“My book ideas took off when I started spending time with young people”

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Beyond the classroom, I have been involved in brilliant projects including managing the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge and developing the education program for the Sydney Invictus Games. During the week of the Games, I produced a daily live television program hosted by students, which was exhilarating. In 2021, we have created a virtual Book Week festival for students, teachers and parents featuring Australian authors and illustrators. It was seen by over 150,000 students, which is epic!

How is the current pandemic year going for you so far? Are there any new challenges you are facing this year compared to last year?

Education has been altered by the pandemic, but technology continues to respond, adapt, and meet the challenges we face. Incredible innovations like telepresence robots [robots which include a video-camera, screen, speakers and microphones so you can have a virtual presence in another location] came to the fore – they are also in my new book!.

Did you have another career before becoming a teacher?

I worked in book publishing for ten years and wrote freelance before writing my first book. I’ve written 45 books since and I’m still going strong!

What advice do you have for people looking to get into this career? What experience do they need to enter this field?

In my case, life skills and industry knowledge were as essential to my education as my formal studies. I have degrees in English Literature, Government and International Relations, Journalism and Teaching, but my writing has also influenced my practice as an English teacher (and vice versa).

What personal skills do teachers need?

Teaching is all about collaboration and communication, and these skills are essential to transfer into the corporate sphere. My main motivation is equity in education, which is why I am passionate about my work. Writing books for young people is a complement to my career. My book ideas took off when I started spending time with young people. I find them fascinating and inspiring.

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