Keynote speaker Shelley Ware is perhaps best known for her work on the SBS footy show, Marngrook, yet she’s an experienced and practising primary school teacher based in Victoria and is author of the educational resource, Teaching Notes for Sunshine Classics.
Shelley spoke with us recently about her love for teaching, her experience in writing and working with editors and publishers, and the importance of learning resources being quickly engaging for students.
You’ve noted that from a young age you wanted to be a teacher. What was the genesis of this career goal?
Yes, I have always wanted to be a teacher. My father Bob Ware valued education and the pathways it created in your life. My mother Jan Ware went back to study nursing in her late 30s so education has always been important to me because of their inspiration and thinking.
In your experience, to what extent do teachers rely on good-quality texts in the classroom?
Good quality, interesting, children-friendly texts are vital for the classroom. You want to engross students and help develop their love for reading. Teachers fully rely on good-quality texts; they are a part of the big picture to engage students to have a lifelong passion to read and learn.
What was the process like in developing Teaching Notes for publication? How did you tackle research, writing and editing it?
We treated Teaching Notes as a resource teachers could pick up and use without having to read the text beforehand and do any preparation. A teacher’s day is so busy and we wanted to make life easier for them. We developed a tool to help a time-pressured teacher get the most out of their busy planning and reading sessions.
What insights did you get about educational publishing in writing Teaching Notes for Sunshine Books?
I learnt about publishing deadlines and how quickly publishers want your work! And also about the amazing support and skills editors have. I very much appreciated them!
You were a literacy program coordinator for four years. What can you tell us about literacy and the role good books and resources play in schools today?
The books I chose as a literacy program coordinator needed to engage my students quickly and they loved the books I picked out for them. If I chose a book that didn’t engage them it was sent to the back of the pile never to be used again, only in case of emergencies. Easy to read, colourful, well laid out and well written books are essential.
What would you say is the role of educational publishing in an innovative classroom?
Educational publishing has a responsibilty role is to engage learners of all ages and levels. The publisher has an obligation to listen to the students and teachers about what their needs are.
In an article you’re mentioned to have said that you love Aussie Rules because of the opportunities it gives people, which is often said of education as well. Are they the same in any other ways?
I love the opportunities education gives people! I wouldn’t have the life I have without education playing a huge role. Football and education are both exciting, exhilarating and with you for the long haul. Always by your side giving you a focus and passion in your life that keeps your soul alive.
Learn more about Shelley Ware.