My drive to teach

A pedagogy-free beginning

This was a country at war in early 1995. My charges, aged eight to 12, in this Zagreb middle school, had experienced dodging snipers taking shots at them from high up on city buildings, sirens forewarning of bomb about to crash land. Some of my young students still settling in after fleeing from their homes in other parts of Croatia and Bosnia.

It was January 1995. Operation Storm was eight months away. It would end the Homeland War and, once again, Croatia would become an independent country.

But as the snow fell soundlessly on those shell-pocked streets at the beginning of the year, Zagreb with its 700,000 residents was getting on with civilian life.

As an Australian-born-and-educated Croatian, I was there as a 29-year-old with a shiny new Croatian passport to figure out if Croatia was the country where I would live. Nesting into a job was the first step.

While a teen in Melbourne, Australia, I’d yearned to be a teacher. Always uttered with the qualifier ‘probably’ when I spoke about it shyly at school or with family. As an ‘industrious’ student, my teachers would nod in agreement when I told them about my plans. It seemed right.

For me, there was something heady about allotting a set amount of time to chip away at learning. Indulgent even.

In my free time, I’d read heavy non-fiction books and chain-read novels.

At that time we never spoke of learning goals, intentions or contracts, which would become standard practice for my writing and teaching careers.

As a kid, I didn’t quite have the idealism you hear from long-in-the-tooth teachers about why they got into the profession. Making a difference in children’s lives was a motivator, but I can see now that learning, a decent education, can do that.

A taste of teaching

As a Year 9 student, I did a week’s work experience at a local special education school. I was assigned to help an eight-year-old boy with Bambi eyes framed by impossibly long eyelashes that kept batting his eyeglass lenses. Russell did a lot of blinking when he concentrated.

The focus of the week was teaching him to recognise and write the letter ‘R’ for his name. It slowed me right down. I couldn’t rush him. I found opportunities to model writing the letter to him on different surfaces and would point out the letter in signs, although its placement in words probably confused him. Maybe that’s why it took until the end of the week until he could form that letter on the page.

With dewy eyes and much blinking, he created his first ‘R’. What a champion.

I was hooked by the process and achievement. It felt like I’d watched my own son take his first steps. But unlike that milestone, I felt I was kind of responsible to teaching Russell to start to write his own name. My junior self didn’t consider all the work his teachers and parents had done before me.

Research[1] shows that most teachers are motivated to start and continue teaching for intrinsic — internal — rather than external motives. But something happens — there’s a reality check — and the majority have “a very low level of commitment to the teaching profession”.

Primary steps

In primary (elementary) school, whenever a fellow pupil who’d immigrated from a non-English speaking country joined our class, they were sat next to me for intensive instruction. No, I didn’t really know how I was supposed to do that.

But, over time, I understood it was about me pointing to and naming nearby nouns, encouraging the new pupil to have a go at speaking the language and ask me questions and hoping they’d pick up context and grammar by being in the thick of it.

My role was then correcting their spoken and written English, something my sisters and I did regularly with our parents, for whom English was their fifth language.

At school, I learnt one-on-one teaching is about patience, helping the student when they needed it. Thankless sometimes, but I had no choice, I had to do it.

But I did have a choice about which career I’d tackle.

No pressure from my parents, only the instruction to ‘do what makes you happy’.

False starts

My father had almost finished his university degree to be a maths and science high school teacher — not his choice — in his homeland of the former Yugoslavia. The socialist political system at that time was about corralling students into technical areas while Russia and the US space race on.

By the time Russia’s Sputnik 1 orbited the Earth in October 1957, my dad had already left his home country.

All that stood between dad becoming a teacher was one last exam. That hurdle involved public speaking.

Despite his parents’ and siblings’ nudging, he couldn’t and wouldn’t front up. He transferred to a lab technician course and within a couple of years was elbow-deep doing the tech work he loved. No public speaking involved.

My mother did manage to teach. She showed a natural talent for shorthand. When she learnt shorthand in high school in the 1940s — Pitman, the same I learnt in the late 1970s in Australia and would later use as a newspaper reporter — she wouldn’t need to practice.

“The other girls would have to keep writing and practising the short forms for homework, but I just looked at a sign and remembered what it meant,” she said, one arched eyebrow raised as if that revealed her super-learning technique.

When she matriculated, along with her peers, she went through the motions of ‘asking’ for a job in her chosen field.

