Life before Girton
I lived, studied and worked in Melbourne. My Matriculation was followed by a Traineeship at the State Electricity Commission. I studied accounting while working. I received a scholarship from the SEC to do a Commerce Degree. I had developed a real social conscience at this stage and left employment to do teacher training at Deakin University; a three year Arts Degree followed by an Education Diploma. I intended to teach Accounting and Law but I read James Joyce and was converted. The power of “Ulysses” and “Finnegan’s Wake” has stayed with me and cradled my delight with language. I taught English at Bendigo Senior Secondary College for 26 years. I had four principals in that time. I thought I would never find a boss as impressive as Ron Lake but I was wrong. I have experienced the two best bosses here at Girton.
What I Love about Teaching
The backbone of Girton is its obsession with excellence and its Christian values. I know of secular schools where secular values are constantly up for debate. The Girton code of “righteousness”, derived from the Gospels, spreads into everything we do. I love that. Our expectations for uniform and manners go back to that. I love that. Elsewhere the code is “respect people who deserve respect”. I hate that. It gives permission to not give respect to parents, teachers and police.
What do you like best about the subject/s you teach?
The power of reading, writing, speaking and listening can empower everyone. Communication skills in all dimensions enhance knowledge, skills and relationships. The experiencing of quality literature can offer everybody pearls of aesthetics, wonderment, intrigue, fascination and empathy. We can be awakened in our real world and our metaphysical one. This is a celebration.
My favourite classroom activity
It involves the use of two lessons. The first is to create small teams which script and rehearse a small play on a given topic that will be eccentric and defy logic. For the second lesson the students have learned the script and will perform for the other groups. Each absurd small play works beyond expectations. The outcomes are: teamwork; presentation skills; listening skills; creative thinking; creative writing; concentration to learn lines; motivation and engagement. “Sir, can we do that again on another day?”
What difference can good teaching make?
Guidance, wisdom, support, empowerment, fine-tuning the pathway to excellence. “Excellence” means guiding students to maximise their potential as a career-oriented person as well as build the whole positive person. Teachers are part of the mix. Teachers enhance skills, knowledge self-awareness, resiliency, social skilling, happiness and the feeling of safety and security. Families do the same. We are all on the same page.
The Tournament of Minds international program for problem solving and creative presentation embodies in the purest most condensed form the principle of effective learning and improvement. I believe in it totally and I am actively involved. Girton’s excellence in the Performing Arts is quite overwhelming. I believe that being involved in those activities significant and meaningful.
My interests are in the performing arts and all of my family is heavily involved in the Bendigo Eisteddfod. I love, LOVE music and film. My music taste is current r’n’b. My film taste is at the quality end that is normally acknowledged with Oscars. My favourite film of all time is “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. My favourite TV show is “Insiders”. My favourie CD is David Bowie’s boxed set. (He’s pretty good for an old man.)