Early career advice from Pam Williams

April 2023

By Pam Williams, Relieving Head Teacher Mathematics and PDHPE teacher, Birrong Girls High School

Pam has been an educator for 30 years, with experience as Head Teacher PDHPE and Administration at various schools. Pam’s expert knowledge of PDHPE curriculum planning and syllabus has seen her lead and drive change across a wide range of initiatives.  Pam will present at our upcoming Early Career Teacher Conference, and penned this advice for early career teachers:

After 30 years of teaching (where did that time go seriously), to be honest, most days I LOVE to come to work. Especially as a PE teacher, I get to wear joggers to work!

I inherently believe in the value of what I am doing, I really do feel honoured that every day I can make a difference in someone else’s life.  I know that sounds corny, but it is true of our profession and not many people can say that in their job.

In fact, you probably won’t know the difference you made until many years later when an ex-student serves you at a shop and says “Hey Miss I wanted to tell you who I have become and you had a part in that”.

When people ask what I do, I am proud to say I am a teacher. You must be proud – don’t be your own worst enemy and run what you do down all the time. Be tired, be frustrated but believe in what you do.

Remember, teaching is an art and a craft, you must be a lifelong learner and as curious about things as you want your students to be. I am always reading, listening, seeking new ideas, and getting excited about sharing that with my colleagues.

No one is awesome straight away, try new things, maintain your flexibility, a desire to keep improving, and an empathy for your fellow teachers and students.

Most of the stress in teaching is the stuff that happens outside your classroom door – the admin and the demanding and relentless system of accountability. It isn’t going to change – but we can change our approach to it.

Don’t let it ruin what happens on the other side of the door inside your classroom. The classroom is where we are happiest with our students and remember those lessons, that just go so right – where you can stop for a second, the sun is shining, the kids are laughing and learning and say how cool is this – I get paid to do this!

Surround yourself with like-minded positive people, don’t get caught up in negativity it can seep into your practice and kill your soul. Seek positive voices and keep refining your practice.

Embrace making mistakes, and if you are wrong or make errors in front of kids, embrace that too. They will appreciate you being vulnerable and human… these forms relationships. And that is where students learn to love our subject!

Learn more about our Early Career Teacher conference – coming up 19 May 2023. Registrations close soon.

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