Life before Girton
I left Ireland after completing a Joint Honours Degree in French and Spanish at Queens University Belfast. My degree involved spending 12 months in France working as an English Assistante in a High School as well as studying at a University in Spain during the summer months. Shortly after arriving in Australia, I enrolled in a Diploma of Education (Secondary) at Newcastle University, NSW. Before commencing at Girton in 2015, I worked at various schools including Sacred Heart Kyneton, Gisborne Secondary College and Mowbray College. In addition I worked for a short time at VUT teaching E.S.L to Adults. For the last 20 years I have been teaching French at Braemar College in Woodend where I was Head of Languages.
What I Love about Teaching
I love being in a classroom and sharing my knowledge and passion for French with students. Opening their eyes to another culture they gain a better understanding of a culture different to their own. I enjoy watching their ability and confidence in the language grow and thrive when they come to class hungry and eager to learn more.
What I Love About Teaching French
French is such a beautiful language to listen to and to speak but it can take many years to master. Being enthusiastic about teaching helps to create an environment where students can gain the greatest benefit from their exposure to things French. A particular joy of mine is to learn of students who have been able to apply their language skills when they travel, host an exchange student from France or who are fortunate enough to themselves go on an exchange to France or a French speaking nation.
My Favourite Classroom activity
Students enjoy doing role-plays in French classes. Working with a partner, exploring different ways of communicating, students are keen to learn and will often expand and experiment with their use of language. Doing oral work means each student has to be prepared to step outside their comfort zone, slip out of their “Aussie” shoes and try on some French shoes! These role-plays often create memorable moments for the students directly involved, for those who observe and for me as the teacher.
What Difference Can Good Teaching Make?
A successful student in French can become a person more willing to accept future challenges, to feel good about applying the time and effort required to achieve goals. Having a good teacher can achieve much more than the learning of the language. Through providing a positive and supportive learning environment the student appreciates the importance of such qualities of life outside school. I love what I teach and I hope my love and passion for French is carried across in the classroom. I like to have fun when delivering the curriculum and I hope the students also have fun while learning.
Outside the classroom, I love playing in the garden. After being in a classroom it is so rewarding to spend time out in the fresh air getting my hands dirty. Sometimes we do not always see results for our work in a classroom, but usually you can see some visible evidence of time spent in a garden. I also like spending time with family, travelling, watching French movies, reading, listening to music and eating chocolate!