“I want to work on a cotton farm in Slovenia,” she wrote, hankering for life in her parents’ homeland.

Meanwhile, another student who shared the same first name and surnames as her had asked to work as a stenographer in a government ministry. That student’s father was a communist party official, and with cronyism rife, was able to pull strings.

So, in error my mother got the stenographer job in Belgrade at the Ministry of Electricity. She shrugged and got into it. Her namesake was sent to rural Slovenia with no recourse. Huffy, no doubt.

Mum’s stenography talent had her run classes within the ministry before long. A good chunk of her job. When she was 29, she eloped with my dad to France.

Siblings as role models

My elder sisters also sought teaching roles and, with a few pivots, continue. Lydia, enrolled in a primary teacher degree, but after three weeks switched high school because that university meant she wouldn’t have to leave the family home.

She’d retrain but never work as a psychologist, also gain qualifications in special education, pivot off that for home-care assessments work as well as high school maths and geography teaching. Lydia is now a primary school teacher in Canada.

As a child, she’d set up a blackboard in our inner-Melbourne concreted backyard and sit my other sister, Mary and me on chairs for her pretend class. We’d squirm, rock our chairs on the uneven concrete dad had poured, sometimes reach out to pat our cats, look anywhere but the blackboard knowing it would push our big sister’s buttons.

Eventually, she gave up.

Later, when she tried to teach me to play the piano, my tactic was to stop the lesson with ‘my palm is itchy’. But, I wasn’t kidding. It was. I’m not sure why. When I, too, had piano lessons with the proper piano teacher, I never needed to scratch my palm.

Mary would later enrol in a primary school teaching degree. As soon as the tutor had handed out an assignment, she would scoot to the library to find the required reading texts. Once she found herself battling with another student for the same book. Both grabbing, both squealing they’d seen it first. That’s how she met one of her best friends she would know for many years after they’d both left the course, seemingly lured away by their boyfriends proposing and the need to bring in a wage to nest down.

Swayed by emotions and relationships.

And they’re at the core of what floats the boat for most teachers. “Teaching is emotional and intensely interpersonal; it is also intrapersonal. It is a mix of one-to-one relationships and one-to-many relationships,” says Indira Nair in her chapter Joy of Being a Teacher[2].

But as a newbie teacher, my focus wasn’t on relationships. It was about getting over my own fear of public speaking while hoping my passion for learning would rub off on offers, somehow.

How to do this is tricky without an understanding of pedagogy — the method and practice of teaching.

Stepping into a classroom of my own

And that was me, a pedagogy-free novice teacher in Zagreb in that last year of the Homeland War in 1995.

Through my contacts, I’d heard an international school in the city centre was looking for a teacher of English. Wedged in between apartment blocks, featuring a couple of asphalt rectangles and little vegetation, this was definitely an urban school.

As I walked in for the interview, the kids were on their break, yet among the cacophony, I could hear one of them singing. I walked over to this pre-teen. He was singing The Rolling Stone’s Starf**ker.

Forgetting I wasn’t speaking his first language, I said: “You need to stop. They are bad words.”

He shrugged and went back to singing the chorus, which I now know has 12 ‘Starf**kers’.

I frowned, kept walking. I asked for the principal and soon sat down for the interview — in English. I got the job, even before my sister had eased my gold-flecked degree testamur from its expensive frame from the other side of the globe and faxed it to the school.

This middle school had had a batch of classes with no English teacher for five months. Just a string of casuals, often without qualifications in English. My job was to teach a few classes for a total of 15 hours a week.

“Use the textbook,” the principal said.

“No need to write any lessons.”

Little did I know that shortcut that would irk me more than 20 years later.

So, armed with that book, I stepped into teaching with a very basic grasp of the Croatian language.

Seizing short-cuts to teaching

As a warm-up exercise for my first class, I told them to focus on the 100 most commonly used words in any language to build their vocabulary. I’d only read about this recently while I was trying to get a grip on this new Slavic language that had begun learning as a 20-year-old.

On the blackboard, I wrote five of the common words in English asking students if they knew the Croatian equivalent. While they were quiet at the start of the class, now they were shouting out. Didn’t seem like putting up your hand before you ask to speak was a thing here. I wrote their prompts, then asked them to repeat it out aloud together. And another five words and so on.

With the first 20 words up on the board, I figured it was time for them to start writing in their exercise books. My instruction in Croatian immediately silenced the class, then the roars of laughter erupted. Unfortunately, the verb ‘to write’ — pisati — is similar to the verb for ‘to piss’ — pišati. And, boy, did I get that wrong a lot.

