I have always considered myself an educator, even though I don’t currently work in a school. At present I have taken the leap into the great unknown world of selling myself to interesting and powerful projects that stimulate my passion for learning, innovation, design, and great educational opportunities – via the crew at NoTosh. Here’s a quick summary of how I got here –
In 1996, fresh out of my second University degree, I began teaching at various schools in central London. Talk about a baptism of fire. Incredible stories of survival, hardship, and violence – and that was just me in the classroom. I lasted 9 months. After having travelled most of the UK, Europe, and across America, I ended up back in Melbourne at a Catholic school in Dandenong. This time I lasted 6 months. The pull and power of travelling and learning was too strong. I stuck my finger into a map and ended up heading to Japan. There I worked for two years with Nova Group as an English Teacher, as well as one of their Kids Teachers. They were some incredible times – many of them shaping who I am and what I love today.
Returning to Melbourne in 2000 I secured work with Eltham College as an English and History Teacher (and a hockey coach). Very quickly I found myself working at their Year 9 City Campus, and within 6 months I was running the place as the Campus Coordinator – no kidding: I looked after staffing, teaching, parent relations, the building facilities, visitors, budgets, and helped shape the philosophy and curriculum. Over nearly 7 years I rode the roller coaster of highs and lows in expanding the program with a great team working with this amazing age group – who were too old to be children, too young to be adults.
Time took its toll, and I had to bail. I had become a drained, exhausted, and often grumpy teacher – getting called in to deal with building alarms at 2am will do that to you; and having kids of your own. In 2007 I looked to expand beyond mainstream education, and found contracts with Nous Group, Victoria University, and the State Library of Victoria. By 2008, work at the Library had picked up significantly and I felt I had found a niche.
Over nearly 7 years at the State Library of Victoria, with a key role as the Education Manager, I expanded my experience in developing education and learning initiatives for a wider range of audiences, and a wider range of programs. From video games, to films, to conferences, to interviews, to travelling programs, to web resources, to web courses, and social media; and of course working with some of the most amazing collections in the country. Over that time I have grown amazing networks, made new partnerships, and developed plenty of fresh perspectives.
The next evolution began early in 2014, when I joined the team at NoTosh, a small and incredibly talented firm ‘daring us all to design brighter learning futures’. Taking design thinking to the next natural evolution into education has been a wild and eye-opening ride. It has offered the opportunity to take the insights and experiences above, distil them through the lense of design thinking, and transition that strength into helping educators from schools, organisations, and institutions see powerful ways to make their ideas empower young people.
My passion is to improve education of all ages, growing connections between the disengaged and the disconnected through helping networks to work collaboratively. I’m blogging about finding the energy and balance to make life exciting and fulfilling, by taking opportunities for serendipity, humility, sagacity and adventure. This is life’s never ending transtion: moving, stepping, and sliding in life. These are thoughts on movement.