Hugh Tomkins and Megan Bown were both recipients of the 2018 Newington Education Scholarship, a teacher education program that is provided by Newington College.
Receiving the Newington Education scholarship is an incredible honour and has been a great opportunity to experience teaching at one of Sydney’s most prestigious schools. The scholarship program involves completing our final placement with a class at Newington College preparatory school at the Lindfield campus (Hugh) and Stanmore campus (Megan). The scholarship also involves us working with the school in different ways approximately two days per week, and additionally actively participating in the wider Newington community through co-curricular activities.
Hugh & Megan, Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) graduates
Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Education (Primary Education)
My experience at Newington’s Lindfield prep campus to date has been nothing but exciting and full of learning opportunities. The students and staff have been very welcoming over the past two terms with myself being involved in many curricular and co-curricular activities across all stages.
Lindfield prides itself on their approach to inquiry-based student-centred learning through their involvement within the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP). This was particularly exciting for me as it was a new way of teaching that my own personal teaching philosophy believes in. Students become the facilitators of their own learning in which their own interest is used to help promote a learning environment full of engagement, risk-taking and relevance.
My first day at Newington really encompassed the passion that the students have for their campus as well as their commitment to mateship and healthy competition. The swimming carnival was a great introduction to see the love of school that these students displayed. Further to this, seeing the students supporting their friends and bringing each other up made for a great day that made me excited for the upcoming time I was about to spend with these students.
My personal experiences have had me working collaboratively with fellow teachers and students across a range of learning areas with literacy being my main focus. Working closely with other teachers has helped me to get a better grasp and new techniques in teaching this topic to students. Furthermore, I have also been working one on one with students within the Minilit program to help and improve their own literacy skills.
These past two terms have been nothing but exciting and I cannot wait to see how my prac placement period, as well as the rest of the school year, goes.
Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Education (Primary Education)
What made you want to become a teacher?
Ever since I was a young child I loved teaching, I loved showing people and my teddy bears alike how to do something or sharing with them what I had just learnt. I love seeing students' eyes light up as they discover and understand what I have been trying to teach them. I love the opportunity being a teacher gives me to inspire the next generation to be confident, active citizens in our society. I love having the opportunity to encourage them and be the voice cheering them on to accomplish their goals.
What has been a highlight of your time at UTS?
Definitely having the opportunity to teach overseas in Samoa - wow! What an experience! It was such a valuable experience that gave us the opportunity to really immerse and engage ourselves in another country and culture. It was so enjoyable to teach the students who had such a positive attitude for education - unlike so many students in Australia who simply just don't know how blessed they are. Teaching in Samoa also challenged us to use different resources and approaches due to their limited access to technology. A memory I won't forget.
Tell us about your experience as a Newington Education Scholarship recipient
I’m at Newington's other preparatory school, Wyvern, in Stanmore. Like the Lindfield campus, from day one, the staff and students at Wyvern have been a constant source of encouragement, inspiration and support. My role at Wyvern includes working closely with the boys in the year two class I am undertaking my final placement with, and the STEM room, where I assist and teach lessons to boys across year levels.
Similar to Hugh, I have jumped right into the Newington community by involving myself in co-curricular activities including the Robotics Club, STEM Club and school excursions. Through such activities, I have learnt many skills and techniques that will shape my teaching career. Furthermore, these experiences have shown me a creative, innovative and exciting aspect of teaching, particularly through amazing experiments and challenges in the STEM room.
The STEM room at Wyvern is a truly unique space offered to the boys that encourages and challenges the boys’ thinking. Boys in year 2–6 are provided one hour of teaching time per week in the STEM room by the STEM specialist teacher. These lessons are always hands-on with a wide range of resources to assist them to design and make almost anything they set their minds on. A specific lesson that comes to mind included planning, designing and making a sustainable ‘improvement’ to a space within the school. Together, boys researched and gathered information from a range of sources, then designed and created models of their ideas using recycled materials and craft resources.
The teaching degree at UTS allows tertiary students to visit approximately 6 different schools within the 4 year program. Wyvern is my last school in my degree I will get to see, allowing me the benefit of hindsight and reflection upon my previous 5 schools I have completed placement at.
With this in mind, I can honestly say, every time I’m at Wyvern I am overwhelmed as I walk down the hallways and see A. MAZE. ING. artworks boys have made, and observe and assist in lessons other schools can only dream of experiencing – the boys at Wyvern have no idea just how blessed they are to attend such a school and have access to such incredible resources. The products and artworks they make are testaments to the investment and sacrifice of parents and teaching staff.
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