Meet Helen, the Assistant Principal and Senior Classroom Teacher at The Cheshire School!
What is your job here at bestchance and how long have you worked here?
I am the Assistant Principal/Head of Education and Senior Classroom Teacher. I have worked at bestchance for exactly two years. It is my two year anniversary.
What is the average work day like for you?
I get into school between 7:30am and 8:00am and start to prepare for the day. I also brief the team about what the day will look like. For instance, we may have new students who will need extra support or we may have a student who is struggling with regulating their emotions and we need to monitor them. Then I usually have to meet with a few parents to chat, so my mornings are often unpredictable. I always catch up with my line manager Dr Kylie Jackson to discuss any important issues. The rest of my day is pretty full on, as I teach in the classroom. Me and my team rarely get breaks or time to sit down as there is always something happening.
At the end of the school day, when all of the students have been collected, I debrief with the team, attend meetings and catch up with paper work such as planning, assessments and marking.
What are some of your favourite things about working at The Cheshire School?
I love being in the classroom and seeing the ‘light bulb moment’ in a student because they have suddenly grasped a concept. Nearly all of our students arrive with low self-confidence and they often believe that they cannot learn, so when they suddenly get that ‘Eureka’ moment it makes me smile. The students are all different and keep me on my toes which I like and I never have to clock watch, as the day flies by.
Graduations are always very gratifying. It is always amazing to remember what the student was like when they first came to The Cheshire School and then see their transformation into a confident and motivated young person.
I am also very lucky to work with talented and fun people.
What is some advice you have for anyone wishing to pursue a career in ECI/education?
You have to have a passion for learning because you need to put 120% into teaching. Building relationships with students is vital. If you want to be a teacher you need lots of energy and you need to be very creative. The ability to think on your feet also helps!
What is the best part of being a teacher?
It is so rewarding. Once you have built up a relationship with a student you get to see them thrive. There isn’t a better feeling in the world than seeing a student grow and want to learn. I love the fact that young students have so much energy and creativeness. They see the world differently to adults (we can often be like Roald Dahl characters) they see wonder in everything and they are curious. What I like most of all about my work is that I laugh so much, students can be so funny.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Australia. I moved from the Uk to be here. I love it.
Who is your hero? If you could meet them and ask one question what would it be?
My hero is Elizabeth I. She was an English Queen (at a time when only men were allowed to rule) who defied the odds. There were so many attempted assassinations on her life and yet she continued undaunted. It was such an achievement for her to become Queen. I would ask her about where she got the courage to defy convention.
What is your favourite place in Melbourne? Why?
The Royal Botanical Gardens because they are spectacular, plus they are free to visit. The gardens remind me of the scenery in Jurassic Park. The trees and plants are very different to the ones in England.
What is your favourite guilty pleasure snack/food?
That is an easy one. Chocolate.
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
I would like the power to be omnilingual, to have the ability to speak and understand any language. I am trying to perfect my French as my niece is French/English and I want to be able to speak to her in both languages. She is bilingual at three years of age.
What is one of your favourite childhood memories?
My favourite childhood memory is sitting with my dad and looking at the stars. He would tell me all about them.