by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Inside Teaching : August 2010
Inside Teaching | August 2010 FEATURE 8 or impractical, as happens in Woodford, the mobile classroom is parked on the showgrounds in the children’s own backyard. ‘It’s not the sort of job you take on if you like sleeping in your own bed every night,’ Callaghan explains, ‘and it’s not for everyone. We stay in hotels as near to the classroom as we can, and sometimes if the distance isn’t too great we’ll try to stay somewhere central to our next stop so we don’t have to pack up and move on quite as soon. ‘We have a fantastic group of kids and families. Behaviour management is really a non-issue in our classroom as the kids are just so polite and down to earth. Really, they’re just so happy to be here and have this opportunity.’ Callaghan, originally from Dirranbandi in Western Queensland, now lives in Tamworth with her husband, but has spent the past four years on the road during school terms with the QSTSC. ‘I’ve absolutely loved it,’ she says. ‘These kids are great and the experience of being with them and being on the road has been fantastic.’ As co-teachers in a multi-age composite classroom, Callaghan and Maybury have been on the road in the southern trailer as colleagues for two years. ‘It’s a good thing we get along, because it’s just the two of us out here every day on our own,’ says Maybury, who teaches Prep to Year 3. With classes varying in number from 10 to 36, depending on the location and size of nearby shows, both teachers’ planning and preparation skills are challenged every day by the unique nature of the school enrolments. ‘Which show a family is going to be working next will determine whether or not the kids can make it to class that week,’ Callaghan explains. ‘Sometimes they’ll be close enough to make it to class, other times they won’t, and then there’s always a chance that they can attend the northern classroom if they’re heading up that way.’ Unlike many schools, attendance isn’t a problem at the QSTSC. Families will do all they can to ensure that their children are in class as often as possible when their livelihood allows for it. ‘Our families are really committed to getting the best for their kids’ education,’ says Callaghan. ‘There are a lot of misconceptions about this community, like the misconception that they’re ignorant gypsy types, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Just like anyone else, they want their kids to achieve their potential.’ In fact, the QSTSC emerged from calls by members of the Showmen’s Guild of Australasia to provide a better education alternative for children in show families. Every effort is made to facilitate the attendance of the greatest number of children in class as often as possible, but itinerant work means that some children will attend class for fewer than 10 weeks of the year, while others can attend for 30 or more weeks of the school year. To address the specifc challenges presented by sporadic attendance, the QSTSC staff plan and collaborate carefully to ensure that the two classrooms, while operating in different parts of Australia, are teaching the same content in the same way at all times. That means that students who attend, say, the northern classroom can switch seamlessly to the southern one, if need be. QSTSC staff also prepare travel packages for students who are unable to attend class, to facilitate continued progress with only minimal guidance from parents. Teachers and the principal provide support by phone or videoconferencing both inside and outside school hours. QSTSC uses the Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework to assess the progress of all students, which is particularly important for those who can’t attend class