Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Educators that have helped me dream bigger

For the #EdBlogNZ challenge we need to write about educators, bloggers, leaders who have inspired you to dream bigger and so tonight I am going to salute some of the ordinary (but for me extraordinary) educators/mentors/guides who have, and continue to, inspire me to keep on dreaming rather than going for the big names (there will time for that another day)... and so I am leaping away from the brief a little here to share some of the heroes from my own teaching career thus far... it is quite personal but I hope not too uncomfortable! 

This list isn't finite, but there is only so much time and space here, so if you don't see your name listed please know that isn't because I haven't appreciated your gifts...

  • Lisa Beere- my tutor teacher for my final year at T.Coll- Lisa had a programme that was sensitive to the needs of the new entrants we were teaching, she gave me licence to try new things and trusted me to take over her class. This became my first teaching position as Lisa was on leave for the following year, I felt confident to step into the role having been so well prepared. Her calm, confident, kind manner in the classroom is something I still aspire to. 
  • Greig Mercer-  leader extraordinaire. Greig taught me to love professional development and embrace professional reading, he set me off on a learning journey I am still undertaking now. He challenged my thinking and stretched me beyond what I thought I would ever be capable of doing. He talked me about his decision making processes and showed me a pathway to ethical, people centred, integrity based leadership and I aspired to that in my last leadership position and hope to get there one day. He has returned to principalship and I hope those lucky enough to work with him learn as much as I did. 
  • Trevor Grice- when I first met Trevor he spoke to my heart and had such an overwhelming drive for that which he was passionate about, making a difference in the lives of our children. His decision making mantra was 'will it make a difference for the children' and if there wasn't a clear how to it then we didn't go there. He was a force to be reckoned with but at the same time worked on a foundation that all healing, all learning starts with love. He would often say that love is an irresistible force and this is what our children desperately need. 
  • Celia Lashlie- she challenged me with her upfront manner but she came from a very human place and hearing her speak I felt moved by her empathy for those often misunderstood and her strong desire to help them be heard. She also highlighted the need to care for ourselves when caring for others lest we bleed out and become like 'lemon lips', sour and mean. She was another force to be reckoned with in her pursuits and even as her days were numbered she continued teaching through her life experience. 
  • Evelyn Mann- a lecturer, friend, mentor and director. I have been lucky to travel in many ways with Evelyn. She has challenged my practice, I love our honest conversations. I have seen her help others discover untapped potential for drama and theatre in many settings, she does so with empathy, skill and humour... she is very skilled but has the ability to use this to empower others rather than make them feel inadequate. I have learned a lot about questioning and working alongside learners from Evelyn. She has also shown me that taking risks is important... if a little scary! 
  • Karen Boyes- and speaking of risk takers! Karen is the consummate risk taker and has taken a risk with me more than once for which I am truly grateful for. She has invited me to present, and emcee, at her Teachers Matter Conferences in the last two years, she has invited me to collaborate on writing a study skills resource and in doing so has not only shared her expertise with me but given me feedback to help me get better. Karen is continually stretching herself, reading prolifically and works so darned hard! She is also human and has shared her trials and tribulations with me. Her insights into managing the demands of parenting, relationships, professional learning, work and travel has been a real asset over the last few years!  

Wonderful presenters like John Shackleton, Allie Mooney, Andrew Fuller, Robyne Moore, Maggie Dent and countless others have all contributed to me building my dreams and inspiring me to reach higher and do better. 

To those who have supported and believed in me over the years like Joyce Beck, many of the Dunedin T. Coll staff, Rob Wilton and so many of my Heartland Life Ed colleagues, Peter Cox, David Buck and others from Life Ed NZ, Liz Bowen-Clewley, Helen Darling and so many more... because of the support and belief you have shown me I am inspired to reach higher and do better. 

I often imagine my dad looking down at me when I am teaching or presenting and hope that he is smiling and feeling proud of me as he did when he was alive. I am lucky to have had tremendous support from my parents, they always had my back, so for them I want to reach higher and do better. 

To the educators that I have been privileged to work with, train with and observe in so many different settings... the conversations we have had about teaching and learning, the little things I have seen you do, the support you have given me makes me want to reach higher and do better. 

To the children that I have worked with over the years, I have learned so much from all of you... for the ones that I teach now, you inspire me (in fact sometimes demand of me) to reach higher and do better... keep doing that!  

And finally to my own baby boy who will start school shortly, I now have an even greater vested interest in reaching higher and doing better as a teacher because I understand that as a parent that is what we want from all those who teach our babies. 


  1. Oh shucks - thanks - you stand on the shoulders of many...

  2. I have been very lucky so far and continue to be inspired by many... :)