Seahorse (1&2) Whales (5&6) Teacher
What is your background?
I grew up here on the North Coast, studied at Southern Cross University and travelled for a few years before being fortunate enough to gain full-time employment here at BCPS in 2005. I now live in Lennox Head with my wife Kate and three kids; Evie, Willow and Hunter (who all attend BCPS) plus an odd assortment of chooks.
What do you remember best about primary school?
The school I went to was pretty rough and you were not encouraged to stand out at all. There was a lot of bullying in the playground, and in the classrooms. It was a very different type of experience to what the kids at BCPS are receiving. On the positive side, I remember going on some great excursions and having a particularly good music teacher.
What teaching qualifications do you have?
I hold a Bachelor of Education (primary) from Southern Cross University.
Where else have you worked and how has it shaped your general outlook and your approach to teaching children today?
I have worked in respite care for teenagers with severe autism, in youth hostels in Europe, as a builders’ labourer in the USA and as the room leader at a local Montessori Education Centre amongst other things. My time as a labourer in the Florida sun for six months taught me the value of getting a good education! My experience at the Montessori Centre taught me the importance of hands-on learning for young children, and that all students come to school with a wide range of skills and abilities. It also taught me about the influence of the physical learning environment, in terms of encouraging students to explore, create, ask questions and to enjoy learning. My classrooms will always incorporate things like nature tables, fish tanks, craft areas, science areas, book corners and so on which students are encouraged to explore and take responsibility for.
What are your main teaching and classroom philosophies?
Firstly, to treat all students, staff and parents with care and respect. Schools are a melting pot of different ideas, opinions, personal backgrounds, skills and abilities and I try to always remember that. I like to base my teaching approach on three basic rights – that we all have the right to feel safe, the right to feel happy and the right to learn at school. I like to get to know my students and build a strong rapport with them. I believe that the class environment should always allow for an element of student-directed learning, and I enjoy teaching Inquiry Based units of work where students are encouraged to ask their own questions and explore their own interests and passions.
Why do you enjoy teaching at BCPS?
I love the diversity of people that I get to talk to every day. I really enjoy the close connection we have as a small school, between staff, students and parents. I am fortunate to be able to see my own three kids at school every day. I love the community feel – BCPS really does feel like a big family.
What do you enjoy teaching the most?
Science, although it can be a high maintenance subject area in terms of preparation and mess!
What is your greatest achievement?
Raising three kids that I am very proud of every day, and being able to enjoy a balanced life in one of the world’s most beautiful places.
What aspirations still lie ahead of you?
I’d really like to set up a working Permaculture property one day. I’d also like to take some time out at some point, hook up our old 1979 caravan and see if it will make it around a lap of Australia.
What occupies your time outside school hours?
Family, surfing, gardening, fishing, camping, travelling, cooking and eating.
If you weren’t a primary teacher, how do you think you’d be spending your days?
With more time for all of the above! In terms of an alternative career, I have really enjoyed designing and building the houses we have lived in, so I would have to say architecture.