Content in this category evidences my ability to cover standard 4 of AITSL’s National Professional Standards for Teachers “create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments”. For each subcategory I will provide at least one example of how I achieve that standard.
4.1 Support student participation
I organise and run a biennial Literature Tour to actively engage students with a passion for literature. I take them to Melbourne, a UNESCO City of Literature, where we go to high quality theatre performances, the State Library, a range of activities at ACMI, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Immigration Museum, the Old Melbourne Goal, boutique book shops, and so much more.
Every year since 2001 I have encouraged student participation in the National Class Clowns competition. I have had grand finalists in 2006 and 2011, with Tom Matthews being the grand final winner in 2011. It is a fantastic competition where students are given the opportunity to develop and practise their stand up comedy skills. They get to workshop with a professional comedian (in SA we have had Damien Callinan, Monica Ballard, Mickey D, Asher Treleaven, Sammy J, Sam Simmons, Gordon Southern) and perform to a live and supportive audience.
When Year 12s enter and they are doing English Communications, I get them to use their work in Class Clowns as their Oral Language Application. It is such a brave thing to do, and they get to work with professionals, so there is plenty to reflect on and they always do extremely well in the English task.
4.2 Manage classroom activities
To foster middle school students to become readers and to experience literary satisfaction I get them to engage in silent reading once a week. They have a set lesson that they come to look forward to in which they read for at least 25 minutes in a space within the classroom (they are welcome to bring a rug, pillow, etc). We always follow with a conversation about the books we are all reading, and students are valued as thoughtful readers. It is important that students read in sustained blocks so that they can immerse themselves in the text and be emotionally transported (this is one of the keys for developing narrative empathy).
4.3 Manage challenging behaviour
I am clear with students about the behaviour and quality of work I expect from them. I am quick to deal with any issues, preferring to tackle issues firmly as soon as they arise rather than allow them to grow because I focus on the long term benefits to the student and the classroom environment. I am known as being ‘tough’, but find this minimal need for behaviour management and more focus on learning. I am also known as being a passionate teacher with a great deal of expertise, and the resulting respect also minimises the need for behaviour management.
4.4 Maintain student safety
I helped run a Girl’s Group focuses on supporting the wellbeing of female students in Year 9 whose emotional health was considered at risk. This involved sessions on key issues such as body image and on building resilience such as team building exercises on camps.
4.5 Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically
In Media Studies, as product work is submitted to competitions, it is vital all work is either original or proper permission is gained so that there are no breaches of copyright. This involves ensuring all work is either original, permission has been gained, or licenses have been bought.