In other classes, we went straight to textbook work. I never planned the lesson, just tried to coax the kids along further along into the textbook. I’d ask different students to read out aloud the English passages — only a handful could do it in a version of English I recognised. Then we’d work through the comprehension questions together to start and then it was individual work.

I’d take home wads of their work to correct, sitting at my aunt and uncle’s dining table while they watched TV.

Who was really learning here?

Were the kids getting any better at English or I was doing the immersion thing to bump upmy Croatian skills?

I remember thinking as I used a red pen to mark the work with mostly fat crosses, that marking at home was unpaid work. There was a lot of it and it wasn’t fun.

Handing these pieces of paper back to my students neither delighted nor interested them. I knew it was part of the mechanics of teaching — giving them feedback — but began to get a sense that I was bluffing teaching. I really didn’t know what I was doing or why.

With the benefit of hindsight

If I could turn back the clock, I’d check the syllabus and get help to translate it from Croatian to find out the educational outcomes to which I should be teaching. I’d plan my lessons and tweak as I went with circuit breaker activities when engagement lagged and use tech not just books. My lessons would shift from whole-class to group work to students working in pairs as well as individually.

Before I walked into a role, I’d demand each student’s record of academic progress, test them straight away and then regularly after that. I’d make my assessment schedule known to them along with ‘rubrics’ that revealed how I marked and what they needed to do to get higher marks.

I’d also hunt down the school’s behaviour management policy, learn it and ensure my classroom rules sung the same tune and I reminded students about them at the beginning and during every class.

In the staff room, I’d rake over the classes with my co-workers and listen for their insights and tips plus attend staff meetings and professional development sessions.

I’d join a union and a professional association for my teaching specialty. I’d also chat to kids in between classes, learn more about them as people to build a relationship from which to leverage my teaching of them. In short, I’d do a deep dive into pedagogy.

None of these approaches were in my arsenal in Zagreb mid-war.

An affront to teaching

Within a week, I knew the honeymoon of teaching was over on a few fronts.

As I walked into my classes, it made no difference to the students if I was there or not. They ignored me. Some were already half hanging out the window to see what else was going on. Another student would regularly wander out. It took several minutes to get their attention to mark the roll. Few had their textbooks and workbooks on their desk by then. Chatting among themselves would be a constant.

“Shhhhh,” I’d say at an increasing volume.

Some looked at me at said ‘shhhh’ back, laughing.

Then, I tried ‘Shutajte’ (pronounced ‘SHOO-tie-teh’), which is not a polite way of telling little kids to be quiet.

The parrots would repeat me.

My other ‘attention-getting strategy’, was to slam my hand down on my desk and stun them with the bang. It worked to prick up their ears only momentarily, but the buzzing sensation in my right hand lasted much longer. A couple days of using this tactic would leave me with a sore hand. And I’d wonder if I was in the right profession. I’d earned my living up until that point being a journalist. My hands crucial to me making an income.

In class, starting ‘work’ never saw me give students an overview of what we’d be learning that day. It was probably like ‘Groundhog day’ for them. We never seemed to be going forward.

Then, I was thrown off orbit a bit by one of the quieter kids calling me over.

“Miss Jakovac, my grandmother knows you,” she said.

“And who is your grandmother?”

“She’s Biserka, one of you mum’s best friends. They went to school together.”

“They did too,” I said.

And I knew Biserka well having visited her home and met her for coffee at classy Zagreb cafes during my three extended trips to Croatia since 1987.

I blushed realizing my incompetence as a teacher was now known beyond the classroom and was likely to filter back to my homeland, Australia.

The voice of my mother nudged me as it had throughout childhood when I learning classical ballet.

“If you don’t know what to do, just look at the other children and copy them,” she’d say.

As an adult, that translated to ‘copy the other teachers’. So, I asked the principal to point out the best English teacher there for me to quiz.

I managed to track down Sanja that lunchtime. Our whole conversation was conducted on the move as she trotted from the staff room to her home classroom and set up each desk for her next lesson. She acknowledged the kids hadn’t had a proper English teacher for months and that pacing through the text book was the way to go. Same advice as the principal.

I wasn’t taking much of what she was doing in — the need for lesson prep — nor just holding back to check in with a teacher when’s the best time to have a meaty discussion about ‘how to teach’. Sanja wasn’t offering much. How could she?

