TEACHER INTERVIEW - Miss Girlings' Classroom (@missgirlingsclassroom)
Prac-E is thrilled to bring you a collaboration with Hannah Girling. Be sure to check out her fantastic Instagram page below. Thank you Hannah!
Tell us a little about yourself! How many years into your teaching career are you?
My name is Hannah and I am 24 years old! I am currently in my fourth year of teaching at a large triple-stream Catholic school in the south of Perth. I have only ever taught at one school!
What was the #1 thing you worried about being a teacher, before you started?
The thing I was most nervous about was whether I would ever be ‘good enough’ for my students. I place very high expectations on myself (seems to be very common for teachers!) and always worried that I wouldn’t be the best teacher possible for my students. It’s still something that I worry about now!
How did you overcome that fear?
It’s still something I have to work through. I have struggled with my work-life balance throughout my short career and I believe these nerves are a reason for that. I often feel guilty when I choose not to do school-related things and instead do things for myself. This year I have been reminding myself that ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ and that I need to look after myself in order to be the best teacher I can be.
You have amassed a large following on Instagram in the teaching social media community. Why do you believe so many educators respond to your content?
I honestly have no idea! I started my Instagram a few years ago as a way to digitally track things I did in the classroom for my teacher registration. In Western Australia, we have to submit a portfolio/folder of evidence to show that we have met the standards in order to gain your full teacher registration. I then found many other teacher accounts and loved getting inspiration from them! I never thought I would have gained so many followers and been a part of an incredible Instagram teaching community. I feel very lucky!
How important do you feel creating a sense of community, especially online, is between teachers?
I believe it is vital! It is so important that we feel like we can reach out to other teachers for help, reassurance and support. Teachers can often feel isolated and alone when dealing with issues and problems, so it’s very important that we reach out and keep each other going! It’s fantastic that we have a platform like Instagram to help us with this.
What is the biggest challenge you have had to face in the classroom?
Trying to support students who have issues in their home life or have experienced trauma at home. I try my hardest to provide a safe and welcoming environment for them at school and let them know how important they are, but it’s heart breaking knowing that you send them home each afternoon to a place where they are experiencing hardship. I am quite an emotional person and I find it hard to not worry about my students when they aren’t in my care, especially when you know that there are issues and problematic situations.
What has been your biggest classroom success story?
My Year 5 class that I taught in 2017 are one of the most incredible classes I have ever come across. I see it as a success story because I believe I managed to build a strong, positive relationship with every single child in that class which I am very proud of! I had the best year with them and they made such a positive impact on me as a teacher but also as a person. Those students still come back to me before school, at recess and lunch as well as after school to tell me about their day, their weekend or anything on their mind (they are currently in Year 6 at my school) and I absolutely love that we still have our class family!
If you could give your first-year-Uni self one piece of advice, what would it be?
The work will never be done! There will ALWAYS be something else to do, and that’s OK! I would often wake up early and stay up very late constantly trying to get everything done and it would never be done. It would have been nice if I had been a little less hard on myself to constantly be on top of everything.
I know in Brisbane, I feel like I could teach in neighboring towns or even go down to Sydney on a whim. You teach in Perth. What differences do you face teaching in WA, compared to the rest of Australia?
I guess we don’t really have that over here! We are quite isolated. You teach in Perth or you teach in the country! I am originally from Melbourne – it might be nice to live and teach there one day! Apart from the distance factor, I don’t think there are many differences between Perth and the rest of the country. Perth is a beautiful place, I am very lucky to live where I do!
What is your biggest strength as a teacher?
I would probably have to choose my ability to be flexible. Changes throughout the day don’t stress me out very much – probably because we get so much practice throughout the school year with all of the different events that pop up! The school term is always changing so I think it’s important to be flexible and take it in your stride, it will help you but also your students!
Hannah Girling ✏️
🍎 Year 5 2018 🇦🇺 Perth, Australia 💻 TpT: Miss Girling's Classroom 🌈 Lover of all things rainbow!