Cherrybrook Technology High School, NSW
Why did you apply for a commonwealth bank teaching award?
The primary practical reason is that I was nominated! I was keen to gain resources for my school and I also wanted mathematics educators to be represented on a national platform as an example of teaching excellence.
In the application, you wrote about how you’ve been transforming outcomes for your students. Tell us what you’ve been doing, and what the results have been.
I’ve continued creating learning resources for students and teachers on Wootube, and the reach of the channel has only accelerated over the past few months. The primary goal and effect of making these lessons available online has nothing to do with videos or technology, but everything to do with shifting learning culture to be autonomous and self-directed.
What has been the response of your students, school and community to you being named a commonwealth bank teaching awards fellow?
Broadly speaking, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The Fellowship is a wonderful emblem for the way in which Australian society is learning to value its educators, and the majority of students, teachers at my school and community members (such as parents and other educators I know through professional associations and university networks) have relayed to me that they feel tremendously proud of my achievements.
What has been the highlight of becoming a teaching fellow?
The highlight of becoming a Fellow has been the opportunity to engage with experienced and insightful school leaders and others in the education sphere. My conversations with them, and the way in which they have helped me to engage with and process the experience of Singapore, have challenged me in the way that I think about my role within Australian and global education. While the study tour to Singapore was an incredibly memorable experience, it is my ongoing relationships with these thought leaders that will make a long-term difference in the trajectory of my life and career for the next 20-30 years.
What advice would you give any teachers or school leaders thinking about applying this year?
My advice is: prepare to be challenged. Becoming a Fellow will push you to understand yourself and your role within education in a way that you likely never have before, and for many this will be an intensely uncomfortable experience. But we as educators need to take that step regardless of whether we feel personally inclined to do so. That’s because teachers need a national voice driven by those with firm values and convictions, a willingness to fundamentally question and innovate within the system we inhabit, and the skill to transform learning into practice in their unique context.