I am a reflective practitioner of Teaching. I am never satisfied that I have produced something which should remain untouched. I believe that every piece of work produced for school is a living document. My belief is based on the understanding that every cohort coming through the school is different to previous cohorts and that they, therefore, have different interests and need different materials, testing, scaffolding and support.
I also believe that I should take on board suggestions and criticism made regarding programs, their content and direction from my colleagues who, as practitioners of my craft teaching different students to me, experience different experiences and therefore are able to work collaboratively with me to produce our living documents. I have made many changes to programs as a result of the Registration process.
One particular example of my reflective practices is the development of the Faculty Website from its beginnings as a purely History site to its current life as the HSIE Faculty site.
Being a reflective practitioner of Teaching I am also aware of the influence my own social, cultural, religious and financial background has on my students and colleagues. At age 55 I have seen more than most colleagues in my Faculty and have wider experiences than most having worked in industry and teaching. I spent my formative years in the country but 30 years since in the city and have benefited from both influences. I can empathise with the expectations of the country and the city and, therefore, with our students who are a mix of both.
Although essentially white, anglo-saxon I firmly believe in a multicultural Australia and am proud to call Germans, Hungarian, Sri-Lankans, Indians, Chinese, South Africans and Japanese people "friends". I endeavour to ensure that this tolerance models my expectations of the students and the way I teach them.
In a Year 10 Australian History class we were recently talking about migrants and multiculturalism and, as I went around the room of 28 students we identified 37 different ethnic backgrounds from Indian to Scandinavian shared by the students, most of whom were only first or second generation Australians. The lesson expanded into a wide ranging discussion about our shared and individual backgrounds as a result of one student saying "I didn't know about that. Tell me how that happened" to her best friend of four years. I, too, contributed my diverse background having four grandparents from different backgrounds showing that I, too, am only a second generation Australian who loves Australia for what it has offered me and my extended family.
I take any opportunity offered to show the students the value of being a life-long learner and they are all aware that I left school early and returned to my studies at a later date. They often remark about my wide-ranging knowledge and I point out to them that that is part of my life-long learning - a trait encouraged in me by my parents, both self-made people - and that they, too, would benefit from being so.
Being able to stand back and assess the impact you have on your students and your colleagues is not easy but is essential and, although not always good at it, I believe it is an essential part of one's development to take on board criticisms and suggestions made for improvement.