Life before Girton
Student of Girton College, Flora Hill and BSSC. I played soccer (Colts), basketball (Surfies), cricket (Sandhurst), football (Kennington, Northern United), swam (Bendigo Swimming Club), sailboarded and Lifesaved (Jan Juc). In football I played for Carlton’s U/19s, Prahran (VFL) and modelled (Vivienne’s). I did Arts (Melbourne), a Master’s Degree (La Trobe), and a Dip. Ed. I managed the Pascoe Vale Pool and Blockbuster Video (Coburg, Footscray), was playing coach of Shepparton (1993 Premiers) and Tongala (1994). In 1996 I played for Ainslie (Premiers ACTAFL.) I was playing coach of Eaglehawk (1997). I taught at Carey Grammar School (1998 – 2002). I commenced at Girton in 2003.
What I Love about Teaching
The two best things about teaching are seeing students discover a truth in fiction and the gratitude that they display when they realise that they have ‘got it’. Teaching at Girton is so rewarding because the above moments happen so often. The School and the students who attend create an environment for learning where these types of epiphanies are a daily occurrence. I am lucky to be a part of it.
What do you like best about the subject you teach?
English is a complex and sophisticated subject. The challenging aspect of English is its breadth of scope. Not only do I have the privilege of discussing and exploring rich, life changing ideas that are present in great writing, but I also need to teach students to be excellent writers. So, the students, when studying writing to be able to write, get to learn profound things about life, and about themselves: awesome!
My favourite classroom activity
Students enjoy knowing the answer: I enjoy asking them the right questions. I love close analysis of a text: examining social and historical context, themes and a writer’s style. I am also thrilled when I see a student who is engrossed in reading, who is learning from their reading. Facilitating a student’s creation of excellent creative writing is probably my favourite thing in teaching, closely followed by assessing an analytical text response essay where a student teaches me another way of interpreting and thinking about the text.
What difference can good teaching make?
If a student is a confident writer and speaker, they gain confidence as a person. They have the ability to communicate effectively, selectively and sensitively. This is an essential life skill that learning in English develops in every lesson. I enjoy teaching – interacting with students is fun and rewarding 99% of the time – but just as importantly, I love thinking deeply about meaning and understandings contained in literature. Communicating my passion for Literature and also imparting my knowledge of the craft of writing onto students is beneficial, as they come to understand the potential myriad of enrichment that is ‘English’.
I’m the Scale and Game and the Writers’ Group MIC. I also co-manager the Girton Bulls basketball team and help with the School Football matches. I’m also a pc gamer: I have always been a gamer and will be a gamer for life. I love reading, especially from the Fantasy genre, or historical fiction. I write poetry and have written two novels but have not tried to get anything published. I’m a family man with two children. I still play some cricket, although my children’s sports and interests now take precedence over my own sport.