The bridge to pedagogy wasn’t one I could cross in a lunchtime.

As my classes got noisier and noisier, I’m sure they disturbed nearby classes. Yet, no teacher or even the principal would come by or into my class during those times.

As a beginning teacher doing casual and temporary work in Australia, I had teachers pop in every so often. They’d check how I was going (if the decibels had reached three figures, ahem), or ask if they could take a student for some genuine reason, deliver me a message, drop by supplies, anything really. Whether the lessons were going smoothly or not, the door was always open. I felt they had my back if ever I was struggling.

But in Zagreb, I was and felt alone and out of my depth. Culturally, perhaps teachers didn’t interrupt other teachers.

A matter of disruption

The Teaching Gap[3], by James Stigler and James Hiebert, sheds light on this. Their research found interruptions happen in 13% of classes in Germany and almost a third of US classes. For example, public broadcast announcements would never boom into Japanese classrooms. It would ruin the flow of the lesson, said one of the Japanese teachers in the book.

But US lessons — much like ones in Australia I think — are structured differently, particularly for maths, which is what Stigler and Hiebert delved into.

“The activities within a lesson are more modular [than in Japan], with fewer connections between them … because learning procedures is believed to depend largely on practicing them, temporary interruptions like outside intrusions or unrelated activates, do not ruin the lesson. They might be annoying, but they just reduce the number of practice exercises for that day.”

And they offer this insight about teaching maths in the US — teachers there act as if they can only engage students in learning by “diversions outside of mathematics”.

Unfortunately, in my English language classes students were embracing diversions in a big way, but not on their path to learning.

And I had no idea how to steer them onto the right track. I was a low-efficacy teacher unaware of teaching strategies. Just a few too many pieces missing in my jigsaw puzzle to make a complete picture about teaching.

An escape route

So, when one of my Zagreb contacts told me about a writing job at the Ministry of Information that didn’t need a high level of Croatian, I went for it. And got it, so closing the door on my first foray into teaching just 11 weeks in.

I’d miss the free hot school lunches and the free toilet paper of the school, that was it. And yes, at the Ministry, I did need to bring my own toilet paper. We were at war after all. And that’s why the job came with a new-model VW Golf complete with military number plates. Priorities, I guess.

I’d been at the new job for a couple of months, happily writing twice-daily news bulletins for a global audience — the early days of emails — mentoring an assistant and being a general helper in the English language. One of my peers in the Split office rang me one morning.

“I need you to fax me this information before you go into the staff meeting,” he said with some urgency.

“Can it wait until after the meeting? I’m really on the hop this morning,” I said.

“It’s really important. I need you to do this for me.”

So, I faxed him the info and soon figured why the urgency. He’d been in the know. Within hour an hour, rockets were raining down on Zagreb.

In the first-floor meeting room, I was facing the window looking out over the Zagreb city grid when it happened. The roar jolted me. My eyes were drawn to the sound, then I saw the milky coffee-coloured smoke shoot out in squiggly lines sideways and downwards. They hung in the sky for a moment, then disappeared. I was transfixed trying to make sense of it.

My co-workers knew the drill and pulled me away as I tried to get closer to the window to check it out. Then we scootered downstairs into the bunker. That’s when the air raid sirens began sounding. Coming from street megaphones I’d never noticed before. I remember being in the bunker and seeing a strip of daylight above the closed roller door. We were on the ground floor. Our building had floor-to-ceiling glass and next door was the city’s famous concert hall and convention centre, named after a German Jewish composer who had changed his name to the more Croatian-sounding Vatroslav Lisinksi.

That concert hall could have been another cultural target. After all, we’d hear later, one of the other rockets fell through the roof of the Academy of Dramatic Arts injuring dancers mid-rehearsal.

That cluster bomb had fallen less than half a kilometre from us and I’d later find out it killed a man stepped out of parked car. Six people died and more than 170 others were injured in that and the following day’s attack, a New York Times[4] report from the time reminds me.

Serbs had targeted Zagreb’s city centre to retaliate against their defeat in Operation Flash on the day before. That was on May Day, part ancient European spring festival, part public holiday to celebrate labourers and working classes.

But, back at my desk, my boss had tried to convince me that my next news bulletin should only say “a car bomb went off in the old town injuring a few people”.

“That would be lying. I expect the international journalists already here would now what happened and if not, they’d have contacts to tell them. Saying it’s a car bomb, that makes us lose credibility,” I replied my brows furrowing.

