Speeding through parent-teacher night

Renee Gare
Renee

“I get 15 minutes to reassure parents, exhibit work samples, justify the choices I made as a professional, demonstrate my knowledge of the child’s strengths and weaknesses, make suggestions for ways to support the child’s emotional, social and academic development,” Sydney teacher Renee says of parent-teacher conferences.

“You can see how easy it can be for things to go belly-up. My epic fail tonight was showing the wrong student’s book to a parent, and realising my error halfway through the interview. Hey, both names started with W! I guess six interviews in a row was a really bad idea.”

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Rapport makes all the difference

Brenton
Brenton

“The difference between a good teacher and a great teacher is dedication and a willingness to give up your time to develop a rapport with students,” Pennant Hills teacher Brenton says.

“If you can make those connections and get kids to care, then students will be motivated to achieve their very best.”

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Take how you learned, and do the opposite

Andrew
Andrew

I model my teaching in exactly the opposite way I was taught, Wahroonga teacher Andrew writes.

When I was a student we were streamed based on ability, we sat silently in long rows and pedagogy rarely provided an opportunity for students to be creative and collaborative. There were some exceptions, such as in maths, and that teacher is now one of my colleagues.

But now as a teacher I want to ensure that I give students the skills and confidence required to achieve anything they want in their academic pursuits.

By setting goals incorporating high expectations and providing students with appropriate mentoring to achieve these goals, they can achieve extraordinary results. I rarely had that approach at school as it was generally a one size fits all model.

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Teaching teaches tolerance

Roxanne
Roxanne

“Becoming a teacher completely changes your perspective on community,” Central Coast teacher Roxanne says.

“I have seen this as young teachers mature in the workplace. I see teachers become less judgemental and more accepting of different types of people. By embracing the diversity within the community, a school can only become more successful.”

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The hardest thing about teaching

Eddie Woo
Eddie Woo

Early in my teaching career someone wise told me, ‘The best thing about teaching is that it matters. The hardest thing is that it matters every day’, maths teacher and Wootube guru Eddie Woo writes.

What I love about working in schools is that there is a human being at every desk. They’re around every corner, in every area of the playground, ready to be positively impacted by someone with the time and attention to just speak with them, see where they’re at and what’s going in their lives, and caring enough to help them take the next step to move toward their needs and goals.

It’s an extraordinary privilege and worth remembering each and every morning before you launch yourself out into the classroom.

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When students inspire teachers

Andrew
Andrew

What most people don’t realise is that students make as much of an impact on us as teachers as we make on them, Wahroonga teacher Andrew says.

Last year we had a group of students who met with me once a week to develop a whole school study skills project. So rather than me create a study skills program and bring it to the students, these young men developed the ideas, put the tutorials together, filmed it and integrated it across the entire school.

These amazing students built a legacy that has now been taken up by the new student leadership team. Programs like that show it’s a team effort, all started by one student saying, ‘I’ve got an idea!’

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The difference between good and great education

Roxanne
Roxanne

“The difference between a good school and a great school,” Central Coast teacher Roxanne says, “is one that recognises that students are different — and are willing to meet students at their point of need.

“Ultimately good schools don’t matter anywhere near as much as good teachers, teachers that go out of their way to connect to kids. And you will find great teachers in all schools.”

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When Dr Seuss brings you to tears

Terina
Terina

A few years ago, something happened to me in class that I will never, ever forget, Newcastle teacher Terina writes.

I work as a learning support teacher, working with children with learning difficulties, including ASD. I had a little group of nine-year-olds who hadn’t really caught onto reading it was so painful watching them struggle.

We worked with these kids for three terms and there was one little boy who was having a particularly hard time of it.

One day, out of nowhere he put up his hand in class, opened up his Dr Seuss book, looked at me and just started reading. Tears of joy were streaming down my face — I couldn’t help it! His face lit up with such a smile!

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