TEACHER INTERVIEW - Teach For the Stars (@teachforthestars)
We at Prac-E love connecting with real-world Australian teachers. We especially love promoting the social media teacher community. To do this, we are bringing you another interview with one of Australia's 'teacherstagram' starts, Julia Chalmers from @teachforthestars.
Tell us a little about yourself! How many years into your teaching career are you?
I never realised I wanted to be a teacher until I was in my 20’s and travelling Europe. I started my degree as soon as I returned and never looked back. I’m now in my fourth year of teaching and absolutely loving it!
What was the #1 thing you worried about being a teacher, before you started?
I was really concerned about whether I would be able to cover everything in the curriculum, while also keeping things interesting and catering for various abilities.
How did you overcome that fear?
I try to integrate topics as much as possible, building on the students’ interests or using good quality texts to springboard into mathematical and scientific concepts.
What thing about teaching do you think University didn’t prepare you for?
To be honest, I think my most valuable lessons have been learned during my teaching experiences. I found that once I started teaching, some things covered in my university degree weren’t very realistic. I don’t know any teachers who have planned 10 weeks in advance and haven’t had to change a thing! I think the most important thing to understand about teaching is that you always need to be flexible.
What is your favourite topic to teach your class?
I love reading, so my favourite topic to teach is anything based on an amazing book. It’s incredible how engaged students can be when you find a story that they really connect with. I love using books to inspire pieces of writing, lead into mathematic investigations or even books that tie into STEM challenges.
What is the biggest challenge you have had to face in the classroom?
Trying to do everything - and I have learned the hard way that you can’t. Pick your priorities, the things that really matter, and get those done first. That pretty pile of laminating can always wait until later.
What has been your biggest classroom success story?
Whenever I notice growth in my students, it makes it all worth it. One young girl in particular came to me at the beginning of Year One, and during our first writing piece, looked at me and said “I can’t write yet Mrs. Chalmers”. By the end of year, she was writing a full page of beautiful writing! Celebrating my students’ successes is the best part of my job.
If you could give your first-year-Uni self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Spend more time on the things that matter and less time on making things pretty! I’m all for an insta-worthy classroom but I’m guilty of spending ages on making something look good rather than thinking about the actual impact this resource will have on my students.
What teaching skill do you think you will never perfect?
Getting to the end of my to-do list. I’ve come to terms with the fact it will never, ever happen.
What is your biggest strength as a teacher?
I am always reflecting and thinking about how I can improve to be the best teacher I can be for my students. This is also probably my weakness as I can never turn my brain off!
🍍Julia & Helen🍍
🇳🇿Perth, Australia. 🍍2018- Year 1 & Year 5/6. 💜2017 - Year 1 & Year 5/6. 🍎2016 - Year 4 & Year 5/6