My journey as an educator began as a young child as a volunteer, with my mother, for the Red Cross. Together we spent time with many physically and intellectually challenged young children and I learnt what worked for one young person didn’t work for another. I watched her nurture and encourage each individual child building their capacity to be independent learners. I saw how eagerly these children greeted her each week and how much her positive, attentive engagement brought to their lives.
My own school life was speckled with memories of the teachers that spoke to me, imprinting on my mind and heart; that I was born to fly upwards (per volar sunata). I have been guided by this school motto and the compassion of my mother throughout my professional career and believe that each and every child should be offered that same opportunity to soar. I pursued a role as an educator in both the public and private school sectors across Australia, within the classroom and with external roles training teachers, designing and writing curriculum for educational learning institutions and as a consultant designing, writing and facilitating programs of learning for gifted students.
Recognising my own gifts and actively looking for the gifts in my students offered a release to pursue freedom from rigid expectations, the ‘right’ approach and the focus on ‘correctness’. This led me towards the conceptual understandings of independence, learning power, curiosity and creativity. I challenged myself to bring to my students a program that was unique to their learning environment, a program of learning that enabled a creative approach to the ‘right’ answer where more than one answer could be ‘right’ even within the mathematical realm.
Michael Michalko’s thoughts on creativity have contributed to my own wonderment regarding my role as an educator; “Creativity is paradoxical. To create, a person must have knowledge but forget the knowledge, must see unexpected connections in things but not have a mental disorder, must work hard but spend time doing nothing as information incubates, must create many ideas yet most of them are useless, must look at the same thing as everyone else, yet see something different, must desire success but embrace failure, must be persistent but not stubborn, and must listen to experts but know how to disregard them.”
I am still on my journey. I wonder….
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