Ms Anita McLean

Anita MCLEANLife before Girton

I have a Diploma of Early Childhood Teaching from The University of Melbourne. I then completed a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood (Management and Supervision) also from The University of Melbourne. I have worked as a Kindergarten Director in stand-alone pre-schools in Wodonga, Corryong and Colac. I held the position of Centre Director which oversaw the transition of child care in Apollo Bay from occasional care in an old Church to a 40 place purpose built Long Day care centre. I have had two semesters as an Associate Lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Albury. I conducted weekly lectures and tute groups for students about to commence their first practicum placement in their Teaching Degree.

What I Love about Teaching

Two aspects of teaching I take absolute delight in are:

  1. The ‘a-ha’ moments for students. When you are able to assist in and be there for a student making a connection between your teaching and their learning.
  2.  Relationships. Be they student/teacher, teacher/parent, collegiate or any amalgam of the previously mentioned.

Girton offers staff scope to further their professional development. You are continually challenged to remain at the cutting edge of current pedagogical research. Unashamedly high expectations for students are reflected in the same exacting standards for staff. Collegiality is key. I feel a genuine sense of excitement to see my colleagues at the start of each Term!

What do you like best about the subject/s you teach?

I love to convey the orthographic, morphological and etymological reasons behind the words which follow ‘no apparent’ pattern, to the students. I love the historical content of language. I love the blur between time and culture with regard to the language we speak. Being able to share the spelling ‘rules’ and reasons why there are exceptions is challenging, but necessary for students to have context for spelling attempts.

What do you like best about the year level you teach?

The children who attend my Literacy lessons range in age from 6 years to 10 years. It is wonderful to be able to teach to the differing developmental levels. Early years Literacy commences with phonemic awareness. Developing sound links between phoneme and grapheme correspondence is vital. Correct terminology is always used with the children. Middle years often require assistance with story composition and content. Students respond to having lessons which assist them to plan and sequence their ideas logically and systematically. Maintaining enthusiasm for conveying their ideas in written form is enhanced immeasurably by digital technology. Speech-to-text apps can be the buy-in needed for reluctant writers.

My favourite classroom activity

It isn’t possible to list one. The children enjoy every opportunity to ‘play games’ in LRC. Games which assist with auditory processing, working memory, using blends when spelling and reading combined with many other activities. Recognising non-decodable high frequency words is played by using specially made Snap cards. Alternately, having a discussion day or researching on the mini iPads comprise the lesson. I also enjoy utelising the Orton-Gillingham method in spelling for visual, spatial and kinaesthetic learners.

What difference can good teaching make?

Children thrive when supported and nurtured. A teacher who is able to hone in on a child’s preferred learning style can see them excel in ways they had previous felt they were not able. A child who feels valued and supported, builds on their self worth and confidence. Good teaching explicitly coaches a child to believe in themselves and keep preserving to be the best they can be.

Other Hats

I have been involved in Netball as my co-curricular activity. I act as a team manager for girls in both Senior and Junior School. I attend Golden City courts on Saturdays and thoroughly enjoy the manner in which Girton teams conduct themselves. Involvement with parents; as they excitedly support their children is a welcome addition to the team manager role. I am a mother of four children. I have the eldest two daughters are completing Year 11 and Year 12. I have a daughter in Year 9 and a son in Year 5. I am in continual motion as I ferry them to their various employment and sporting commitments. I love multi-cultural Melbourne and many weekends we find ourselves in Richmond enjoying Pho.