Perhaps you are a fellow student at UTS?
Or perhaps you have just stumbled on this site?
Wherever you are from, welcome! This page will give you a bit of background about me so you can understand a little about the perspectives from which I write.
- This blog was originally set up in 2008 for a Masters of Education subject where we had to do a blog.
- Then in 2009 it became a diary of what the PhD process was like. There is also my research wiki: http://pruesalter.wikispaces.com/.
- I also did (for a bit of fun) a Cert 11 Course in Animal Studies at Taronga Zoo in 2009 – a real contrast to the first year of the PhD!
- After the PhD was finished the focus changed to looking at how we can improve the current educational system, particularly the experience of students in Year 11 and 12. This is part of a long term project I want to do and I was capturing thoughts and ideas along the way. W
- When Covid started I quickly realised this was a unique moment in history and I wanted to capture my thoughts (and all the memes which give a real insight into general feel during this time. I’m a chronicler.
- Who knows what the blog will become next after this pandemic (hopefully) ends.
This blog is really for me – I like to get things out of my head and capture them and write them down.
Here’s the short version of ‘about me’:
I was a high school teacher (Maths and English) for around 10 years in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. I now run a study skills business where I:
i) write resources for teachers to use with students to help them develop their study skills
ii) run sessions for year groups to help students develop their study skills
iii) develop and maintain online study skills websites for students and schools to use
I am also continuing my own studies.
Here’s the longer version:
Firstly, I am a perpetual student! I always say ‘that’s it, no more studying’ and within a year of finishing one degree something has caught my interest and I have started again. I finished my HSC in 1986 with a UAI of 99.1. I liked English and liked Maths so for want of any more attractive options at uni I did a double degree: Bachelor of Maths in Maths and Stats and Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. I’d always wanted to teach but as I had great results everyone said ‘you can’t be a teacher’ (looking back now I realise how ridiculous that is – surely we want people who do well to go into teaching!) so I took a job in the corporate world doing marketing at IBM.
I loathed the corporate world. Up to that point I had been a total philistine, I’d not worn make-up, stockings, jewelry and suddenly I was having to dress in suits and present a polished appearance which is totally unlike me. I am a jeans every day kind of girl. I also didn’t like the job. In my idealistic twenties I thought that making money for a big corporation was an unworthy way to spend your life (now I realize someone has to sell the computer I am currently typing on). So after a year when IBM was having big problems worldwide (this was 1991) and offered redundancies I took a teaching job instead, just like I’d originally wanted to do, and walked away with a 10K redundancy package – which was huge for a year’s service!
My first teaching job was at a small school. They must have been desperate. I was interviewed Friday and on Monday I was in the classroom teaching Year 12 Maths despite having no formal teaching qualifications. I also had not quit IBM or returned the company car as I was officially on holidays so I had a busy week that week…
The school was very supportive, timetabled their school timetable the next year around my uni timetable so I could do my Dip Ed and be formally trained. After a few years, plans changed and I quit as the next year I was getting married and we planned to move overseas so I didn’t think it was fair to quit in the middle of the year. So for the first half of that year I lectured at uni in third year pedagogy and tafe in business statistics then packed up and off we went on a three month European jaunt – our first trip overseas. The plan was we’d stop in Singapore on the way back, if we got jobs we’d stay, if not, we’d come home.
We got jobs. We stayed. For 4 years. We became permanent residents. We bought government housing. We moved to Hong Kong. We stayed 2 years. Asian Economic Crisis. We had to sell our flat. Lost money. Stupid economic crisis.
We had a fabulous time living in Asia. In Singapore I taught at the Australian International School (Maths and Computing) and in Hong Kong I was a NET teacher. This was a new scheme ‘Native English Teacher’ where the government would stick a native speaker in a school and wham the English skills of the school would miraculously improve. In theory. The reality varied widely school form school. More on that another time. Despite this being over 8 years ago now I still am good friends with lots of staff from both schools and the whole experience enriched my life and my perspective on the world.
While I was away I did a Masters of Accountancy (I don’t know quite what I was thinking, I had this idea that I wanted to do some Maths that was grounded in the real world instead of theoretical stuff). I also taught myself html coding during this time which became really useful later on.
RETURN TO OZ
I returned to Australia mid 2000, in time for the Sydney Olympics. At first I hated being back – a typical expat experience. Australia was boring, dull, same old same old, missed the travel, plus it was an el nino year and it rained and rained and rained. Man I hated Sydney. (I love it now and would not want to live anywhere else). I took a job teaching at SCEGGS Darlinghurst (a school I cannot speak highly enough about) and loved my time there. I’d always ended up a Year Coordinator as I have good rapport with the kids and genuinely enjoy helping them both on the academic and personal side. I was there 4 years and it was while I was a coordinator that my ideas for my current business grew.
START OF ELES
I’d always thought that it was just because I was in Asia that I couldn’t get people in to talk about study skills to the students. Then when I came back I found that either the speakers had good content, but were dry and dull or were oh so flashy and exciting – but with no content. I started developing the types of sessions and resources that I wanted my students to have access to.
The school was very supportive and I went more and more part-time. As of 2010, I have been running ELES for 4 years part-time to start and now 6 years full time. I have written about 20 different resources for teachers to use with students, I run around 300 sessions a year in high schools to give student ideas on how they can improve results and I am spending an enormous amount of time on my latest and greatest project which is an on-line study skills handbook. At the moment, I plan to continue the business as it is until 2012 by which time I need to have made a decision about which direction I will move the three branches of the business.
I finished a Master of Education in 2008 and my doctorate 2015, exploring a whole school approach to developing students’ self-regulated learning skills.
If you want to know more, there is a more formal bio here: http://www.enhanced-learning.net