How long have you been teaching for?My first year of teaching was in 2011. I was really fortunate to gain a full time teaching role in PREP in Mackay-8 hours from home. I was then transferred west of Mackay to a very small town called Dysart a mining community. I spent the next two years teaching Prep and Year 4. Since 2014 I have been on Maternity Leave. I returned to work at the end of 2014 to continue teaching as a relief teacher. My degree is a Bachelor of Education Middle School-Majoring in lower primary. I am qualified to teach grades Prep-10.
How did you come to be a teacher?I am unsure as to why I pursued teaching, to be honest. I was accepting to studying Marketing and Business and after a year of deferring I changed my mind and chose teaching. I can remember as a little girl wanting to be a teaching, wanting to ‘mark the roll’-how funny. I believe now a lot of my personality to help others made my choice of becoming a teacher quite easy.
Do you have a successful lesson plan you could share?I believe a successful lesson needs to cater for all abilities and needs to be delivered in a meaningful, fun and positive way. Students like to know why the content is important and where to apply it to their everyday life. My most successful lessons are based on engagement, I want my students to feel confident in their own abilities.
I begin my lessons with things I know the students know on the topic, this aids in the confidence as it doesn’t appear challenging, as they already know some information and our job is to build on their knowledge. I always make it really clear what our lesson looks like, how it will run and my expectations of them. I keep my lessons short and to the point to ensure maximum attention.
We always reflect on what we have just learnt and give them feedback on their work. I take a moment to look at the level of completion and can quickly identify which students need to retouch on this area at a later date. I believe learning should be fun and interesting and hold purpose with the students. I am a huge advocate for children steering their own learning, I am the facilitator to their learning opportunities and scaffold their learning sequence to their individual needs.
Do you have a funny story to share or a funny thing a student has said?Prep is the BEST. There is NOT a day that goes by that I don’t thank them for a little cackle. They are so imaginative and straightforward. I have learnt a lot by being a prep teacher and I believe starting in the foundational stages of learning, has been a huge benefit to my career.
Cue me in my first year giving three instructions to Prep: Complete the worksheet, Colour and Glue, well I just hadn’t made it around quick enough with their books before I had students gluing their sheets to the TABLE.
I always like to throw in extension questions, really getting their thinking happening. One day a delightful student gave me the answer beautifully. I was excited, clapping my hands I asked her, if she could please share with the class how she solved the problem (Thinking she would use amazing non teacher language and I would see the whole class’s little light bulbs flashing.) She replied with “I dunno Miss- my brain told me.” There have been so many incredible moments in the teaching career-I was told that I should write them all down. I wish I had and when I return maybe I might just get onto that!
Tell us about Healthy Active MumsHealthy Active Mums is evolving quickly. I began a supportive Facebook over a year ago, we have grown to nearly 800 mums who share their healthy meals and how they are being active. We make sure everyone feel supportive and safe in our group where we only accept positivity. We believe in looking after ourselves to ensure we can be the best mums for our families. We want mums to be happy and confident women.
I now am a certified Nutrition Coach. I love coming up with healthier versions on the old favourite family meals and healthy baking is relaxing to me, I love trying new recipes and filling the ingredients list with healthier substitutes, which still taste great. Being active comes easily to me, knowing all the levels of what is healthy eating is where I personally struggled, I learned so much and wanted to help other mums, as I become busier with questions I wanted to gain the correct qualifications to ensure my advice was correct. I now offer online programs with a PT who specialises in Post Partum Fitness, Nutrition programs and affordable weekly coaching one on one.
We also meet up for events to ensure mums are not alone, this is my why. I was so lonely post baby #1 sitting 20kg over my normal weight and I gave up on it “Falling off with breastfeeding” like everyone said it would. If anything it was going up. I needed a change, and looking back I am so thankful I get the help mums to find their way too.
How do you juggle teaching and your biz?At this stage I work at a relief teacher and I LOVE it. It gives me the flexibility I need and I love being able to walk in teach (I am in no way a babysitter for the day). I pride myself on keeping the children on task, happy and always meet the teachers needs.
I use the time before and after school and my lunch time, to check into the group, schedule consults and look for new recipe inspiration for my clients. Having little prep allows me to multitask which I enjoy the constant change of pace.
Any tips/advice for teachers to keep themselves healthy?My first tip is any little change is a step in the right direction. We often don’t need to overhaul our lives, we just need to tweak a few ways, get comfortable with them and then tweak even further gradually. I believe people give up to often because they go all in too fast and too much to keep sustain their new lifestyle.
Start small and be proud of what you are achieving, give it a year and strive to be better each month. Don’t focus on weight loss, that will come with be healthier and active, focus on how you feel and your new confidence and energy levels. That way your focusing the positive, you will go further focusing on the positives.
Tell us about your family - what activities are your kids into at the moment?I have a very supportive husband who believes in me and supports my ideas of balance. My children are Alexander 2.5yrs and Ruby 11 months. Both are very active children (like all). The most joy I get is when my little boy joins in the kitchen cooking or a workout at home. I love it when he says “Good job Mum!” I feel proud I am making healthier choices for them and that being active is ‘normal’ in our family. We are in no way perfect, my little boy still has chocolate milk when shopping even though I try first with a yoghurt and we have fish and chips by the ocean and ice-creams on a hot summers day. I am a big believer in balance, and I love making memories with my children. It’s the little changes that add up, like sharing the ice-cream with the little ones or making sure you have a big salad before you hit the chips.
I believe children can’t make the healthy choices for themselves until they are older and understand, it’s important to do your best to show them what healthy means and why it’s important.
Thanks for being here today Eliza and for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm feeling all kinds of motivated to hit the gym and order a green smoothie instead of that second coffee next time I'm out.
You can find Eliza and be part of the Healthy Active Mums community here...