filmed and produced my first online course … I get bored easily!
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching (or writing)?
I enjoy running and going to the gym (I teach cycle classes a few times a week), playing with my kids (which is extensive when you have three boys!) and enjoying good food and wine (and gin!) with friends.
Who are three people, living or dead, you’d love to have dinner with?
William Van Cleave, Heath Ledger and my Nana (all for VERY different reasons and quite possibly not at the same time …).
What is your favourite book and why?
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail. It was a book I studied in first year university and it fascinated me. I read it again about 10 years later and it intrigued me even more. I’m definitely overdue to read it again …
Do you follow a sports team?
My husband follows enough sports that I don’t need to, but when I moved to Melbourne I realised I HAD to follow an AFL team, so on a whim I said ‘Melbourne’, therefore technically I’ve been following them for almost 20 years!