It’s so easy to become desensitised to what ‘successful’ is in 2018, and our feeds are filled with people who we just can’t relate to. I love the quote “being famous on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly;” sure it feels great but can you really put worth on someone by the number of followers? I think not.
I’ve neglected who’s that girl for far too long and I’ve promised myself I will make more time to promote the amazing work of those incredibly talented women around me.
Let’s celebrate the everyday women, the nurses, the hairdressers, the teachers, the women like you and me.
Welcome back to tgfs x who’s that girl featuring my old friend, Lauren Butler
Lauren and I went to school together in Sydney’s inner west, and I always remember her as such a kind-hearted person with the most amazingly witty sense of humour. I’ve loved following Lauren’s journey on social media over the last few years (can’t believe we graduated NINE years ago!) and see her and her passion for teaching grow.
I hope you enjoy the latest (of many more to come) tgfs x who’s that girl
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT JOB AND HOW YOU GOT THERE?
I am a Primary School Teacher, and I currently work at a Pre-K – Year 12 school in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. I completed my Masters of Teaching degree at the University of Sydney at the end of 2014 and began working as a casual teacher. I was comfortable being a casual, but then my current full-time job kind of found me. Mid-2015, the deputy of one of the schools I worked at passed my name onto a school that was looking for someone to teach a Year 4 class whose teacher had to take leave for Term 3 and 4. I was contacted by this school to do a demonstration lesson in front of the executive staff and an interview with the principal. That’s generally how it works in the private system. At this time, I was very happy being a casual, so I went into this whole thing somewhat carefree. Also, being only 22 years old at the time and fresh out of my Masters degree, I thought it would take longer to secure my own class at a school. So, leading up to it all, I had pretty much resigned to the idea that I wouldn’t get this one. Now that I look back, my relaxed attitude probably helped me “sail through” the process and I got the job. I’ve been there ever since and I’m loving it.
WHAT DREW YOU TO TEACHING?
Ever since I began primary school myself, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I guess I was one of those people who just knew what they wanted to do career-wise. I always felt I had the ability to – and passion for – explaining and teaching anything I could. I have a younger brother with Down’s Syndrome who I always guided and taught things to when we were younger. This helped me to realise that I wanted to help young people for a living. I also had a very positive and thriving primary and high school experience, so I thought that continuing in the school system would make me happy. Above all, I just love working with kids. They make me smile and laugh all the time. Interacting with young people can be so insightful, grounding and entertaining.
IS THE JOB WHAT YOU THOUGHT IT’D BE?
It’s more than I thought it would be. There is so much more involved in a teacher’s day than just “teaching”. People constantly underestimate how much we actually do, the expectations placed on us by society and also, the fact that we have to perform so many different roles each and every day. We are not only a child’s “educator” these days. We are their sport coaches, nurses, therapists, social advisors, carers, protectors and even their biggest cheerleaders. The modern child and family requires more from us than ever before. But if you love what you do, you perform these roles with passion and patience. And by the time you get through a school term, you’re exhausted, but you know you’ve made an impact. So when school “holidays” come around, you’re not just catching your breath, but you’re reviewing your past term and preparing for your next. This involves a lot of work. The cycle goes on.
HOW HAS LEARNING CHANGED FROM WHEN WE WERE AT SCHOOL?
As a student, particularly in Highschool, I was taught how to retain and repeat information effectively. I can clearly remember proving my worth and my level of intelligence by recalling as many facts as possible in the advised structure provided. Nothing super wrong with that at all, I actually really enjoyed soaking up information and repeating it funnily enough. However, these days as a teacher, I find that we are delivering not only vital content and modelling essential learning skills, but also helping students engage with the kinds of dispositions that prepare kids for a technologically growing world. Critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving is the emphasis these days and innovation is driving force behind our planning and teaching.
WE HEAR IT CONSTANTLY THAT KIDS ARE LAZIER THAN EVER WITH MANY KIDS STARTING PRIMARY SCHOOL WITHOUT EVEN BEING ABLE TO USE A PENCIL. IS THIS TRUE OR JUST OLDER GENERATIONS HAVING A WHINGE?
Older generations will always have something to say about the younger ones. I know that even as I age, I too will notice something that annoys me about the “youth of today.” I generally think technology has a lot to do with this observation. Kids have more and more access to technology at much younger ages and they seem to be finding the iPad and the iPhone more fun to interact with compared to pencil and paper. Busy and hardworking parents also often admit that their kids engage in a lot of screen-time. That being said, it’s also the case that day care institutions and preschools are doing their bit to ensure kids have as many tactile playing and learning experiences as possible. We just have to remember that technology is advancing quicker than ever in schools today and the mode and manner in which we demonstrate our understanding simply doesn’t have to be through the use of a pencil and paper as much as it used to. Children are being assessed on their understanding via the creation of videos and other forms of multimedia for example. We still emphasise the basics at school but we also have to recognise the fact that times are changing and we have to move with them in some ways.
WHAT’S THE MOST COMMON MYTH YOU HEAR ABOUT TEACHING?
The most common and ultimately frustrating myth is that teaching is an 9am-3pm job with a whole bunch of holidays thrown in. If you’re a hard-working teacher, you’ll know there are so many things piled onto your day and week that totally buries this myth. I for one start my day at my desk at 7:30am. A teacher’s days are filled with; early mornings starts due to meetings, before and/or after-school sport training, extra-curricular commitments (I am a debate coach at my school that’s a huge load), a whole bunch of endless and time consuming administrative work, professional development courses and studies, carnivals and special events, focus group meetings, school camps, parent teacher nights, programming, report writing cycles, liaising with other childcare professionals like psychologists and paediatricians, and of course, the actual teaching of lessons. It is nowhere near as simple as turn up, teach and go home… as some clearly un-educated and highly presumptive people (especially politicians) would have you believe. Anyone who doubts my statement should simply shadow an effective teacher for a day. After this, I am sure they would 100% review their stance on this myth, and they wouldn’t even have seen the full picture yet. And the hilariously insulting line “those who can’t do, teach” is also another myth that frustrates me. Teaching is not a job for the feint- hearted. If you “can’t do”, as the delightful saying goes, then stay right away from teaching. You’ll sink the moment you walk into a modern classroom. Guaranteed.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR LAUREN IN THE FUTURE?
More teaching of course – that’s my passion and I really want to keep doing more to improve on my current skillset. I know I want kids some day in the future, preferably seven boys so I can create my own rugby sevens team. I kid. That would be insane. I’d love to make sure my husband and I fit some more travelling in before the kids start arriving! And continuing to wine and dine with my amazing best-friends.
+ THE SPEEDY SIX:
FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT IN SYDNEY: The amazing new café called Matinee, which is in Marrickville.
FAVOURITE BAR: Anywhere with an open view of the harbour or city skyline. FAVOURITE SPOT IN SYDNEY: The Rocks – I adore old buildings.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO: London Grammar
THE LAST BOOK YOU READ: Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie
YOUR LIFE MOTTO: Do what you can with the power at your disposal and calmly leave the rest to the universe.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the teacher’s who shaped and influenced a part of our lives. It’s their dedication and passion for their profession that can make a child fall in love with the world of learning, and only positives can come from that.
Have a great week.