Mr Sam a’Beckett


Mr Sam a'Beckett

Head of Millward House, Teacher of English and English Language

Life before Girton

I grew up on a farm near Tumbarumba in New South Wales. I attended Geelong Grammar School as a boarder and then the University of Melbourne where I completed Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Teaching and Master of Education degrees. My teaching experience includes Brighton Grammar School, Bryanston School in the UK, Scotch College (Head of School House) and Catholic College Bendigo (Senior Leader). Shortly after the birth of our third child, we decided to move to Bendigo, where my wife Paula grew up. I joined Girton in 2013 and am currently Head of Millward House.

What I Love about Teaching

Working every day with young people is never dull! I enjoy the variety of experiences every day, as well as the opportunity to see students challenged and participating in co-curricular activities and camps which all help to build character. Girton is a wonderful place to work. The culture of excellence, performance and community involvement creates a stimulating and rewarding teaching environment.

What do you like best about the subject you teach?

My majors were English and History at University, and I have always enjoyed reading. Teaching and sharing with students some of the great works of literature in English is a real pleasure. I came to English Language whilst at Scotch College and linguistics is quite a different field, requiring different skills. I can’t really decide which one I prefer to teach! Both present opportunities for engaging class discussion which is where much fruitful learning occurs.

My favourite classroom activity

VCE students benefit from the opportunity to speak to each other about their specific subject areas. Providing guided opportunities for students to think and share their opinions with others before sharing with the whole class always generates interesting ideas and encourages students to develop their own opinions about various texts and topics. I also enjoy having students mark a cross on the board indicating their position on an issue. No fence sitting allowed!

What difference can good teaching make?

Good teaching for me is about good relationships. It is also about striking a balance between making a student feel welcome and safe enough to make mistakes, whilst also challenging them and pushing them out of their comfort zone. Successful students feed off the passion displayed by good teaching.

Successful English and English Language students are those who develop an interest in a particular area of the course and go beyond what is set by the teacher each week. A regular homework and study routine is critical. Students benefit from my deep understanding of the subject matter and also my enthusiasm for it.
As well as being Head of Millward House, I manage a Volleyball team which includes attending the State and National Championships. I also run GirtOnline, a student group which meets weekly to discuss recent trends in social media and other online activity. I have also been on the Year 9 Camp for the last two years.

On a Wednesday in the warmer months I love playing Tennis at Spring Gully, and I keep a careful eye on the fortunes of the Geelong Cats.