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St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School
Lead Teacher Tom McCormick can’t imagine doing anything other than teaching.
Tom McCormick | Lead
Head of the Faculty of Socio-Cultural Studies | 8 years teaching
"The beauty of teaching is that you never stop learning."
What inspired you to become a teacher?
There were always children around our home when I was growing up in the United Kingdom. My parents fostered more than 40 children and adopted five children, making me one of nine. I’m the second eldest, so I was always helping out with homework or other school issues while I was growing up. Education was therefore something I was destined to go into. I wanted to make a difference and give something back in terms of the development of young people. I also loved education in and of itself.
What do you love most about being a teacher?
The beauty of teaching is that you never stop learning. New ideas, new ways of thinking, new strategies. I have a bit of an obsession with teaching and learning and pedagogy itself. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t do some form of educational reading or review the latest research findings. I have a real passion for it because I want the best for the students who I teach in this everchanging world. Teaching is a profession where we constantly have an opportunity to improve and push ourselves. I don’t see myself ever doing anything other than teaching.
What do you believe, from your own personal experience, has the greatest impact on student learning?
When students, teachers and parents or carers work together, students thrive. It really gives the students a boost when everyone is working together in partnership for them. Students know that they’re not on their own. They’re also being supported rather than being told what to do. That triangle of support allows students to grow in their own educational journey to get to the answers themselves.
What have you learned about yourself as a teacher by undertaking national certification?
Undertaking national certification is like undertaking a Masters of Education in the study of your own teaching practices. It’s a very personal and self-reflective professional development journey. There’s always a finish line in schools. There’s always the end of term or reporting season or the end of the year. It’s a go, go, go kind of horse race, but we rarely get a chance to sit back and look at what we’ve achieved, such as how we improved our school or our student’s lives because of what we changed. Certification identifies not only what you’re doing well, but also what you need to put more effort into and goals you may have put on the back burner. I want to be known as an educator who continues to reflect on his teaching and leadership practices and strives to make changes and to improve my own pedagogy.
As a result of this process I am now sharing my experiences and insights as a mentor for other teachers undertaking national certification.
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