Bonjour Mégane!

Thank you to Madame Payne for her interview with KPS French Language Assistant, Mégane Lesuisse. 

Madame Payne: You arrived at KPS to commence your French Language Assistant position at the start of this year. What motivated you to apply for the position?
Mégane: Australia has always been a dream for me since my early childhood. After finishing my master’s degree in English Linguistics and Language Acquisition, I wanted a gap year to fulfil this ever-present dream. Combining this traveling dream with my passion for teaching was just the perfect opportunity for me. I applied with little hope as there were only 11 positions available, but here I am! Lucky to be working in such a good school. Continue reading

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A recipe for success in 2015!

This week Mr Penson tells us about getting the perfect mix in the classroom.

P1060096Ever wondered what steps it takes to build a successful school classroom and specialist structure each year? Well it is actually a bit like using a well trusted family recipe that has been handed down the generations and then adding a few special ingredients to give it your own unique flavour!

Here is what the recipe looks like: Continue reading

Your teacher’s favourite teacher

Bits-letter-1

Ask an adult if they remember their favourite teacher and the answer is invariably “Yes”. My grade two teacher, Mr McLeish, left a lasting impression. At age seven, I was already a keen reader, but Mr McLeish made books come alive, particularly because he did different voices for different characters. Mr McLeish happened to have a very strong Scottish accent so although I couldn’t quite differentiate all of the character voices, I instinctively appreciated the fabulousness of what he was doing. He also created a ‘Book Nook’ in the classroom, complete with cushions and bean bags – so exotic in my world where classrooms were all about desks and chairs!

This got me thinking – who were our teachers’ favourite teachers and why? And who wrote that sensational, earnest letter in the picture above?! Here’s what they had to say – Continue reading

Small moments and big rewards

Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those, the art of living well.

Aristotle

Whether you agree with Aristotle or not, pretty much everyone acknowledges that it’s the teachers who make a school.  Kew Primary currently has 29 classroom and specialist teachers who between them teach grades Prep to 6, PE, Art, French, Performing Arts, Library, Reading Recovery, Literacy Support, English as an Additional Language, and who provide support to students with special needs.

They range from the young and enthusiastic to the more mature and experienced (and still enthusiastic!) Our longest serving teachers are Ali Duffy and Faye Rodgers who have been with the school 20 years. (Faye still has her very first lesson plan, hand-written in beautiful copperplate script, but that’s a story for another time).

The Department of Education groups teachers into three different bands: Graduate, Accomplished and Expert and at Kew we have teachers from all categories with most in the Expert band where teachers have at least 10 years’ experience.

Our staff comes from the city and the country, from Victoria and interstate, and from a range of different cultural backgrounds including: Italian, English, Aboriginal, Greek, Maori, Irish and New Zealander.

This week the KPS Blog decided we wanted to find out a little more about our teachers and so we sent our roving reporter, Nikki McConnen to talk to her son’s Grade 2 teacher, Clio Williams.

Hi Clio, why did you decide to become a primary school teacher?

I was a swimming teacher for eight years, teaching babies through to adults. I loved teaching primary-age children. I came to teaching through a post grad course at Deakin University. My grandmothers on both sides, and aunts on both sides, were teachers so it may be in the blood!

You’ve been teaching at Kew Primary for a few years now, but prior to that we knew you as a very popular relief teacher for our performing arts classes. Do you have a performance background?

I did dance and drama at university. I love performing and have done numerous shows at the Melbourne Fringe, the Writer’s Festival and other Melbourne events.

You’re also part of the school’s ICT Team – what does that entail?

We implemented an iPad program for years 3 – 6, and have regular ‘Tekkie Brekkies’ for staff. I find new apps, and work with staff if any problems or issues arise.

What do you like about Kew Primary?

I love the enthusiasm of the children. I have taught most of the juniors now and they are so keen to learn and improve their skills that they make my job easy. The staff is innovative, enthusiastic and supportive, which has meant that I raise the bar higher for my own practice. I love teaching in an open classroom; it’s a great way to work. Parents and guardians are willing to help out in the classroom, even at the last minute and this strengthens the connection between home and school. I don’t want to teach in isolation; I believe it’s a partnership.

Did you have a favourite or influential teacher when you were a kid?

I had many favourite teachers, I loved them all, but I was a bit of a teacher’s pet! I had a really influential Politics and SOSE teacher. She spurred me on to read ‘Animal Farm’, ‘1984’ and other books that radically changed my teenage world view. She shaped my subject choices at VCE and university.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? And what is the most frustrating?

I find the most rewarding moments are often the smallest – an offhand comment that sparks a whole class discussion, or a child’s interest that unites the classroom – they’re moments I love. And the smiles I see when they are learning something satisfying.

I get frustrated, like most people do, with ‘to do’ lists that get bigger the closer you get to weekend! (Oh, and meetings that drag on.) My biggest frustration is when I have days where I don’t feel I’ve made a difference.

If the school got a sudden windfall what would you spend it on?

If the school got a sudden windfall I would spend it on more teachers! You can never have enough in a school. I would also get iPads in the junior school area, and apple TVs in every room, finish the kitchen garden…and maybe French ‘research trips’ for the staff!

What’s your all-time favourite book?

So many! I love the children’s book ‘The Ordinary Princess’, and my ‘Cook’s Companion’ by Stephanie Alexander – and anything written by Terry Prattchet.

And what’s your perfect holiday?

A quiet, peaceful place with gorgeous views. People, if I want a chat, and books if I want solitude. Somewhere with family.

And to finish, tell us one thing that we don’t know about you.

I’m a closet Chris De Burgh fan!

Thanks Clio.

Next year we are hoping to talk to more of the people with whom our kids spend much of their day.

Thanks for listening.

Jacqui Tomlins and Nikki McConnen