Sunday, September 24, 2006


Reflective Journal

1 Sept 2006

I came to teaching, (or did it come to me?) in a rather circuitous fashion. I had never entertained the idea of becoming a teacher until I was in my forties and even then my primary motivation was to secure a job that offered a regular pay cheque. Prior to teaching I had many jobs as a Builder, drainage contractor, youth worker, project manager, furniture designer/maker, traveller etc. Surprisingly enough, I find myself reflecting on my current role as a teacher and the previous smorgasbord of jobs and see a pattern emerging, indicating that these past “jobs” and experiences have prepared me for and lead me to my current “vocation”.
Experience in the building industry provided me with insights into the process and nature of structures. I developed strength and willpower in the process of hand digging long trenches through rocky ground. Youth work taught me patience and understanding. Fine furniture making demanded discipline and precision. The wonderment and awe experienced in immersing myself in diverse cultures have all contributed to providing essential growth, insight and skills for teaching. This current study through Notre Dame University is the current stage of my journey in exploring, gathering, refining and sharing of these ideas and insights.
I have been teaching at Shearwater for six years now and enjoy the challenges that teaching/learning involves. These constant challenges (daily) that arise provide grist for the mill for my personal and professional growth. Prior to this current study with Notre Dame University I had not engaged in any formal study apart from a two year stint of a Social Work degree. I consciously discontinued this study at twenty one years of age, full of ideals and optimism and a realization that whilst my fellow students and I were being groomed to be “good” social workers we were also becoming facilitators of the very social system that reinforced the polarization of a power hierarchy that kept the our disenfranchised “clients” in a downward spiral of poverty and disempowerment. So in the end I came to realise that if you weren’t a revolutionary (social worker) at heart then you weren’t going to be worth anything to the people that you are trying to “help”.
Twenty five years on and a little wiser, life, in it’s infinite wisdom has watered down that youthful idealism with a healthy amount of realism and I find myself by accident (or design?) teaching in an educational environment that encourages and supports revolutionary thinking and teaching based on the theories of Rudolf Steiner. A thinking that nurtures the fundamental growth of the individual and supports and empowers them through their own creative impulse. I now find myself exploring my own creative passions of Industrial Design and Photography and the sharing of these skills and insights in turn empowers me both as a teacher and individual.

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