My first subject is well deserving of being the first person interviewed for the series. Her name is Megan Dredge and she is a tremendous presenter, educator, and trainer from Australia. As stated on her website (megandredge.com) her passion is to "place resources in the hands of principals, school leadership and teachers, so that they educate and communicate better than ever before." (Part 2 of this interview will follow next week)
*Why did you become an educator?
My mom first inspired me to become an educator. She was an elementary school teacher and I was so inspired by the way that she built relationships with her students. I was also inspired by the way that she related so well to other staff members and her boss, the principal. That is my first memory of thinking that I would like to become a teacher.
My second defining moment came in grade six. We had a tutoring system in my school in Australia where I had a “buddy” in kindergarten. I remember coming up with lessons for her to help her learn and it showed me that it was something that I could do well.
My third defining moment came in the realization that by teaching I had this incredible privilege to influence a young life and I felt like I could do a good job of that. I have always taken that responsibility seriously that every time I walk into a class, I have an opportunity to influence them. I want to make sure it is a positive one.
*What is your best advice for new teachers?
I've got 2 things: First, be true to you. I so often see teachers bending themselves out of shape to be like someone else. They try to either be like a teacher that they had or like the teacher that they think they are supposed to be. This is always unsuccessful because you cannot maintain being like someone else for a long period of time. Authenticity is attractive. Being comfortable with who you are as a teacher is essential.
My second piece of advice for new teachers is to have daily reflection. This means taking time every single day to reflect on what happened that day and learn from it. This practice is one of the most effective ways that you can learn as a teacher. Most teachers think they are just too busy to do this at first, but you have to make time. The gold that you will get out of five or ten minutes of reflection on a daily basis is invaluable. You learn from both positive and negative experiences. When you reflect on the negative things that happen during the day, you turn them into a positive. I talk a lot about this on my blog. I have a lot of information on my site about what kind of questions you can ask yourself and how you can learn from your mistakes (click here to see her beginning teacher resources sections on her website).
*Who inspired you the most in the education field and why?
I do a seminar on this actually and I can remember my year six teacher. He is my absolute inspiration as a teacher. The way he treated us, the way he believed in his students wholeheartedly regardless of their behavior, their academic ability, their socioeconomic status, etc. He believed in students regardless. He treated students equally and he was incredibly consistent. He really maintained accountability with us and followed through on his expectations.
The other person who inspired me was my PhD supervisor. She continued to inspire me when I was working with her. Even after years of teaching and being a principal, she has remained passionate over time. That is absolutely inspirational to me.
(find Megan on Twitter @_TeachersCoach)
(part II continued next week!)
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