Lessons from the Field: Interview with Anne Mirtschin

This post is part of the The Teachers Certification Map’s “lessons from the field”, a series of posts featuring passionate, inspiring educators from across the country discussing some of the lessons that they have learned over the years that would help young teachers as they embark on their careers.

Anne Mirtschin teaches secondary students (years 7 to 12) at Hawkesdale P12 College in Victoria, in South Eastern Australia, which is a small rural school in a geographically and culturally remote area. She described to us that “most students live on farms or are drawn from small feeder towns within 20 minute drive.”

Anne previously taught years 2 to 12 Information and Communications Technology.  She has been teaching for more than 25 years.

Below is our interview with Anne:

What inspired you to teach?

As a young teenager, I taught Sunday School and loved teaching children. In those days, there were few options for women – secretarial studies, air hostess (I was too short), hairdressers and teaching. I chose teaching and have never regretted it. I love the buzz of school, am sociable by nature, enjoy seeing the students develop into young adults and pursue their goals.

What classroom methods are most helpful in pushing students towards their goals?

My role as a teacher is changing now and I have become more of a facilitator. I tend to learn with the students as they are innovative and naturally digital. My goal is to create life long learners and teach them how to achieve this. In the last few years, we have embraced many web2.0 tools, including blogging, wikis, nings, google applications, voicethreads, podcasting etc. Students relate well to these tools and it gives them an amazing interactive opportunity in education. Videoconferencing and working on global projects with schools and students around the world, teaching them digital citizenship, netiquette and cybersafety. They are developing a valuable global social network and are being trained for the global world that is theirs. I try and incorporate the full range of media so that students can use the learning style that suits them.

What is the one thing you wish you’d known when you started in the classroom?

Just how vast the role of a teacher is – educator, nurse, psychologist, trainer, advisor etc.

Do you have a masters in education?

I do not have a masters in education but would encourage the young teachers today to gain one as I feel this will be a necessity soon.

What did your training teach you that was most helpful in preparing you to enjoy and thrive in a classroom today?

When I trained I was in a, then, innovative institution where I had teacher placement in the same school for 2 days every week of the year. I had a great supervisor and that prepared me well for teaching when I was out on my own

What skills could more developed if you were to enroll in a teacher training program? What would you like to improve about your teaching?

I think team teaching, working in collaborative and virtual  teams, learning how to easily embrace the new technology, seeking and gaining feedback from parents and students about my teaching practice in the classroom. How to facilitate and put my course work up online so students can work at their own pace and I help them when they need help? How to prepare for 21st century education, and change the classroom right around where learning will be online, 24/7/365, anywhere, anytime and the students in my class may not be from my country.

Do you know someone with great insights to share with young teachers, or do you want to be considered for an interview? If so, please email us at hello@certificationmap.com.

This is a guest post from our journalist Alex J. Mann.  You can subscribe to his blog hereand follow him on Twitter here.