“I have had opportunities to step outside the classroom and take on curriculum roles, but right now, I love being in the classroom. Having the HAT certification means that I don’t need to feel the pressure to move out of the classroom. I now have the ball in my court – it has given me options to decide when I want to step up the ladder, rather than feeling pressured or pushed in that direction.”
Jessica had been aware of the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher pilot and initially wasn’t going to apply until a colleague emailed her and said, ‘I hope you are going to apply for this’.
“Because of colleagues’ feedback and observations of my teaching, I knew that I must be doing a good job in the classroom. I’m often targeted as a teacher to support and mentor beginning teachers or new teachers to my school… but it just makes a difference to have the recognition of how much commitment I have to my job,” Jessica says.
“I have always been big on the idea of keeping good teachers in the classroom and I think that HAT certification process is a huge step in the right direction.”
We all need to be taking more photos of what we do. That was one thing I found. It took looking through photos to remind me of some of the really good things that I have done. So, having photos I found to be very beneficial.
My biggest advice for the portfolio would be to take a much wider view of your teaching, so instead of focusing on a great moment or a great lesson, focus more on feelings and great progress – I know some colleagues that went through the process and from the feedback that they got, it (their portfolio) was just not a wide enough view of their teaching. Avoiding the ‘Here’s a day in my classroom’, to doing ‘Here is what walking in my teacher’s shoes looks like’.
It’s really difficult to talk yourself up, but it is so important to do that in the process.
After six years’ teaching in Lockhart River and at Bamaga, Jessica will be moving south this year, partly to be closer to family.
She says achieving the High Accomplished teacher certification made her feel proud.
“I was really excited … it was exciting to know that all the hard work was worthwhile” she says.