To welcome us to Term 1, we start this year’s showcase of awesome local educators with the lovely Callie Ballara, a Year 6 teacher at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School.
1. What brought you to #WellyED?
I love the idea of Wellington educators working together and what better place to do it than in the creative hub of our country. In my experience the best ideas are hatched when we collaborate with like-minded people who aren’t afraid to share their dreams and disappointments; and firmly believe they will always be on a journey of discovery.
2. What’s something exciting that’s happening in your classroom or in your sector?
I’ve decided that I’m going to turn my classroom office into a Makerspace. I’ve been inspired by the Makerspace movement lately and have observed how engaged my students are when given the time and scope to create for themselves rather than being told ‘how’ and ‘what’. The students I’m teaching now live in a different world and learn differently to those I taught only a few years ago! Therefore I am changing the way I teach. I am definitely working alongside students more these days, learning with them and letting them lead the way sometimes. Over the holidays I’ve packed up (or thrown away) the files and many boxes of resources I have collected over the years (who needs them anyway right?), and I’m transforming my office into a space where students can go to build, create, discover and dream; to problem solve and challenge themselves or others; to overcome and fail, to work together or alone. I envisage a kind of a tool shed with everything from toilet rolls to electrical circuit boards, Lego to computer programming capability. Well, that’s the audacious plan anyway!
3. Who or what inspires you?
One day it is an idea or quote that someone has tweeted, the next something a student says (usually ‘Oh, I get it now!’) sometimes I wander through the classroom of a colleague and think ‘wow’. Often it’s when I’m walking around the Wellington waterfront appreciating all the sculpture and art on display and the beautiful city I’m lucky enough to live in!
4. What’s your next professional learning goal?
Besides trying to figure out how I’m going to fit everything I want to do into the timetable this year… I would like to develop and implement a computer coding programme into my school, I believe it’s going to be a compulsory part of the curriculum eventually and want to get my head around it now.
5. When I’m not teaching, I’m…
Running up and down hills, building a house on a cliff, cooking for friends, eating out with friends, drinking wine in the sun and dreaming of summer holidays in Golden Bay.