We compromised so I put out a bulletin based on the facts we knew and had corroborated. No embellishment.

Then I rang Australia to tell my mum what had happened.

“What are you still doing there? You don’t need to be there. The country’s at war, you should come home now. You’re Australian,” she urged.

A pioneer in remote working

But I wasn’t quite ready. I continued working for the ministry, but from my relatives’ country house about 50km north of Zagreb.

No more daily news bulletins for me to write, but articles for a Croatian tourist magazine the Ministry was designing. I had to walk about four kilometres to send and receive the proofed pages via fax.

My aunt’s friend was a manager in the electricity service bureaucracy, so with a bit of asking around, I got to use their local office’s fax machine.

That task over, and a week since I’d seen the warning ‘OPCA OPASNOST’ (general danger) on our TV screen, it was time to head back to Zagreb. I returned to work and told my boss I had to resign, saying the bombing had shook me in my boots and made me rethink Zagreb as a permanent home.

Returning to my Melbourne home in August 1995, teaching wasn’t on my shingle, but finding work as a journalist pronto was. Over the next 18 months, I did writing and sub-editing stints on staff for various local newspaper mastheads spanning east, west and inner city. With a decent mortgage and no budget for a car, I did these getting around by train or bicycle. It allowed me to explore my home metropolis more intimately than I had while a business and property writing at The Sunday Age, where each week I’d sign through a wad of taxi chits.

Melding mentoring with teaching

As a senior reporter for suburban newspapers, I often mentored and managed cadet or more junior writers. It was hit and miss. There was no system. Often, it relied on the other reporter asking me questions or for help, rather than me pacing them through a series of writing challenges, expanding their range of work.

When they’d finished their cadetship or were ready to be promoted up a grade, the editors never asked or consulted me about their work. The writers’ published stories were enough. And the writers’ themselves were a ‘known’ entity in these small suburban offices.

Our open plan settings meant you heard each other’s phone interviews, swapped contacts, offered insights, were part of our debriefs as the stories came to life in our office. We’d socialise often with each other, with ‘job talk’ often a theme.

For the time that worked for me as a form of ‘teaching’, but niggling me was the need to know what pedagogy was. How do people teach people — effectively? How can pedagogy make me a better learner? That is, to learn more, faster. There was a greed at work there; a hankering for knowledge that had driven me.

When I reflect now, it’s strange that I never thought to ask my elder sister, Lydia about this. After all by the mid 1990s, she’s notched two degrees in teaching — high school and special ed — and had been teaching for several years in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Her first year as a 20-year old-was a shocker.

Already, halfway through first term, this was a weekday morning ritual at our family home.

Several times, mum would yell at her through her closed door: “Lydia, time to get up for work.”

Inside, Lydia would be blowing her nose, you’d hear a hacking cough, but no movement to the door.

Eventually, mum would knock and enter and hassle my sister again to get up.

In a voice that sounded nothing like my sister’s melodious yet authoritative natural voice, Lydia squeaked to mum that she had laryngitis again and wasn’t going to work.

Every Monday morning.

And it was her first year of teaching.

It was like ‘Groundhog’ day, the idea made famous through the 1993 Bill Murray comedy of the same name. The main character relived the same day, over and over, stuck in a time loop.

I got a sense of Lydia’s hamster-wheel horror life of teaching as she’d talk about how hard it was to get her students to listen in class. It sounded like the other teachers weren’t really supportive. But she stuck it out a whole year, even managing to extract a reference from the head nun at the school.

It wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

“I can’t believe a nun wrote that,” said mum, who herself had been to a Catholic school and went to mass each Sunday.

But Lydia didn’t need that threadbare reference just yet. She decided she had a calling for helping students with physical and intellectual disabilities, so retrained in that area and actually did pretty well. With her graduate diploma in hand, she walked into a head special teacher role at a regional school.

They kill their young don’t they?

The concept of being thrown to the wolves as an early-career casual teacher has some parallels with journalism.

As a new writer in a newsroom, you hit the ground running and show your mettle from day one. The adrenalin’s high when you’re covering breaking stories, constantly updating the news feed as new information emerges.

Unlike teaching, you don’t have ‘pracs’ where you shadow a supervisor at work, watching them interview someone face-to-face, then you hop in the chair and do the same. Journalism doesn’t involve you having an audience of 25-plus students watching as you learn the ropes.

Teaching is a performance art.

