August 12

The Professional Me

I’ve been a teacher at Evans High School, Blacktown, since Term 2 2006.
From 2016 – 2013, my duties included:

  • English teacher, 7-12
  • 2IC of faculty
  • Head Teacher English (Relieving)
  • Year Advisor – 2008-2013, class of 2013, aka #TeamRodgers

I valued my time as a member of the English Faculty, and still consider them my professional family. I appreciated the opportunity to develop my leadership skills through working as 2IC in the faculty, and I still consider myself very much an English teacher – it makes me happy when students come in to work on tasks that belong to programs I was instrumental in implementing during my time in the Faculty.

From 2014, I have been working in our wonderful school library, working with staff and students to implement a shared vision of our space as innovative, engaging, and inspiring heart of the school. In my role as teacher librarian, I am proud of having achieved a great deal to improve the reading and learning culture of the Library@Evans, including:

  • creating of a Senior Study Room, in order to provide seniors with a space to access technology and Stage 6 specific resources
  • establishing of the Library Warriors Program, which allows students from across the school to participate in and contribute to the running of the library, including core decision-making activities for future developments
  • revitalising the learning space, with new furniture, comfortable couches and bean bags, and a more welcoming environment
  • significant weeding and refreshing of the fiction collection, in consultation with students, to ensure that student interest is met
  • significant refreshing of the non-fiction collection, in consultation with staff, to ensure that future curriculum needs of faculties are adequately catered for
  • creation of Quick Reads and Graphics collections, which cater for student interest, as well as meeting the reading needs of students with literacy issues and students with language backgrounds other than English (including our Intensive English Centre students)
  • liaising with the technology team to provide a bank of electronic devices, including chromebooks, ipads, and laptops, for student use
  • collaborating with students to develop a makerspace, which will provide myriad opportunities for students to create, collaborate, tinker and think.
  • implementing a series of student centred activities, including Breakfast Club, the KnitWits, Puzzle Time, and Homework Hub, which run either before school or during break times, to provide additional support and engagement opportunities for students
  • developing a Researching and Referencing Handbook, used by staff and students to ensure a consistency of referencing across the school, and to develop stronger academic rigor around research and information literacy skills
  • creating the Evans Festival of Stories – a week long celebration of the stories that surround us, that runs in conjunction with our Book Week celebrations.

There has been a dramatic and significant increase in student borrowing in the Library@Evans since 2014, and an increase in the level of student use of resources for study and research purposes. More importantly, though, there has been a strong shift in the culture of connection. The library is a vibrant and active place, with students often jockeying for position on the comfy couches or new bean bags, but -always- respecting those around them. Students with socialisation issues find a space to call their own, often alongside a large group of students who are quizzing each other on Chemistry, and another who are sharing strategy tips for PokemonGo or Clash of Clans. It’s a wonderful place to spend my day, and I’m extraordinarily proud of what we are continuing to achieve in this great space.

Alongside these achievements in my faculty and library, I have had numerous other professional opportunities during my time at Evans, including;

  • Technology team member
  • Drug Education Coordinator
  • Community of Schools team member
  • Welfare team member
  • Communications Officer
  • Social media officer

I have led in-school professional development on numerous topics, including;

  • photoshop for dummies
  • Web2 tools – animoto and extranormal
  • O365 and Google Apps for Education
  • Drug education strategies for staff
  • research and referencing skills
  • Oliver and the library
  • clickview for education
  • Project based learning

In addition to my professional involvement at a school level, I have a wide range of external professional achievements. These include:

  • conference presentations;
    • SouthWest Sydney Region ICT conference – Gaming in English (July 2013)
    • Keynote presentation, Cyberschools University of Queensland – Libraries and Social Media, a modern day love story (August 2015)
    • ICTE conference – Library Warriors and student engagement (March 2016)
    • WATL conference – The Library Story, and why it matters: social media, engaging spaces, and community connections. (September 2016)
  • other presentations;
    • numerous teachmeets, both in person and through Adobe Connect and SecondLife, on topics such as gaming in education, creating an engaging learning space, and social media for community connection
  • publications;
    • Library Warriors @ Evans. SLANSW Journal, Learning Hub 2015
    • Library Warriors and student engagement. WASLA Journal, ic3 2015
    • Oasis in the library – a work in progress. SLANSW Journal, Learning Hub, Volume 2, Autumn 2016
  • Highly accomplished ICT educator with PLANE – Professional Learning Anywhere, Anytime: A Network for Educators (2012-2014)
  • Positions as Vice President and Treasurer, School Library Association of NSW (2014 to present)
  • Regional Coordinator, Global Education Project (2013-2015)
  • Ambassador, Teach.NSW (2015 to present)
  • Consultation with DEC corporate communications team on social media in Education (ongoing)
  • Passion Incubator project member, EducationChangemakers (2016 ongoing)

I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten to include here, and to be honest this page serves more as a reminder to myself, for when I get around to doing my application for higher levels of accreditation and/or applying for a job. So, if you know me, and can think of something I have forgotten to include here, let me know!