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experience kid’ who has no idea what’s going on.” Meanwhile, for Davis, at Montmorency South Primary School, the buzz was around a new maths program introduced by Rob Vingerhoets, author of Maths on the Go. “We only had two PD sessions after school and that was enough to create a huge buzz around the school,” he says. “Everybody really wanted to tap into that inspiration and enthusiasm. It created a lot of energy and pizzazz. “We’ve restructured our maths programs a bit and made them more hands-on and authentic. The kids have been eating it up. Kids that hadn’t been putting their hands up before have been starting to do that, and going from easy answers to harder, more complex answers and explaining their thinking.” He’s also joined a school-wide PD on writing pedagogy. “That’s helped me get my head around how to enhance the experience for reluctant writers – like myself.”
Building links The term has seen our new educators get further involved in school and community life outside the classroom, from Davis organising the Year 4 camp at Warburton (“Flying foxes, archery, rope walks, orienteering… it’s a fantastic camp”) to impromptu Thai lunches for Grogan with her new colleagues. Wendfeldt was preparing for this term’s Japanese exchange, while O’Reilly was looking forward to the school formal and the annual Desert Harmony Festival. “I like living in a small place where you can really build links and be part of something,” says O’Reilly. Wendfeldt is now the second of our new educators to have a permanent position, alongside Davis. A Japanese 22 SP R I NG 2 01 6 AUSTR ALI AN E DUCATOR 9 1
Tom Davis got involved outside the classroom by organising a Year 4 camp.
We’ve restructured our maths programs a bit and made them more hands-on and authentic. The kids have been eating it up.
Tom Davis Montmorency South Primary School in Victoria
citizen, she became eligible for ongoing status on gaining permanent Australian residency only this year. Grogan is still searching for an ongoing position. O’Reilly says her 12-month contract is “still the right situation” while she’s working in Tennant Creek, but she’ll want a permanent position in the longer term. For Wendfeldt, it was naturally cause for celebration. A colleague gave her a shiny new $1 coin from the Royal Australian Mint, dated 2016 to mark the year she got permanency. But she also knows that, among new educators, she is lucky. “There are so many incredibly talented teachers I have so much admiration for, and it’s really hard for them to get permanency. I’m really lucky because I teach Japanese, which not many people can do. If I was teaching SOSE [Studies of Society and Environment], it would have been much harder.” l Nic Barnard is a freelance writer.