Teachers that Inspire Everyday.

Teachers that inspire everyday are found in classrooms everywhere throughout the country. With the summer holidays in Australia now over and students preparing to head back to the classroom for another year I wanted to remind them that there are some wonderful  and inspirational teachers ready and waiting to take them on a journey of discovery and learning. Over the years I have known and taught with many motivational teachers that seek to bring inspiration into their classroom through unique and diverse learning experiences.

Whether your child is taking their first steps towards kindergarten or their final steps into year 12, over the years they will come across an amazing variety of exceptional people to guide and nurture their growth and understanding of the world around them.

Teachers hail from many walks of life and bring with them life experiences that remain in our children's memory throughout their adulthood.

In the second book in my early reader series, 'Alien Shenanigans' we meet a new character, Mr Haggardy, that I have modeled from several colleagues that I found to be exceptionally inspirational teachers.

In the story, Mr Haggardy is the year six classroom teacher that Brian Bradberrie finds himself with. A teacher with previous life experience and a love for science that he brings to the classroom.

"Mr Haggardy was a cool hippie-like dude with long blonde hair he kept tied in a pony tail. He had an unkempt beard and he wore torn jeans with a Hawaiian shirt never tucked in or ironed. You could have a joke with him, but you also knew when he was serious and this, was one of those moments"project-childrensbook_Page_01

Although I could say there are many teachers I have learnt from over the years. One teacher that stands out in my memory of my high school days was my Ancient History teacher. I will never forget the day someone asked him a question in class he did not know the answer to. We didn't have the internet or Google in those days so a quick moment to research in class was impossible. Instead he without hesitation admitted he didn't know, but promised to go to the library that evening and find the answer. As promised he returned with the answer the very next day. This has always struck a chord with me as not only was he honest but he had no hesitation in owning the fact that he didn't know something. This was a teacher that until then I believed to be the oracle of all things to do with ancient history. I realised that day that teachers couldn't possibly know it all and that it was ok to admit it. This teacher was one of my inspirations for becoming a teacher myself. I took this lesson learnt with me into my own years as a teacher and although I always prepared my lessons as best I possibly could, I was confident in the knowledge that it was ok to show the kids I was human too!

When my sons embarked on their educational careers they too encountered many wonderful teachers. I wrote a blog 3 years ago when my youngest son began university. The blog post bestowed some of the special qualities of the teachers that stood out to me for him and his brothers. In it I mention the Kindergarten/Year one teacher who inspired my youngest to always challenge himself and strive to reach his full potential. The two teachers who helped mould my second son into a compassionate and tolerant adult and finally the teacher who my eldest son was lucky to have teach him twice, in year one and again in year 5. This fellow opened up the world of science to him in the most extraordinary ways. My eldest is now about to embark on his Phd as he continues along his journey of research and his thirst for knowledge. You will find further discussion on this at the link below.


Teachers surround us throughout our life even outside of the classroom. Mentors, work colleagues, other parents, even people in social media can all have an influence on our behaviours, knowledge and understanding of the world around us. We are never too old or too young to learn. So whether it is a teacher like Mr Haggardy or someone like my Ancient History teacher in high school, I hope your children find that special teacher this year that piques their curiosity and inspires them on to strive towards whatever the future has install for them.

My best wishes for another wonderful year of learning.

Keep having fun reading.

Read together everyday.

Alien Shenanigans will be released very soon.


Always make Home Reading Fun!

Twelve months ago this week I began writing my first blog to help parents "Raise Awesome Readers." My goal was to assist and equip mums and dads with ideas that would make the learning process at home easier, less stressful and above all fun and enjoyable for both parents and their children. Learning to read (and write) does not begin and end when the school day is finished. It has to be a partnership between the teacher and family, with both providing role models, mentors and a warm loving, caring and supportive environment.

1381497_525197787571730_1819947331_nOver the year I have posted many quotes on my facebook page encouraging the importance of families reading together. None more so than the one I posted today. "Children should learn that reading is a pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school. Beverly Cleary." Along with the quote is a delightful picture of a child and his parents reading together, laughing and genuinely enjoying the shared experience. This is exactly what I have been advocating all along. It is essential not only in the growth of the child but in his/her potential to want to learn to read. A happy child is encouraged and will strive as he/she is a confident child.

My very first post on November 5, 2012, was titled Is the after school home reader a battle of wills?

I'd like to re-post it here now as a reminder that I do realise how difficult life can get trying to fit in home reading each day, but with a little pateince it is worth it in the end. Reading with your children can be a valuable, worthwhile experience, it is what we make it afterall.

Master six squirms on the lounge. He figdets and fiddles with the T.V. remote control , the cushions, anything he can get his hands on. He scratches his head while he turns, his ears are pricked to listen to the laughter of his older brother who is playing computer games in the next room. You desperately try to turn his attention back to the home reader at hand. So far he has managed to struggle through the first page. As usual this is going to be a long drawn out affair, a battle of wills.

You point at the next word, he rocks back and forth with a deep sigh. Just when you think the word is about to burst forth he cries out to the family dog instead. The dog wags it's tail and delighted with the attention, jumps up into his eager arms. They begin to rumble on the lounge. Son number three, (the baby of the family) is playing with blocks on the floor at your feet. Master six, now bored with the dog, slides off the lounge to join his younger brother, all thoughts of the home reader totally forgotten.

Time for you to take a deep breath, go make a cup of tea and re-group. He may have won the battle, but you can still win the war. A little love, time and patience can work wonders. Give him time to construct something amazing with those blocks, (little boys are hands-on creatures they need to be physical,) while you enjoy that soothing tea. Then come down to his level, join him on the floor. Make a word out of the blocks yourself, then ask Master six if he can make a word, any word he likes. If his classroom teacher uses sightwords, you should have a copy of the list. Suggest he makes a word from those, preferably one you know he can achieve. Start with the simple obvious words like mum, dad, dog, cat, anything that is familiar. Then introduce a word or two from the home reader. Before he realises it he has made a long list of words he knows. His confidence will grow triple fold.

Now re-open the home reader. Ask Master six if he can find each word one at a time on each page. If he finds a word, see if he can read it in the sentence or read the sentence together. before you know it. "hey presto!" he has "read" the entire book and he has had some fun along the way. :)

In the early years of learning to read, a home reader is one of the most important tools brought home from school. If read with a loved one evey day it really does make a world of difference in the development of the reading process. Children can get bored or frustrated with them when they are not changed regularly enough at school. Parents need to keep in mind that sometimes the school day has a very hectic schedule and the change of readers is not always possible. Parent helpers are always very much apprecaited. Don't forget to read other favourite books from home,(like Gingerbread Aliens a great early fun reader), libraries or swap with friends.

For further reading help and suggestions please read through some of my past blogs or drop by and leave me any questions or comments. I am always happy to help. :)