It would take the third of my near-death misses to nudge me closer to the stage of teaching (the first near-death was being mid-war in Zagreb, next was being in the ‘lucky’ second carriage of the December 1999 Glenbrook train crash in which seven people died and then there was my horrible medical diagnosis).

That last crisis, in late 2003, saw me ditch writing and connect with nature. As an enthusiastic gardener, I wanted to work outdoors. I retrained at TAFE as a bush regenerator. Within a few months, I was a trainee in teams working in reserves, state forests and national parks weeding, building tracks, even burning stockpiles of willow logs.

At the end of 2004, I had finished my traineeship and was fully qualified. It was casual work. If it was rainy or had rained and the soil was too wet, the shift would be cancelled. Us tramping on the delicate soil, particularly around native plants, would compact it. If it was too windy and we had planned to spray weeds carrying backpacks filled with red-coloured herbicide and wielding a wand-like hand spraying device, yup, no work. If the supervisor was sick, another non-work day.

But, unlike teaching, I wasn’t expected to be on call and ready for work at 6:30 each morning in case a school ring for me to work there that day.

Early in 2005, I’d been thinking how to make a side hustle out of my writing — teach it maybe?

Foray into andragogy

The TAFE college I’d attended also offered a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. It’s a qualification that lets you teach in a TAFE or registered training organisation. It won’t teach you about pedagogy, but its cousin, andragogy, the method and practice of teaching adults learners.

In our first class, our TAFE teacher outlined what the course would cover, that they’d be assessment tasks and she’d give us ‘rubrics’ with those so we knew what we had to do to get top marks. She talked about the training being linked to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) so that meant we’d have a qualification recognised across the country. She was explaining the mechanics of adult learning in Australia.

“I used to plan my TAFE lessons while driving to work each morning,” she said.

“That meant I got to class stressed out. I didn’t have any of the resources I needed. I thought winging it was the way to go.”

That was me in Zagreb. Only difference was that I walked four kilometres to work, not drove.

So having a textbook to teach means you don’t need to plan lessons? What was I thinking!

My TAFE teacher explained that the introduction of the AQF in 1995 meant her approach had to change. She was a convert to lesson planning.

Within a few weeks, us students made individual presentations to our TAFE class. Each on a quest to deliver a mini lesson. Structured, broken down into easy steps.

One of my peers worked in hospitality and showed us how to fold a napkin, fancy like. I knew I couldn’t ‘teach’ writing or an aspect of writing in five minutes so settled on something out of left field: how to put a coat on a dog. It was a bit tongue in cheek.

Using a soft toy about the same size as my Jack Russell dog, I began my scripted lesson.

“Gently pull the coat holes through her paws. Don’t pull her paws through it,” I said.

That was my key message. Gentleness, no tugging to risk dislocating paws, but firmness, the coat must be put on. We’re talking about a dog with which you have a relationship, not a random one.

And that, for me, is the essence of teaching: gentleness yet firmness … and of course relationships.

Did I confuse my motivation to teach with my motivation to learn?

Summary:

My drive to teach came from my love of learning and the need to share that, not idealism to make a difference in children’s lives. I recognised, too, my own family had a strong streak of teaching. From dipping my toe into teaching as an English primary-school teacher in war-torn Zagreb to learning how to teach adults, I knew I needed to figure out what pedagogy was all about. Teaching for me was a slow burn interest.

Thinking points for you:

  • Why do you teach … or want to teach?
  • How crushed would you feel if you couldn’t teach?
  • How do you see yourself as a teacher?
  • What life experiences do you think have prepared you to be a good fit for teaching?
  • What puts you off about being a teacher and can you overcome those issues?

[1] Mkumbo, Kitila. [2013]. Factors Associated with Teachers’ Motivation and Commitment to Teach. Journal of Educational Sciences and Psychology. Vol 3, Issue 1, pp58–71

[2] Nair, Indira. [2018]. In New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Spring 2018, Vol 153, pp45–65

[3] Stigler, J. W. & Hiebert, J. [2009]. The Teaching Gap Best Ideas from the World’s Teachers for Improving Education I the Classroom. Free Press, New York [updated edition)

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/1995/05/04/world/rebel-serbs-pound-zagreb-for-second-day.html accessed May 2019

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Margaret Paton, Aussie-based education writer

PhD student at Deakin University, Australia, using netnography to explore out-of-field teaching. GradCert Ed Research MTeach|GradDip Comm Mgmt |BA Journalism.