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Inside Teaching : August 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org 20 QUESTIONS 41 staffroom and ring 199, which causes the phone to ring after you hang up, and he’d have to leave us and go and answer so we’d get a break. How important were your parents in encouraging you to go on with your education? Absolutely, fundamentally important, for my success and the success of my siblings too. My parents never had an opportunity to get formal education. They knew that it was the ticket forward. Why did you become a teacher? I stumbled into it. I think in a broader sense I was interested in what made people tick and what made them do the best they could. How do you encourage bright Aboriginal students to consider teaching as a profession? In the same way I encourage other people – talk about the importance of them being Aboriginal role models, and the magic of the profession. Well into adult life, people into their 70s, 80s, 90s will remember something a teacher said that made them feel good or not good. No salary can ever pay what it’s worth to see the light going on in a child’s head when they learn something, or, say, when they frst learn to swim. What strategies should teachers adopt for teaching Indigenous students, the same as with non- Indigenous students, or is there a better approach? It doesn’t hurt to be frm, fair and fun. A quality teacher fnds a way to get personal about what they’re doing. They need to think, ‘What would I want if this child in front of me was my child?’ Do that and then the cultural background just doesn’t matter. How, in a crowded syllabus, do you ensure that traditional learning isn’t neglected? It doesn’t matter what kind of teaching occurs as long as it is quality for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. They should all feel proud and competent culturally.