Meeting Future Teachers

By Dr Geoff Hughes, UNE Discovery

In late May, UNE and Armidale Secondary College hosted some very special guests. Several high schools around the region, including ASC, Guyra Central School, and Uralla Central School, have recently started Future Teachers Clubs, where high schoolers that are interested in becoming teachers get a taste of what it’s like to do the job. On May 24th and 25th, the Future Teachers from these local schools were joined by the Future Teacher’s Club from Macquarie Fields High School in Sydney, which has a long-standing Future Teachers Club of its own.

On May 24th, the Future Teachers visited UNE, starting with a welcome to country from ASC student Jaylee, followed by an inspiring speech from ASC School Captain, Jacob. The Future Teachers were then introduced to how teacher’s college works at UNE, and then had a tour of the campus, which ended in the Natural History Museum.

My part in the day came in at this point. I gave a talk to the students about being an effective science communicator: considering the viewpoint of their audience, considering the best way to get their subject matter across, and considering all of the resources available to them to do so. This was important for them to hear, because after lunch, the Future Teachers were broken up into groups, where they were tasked to develop their own science lesson plans. I helped out the groups that were developing a plan for making up new animals, which is very similar to UNE Discovery’s “Living Latin” program.

The point of all this effort became clear the next day, when all of the Future Teachers gathered at ASC to deliver their lesson plans to several hundred primary children from schools all over New England. I stayed with my groups, who were doing the “new animal” programs, so I didn’t get to see the other programs in action. However, all of the kids seemed to enjoy getting their creative juices flowing, and made some amazing little critters out of the craft supplies that they were given.

I had a blast working with the Future Teachers (and their teachers) over those days. The Macquarie Fields students were able to share their experience with the Future Teachers from the local schools, and both got to benefit from the exchange. And a whole lot of primary students got to have a fun day at Armidale Secondary College, too!