The Head of Education role is primarily to collaborate with educators and provide curriculum direction and guidance, and lead the development and implementation of an effective educational program.
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What’s It Like To Be Head of Education?
What does your role involve?
I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades at Cool, working across most areas of the organisation. With the Education Team, I’m involved in numerous projects which means I’m in touch with our wonderful partners, helping the team determine the path of the resources and being a sounding board for questions from the team.
I also work with Mike and the Digital Marketing team to help communicate the many educational resources we have with our ever-expanding community of educators and providing insights into how our resources are being used.
And then there’s all the less glamorous administrative stuff I do to help keep the wheels on across Cool: setting up projects, refining processes and being a champion of hashtags in emails.
I feel incredibly fortunate to be in the role I’m in; it gives me a fantastic cross-section of the entire organisation, allowing for a much greater appreciation of how interconnected all the various aspects of our work are.
What does a typical day look like?
The only “typical” thing about my days is that there are no two days that look the same, it’s always something different. One day, I could be copy-editing lessons and working with writers; the next day, I could be working on long-term business planning.
What road did you take to get to your current role?
After seeing Jurassic Park at the age of six, I wanted to be a paleontologist. Realising Scotland isn’t a hotbed for new paleontological discoveries, I moved on to the much more modest ambition of being a guitarist in an internationally touring band. Somewhere along the way, I decided that becoming a Science teacher was a much more exciting prospect and so I went on to study Microbiology and Teaching at the glorious University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. From there, I taught Science and Biology for four years.
When I first arrived in Aus, I continued my teaching career. After a while, I made the hard decision to leave teaching for the sake of my mental wellbeing. From there, I worked in an Ed-Tech Startup where I was primarily coaching schools to use the resources the company made. Throughout this time, I worked a couple of side-hustles as an Educational Consultant with an unnamed media organisation (clue: mouse ears and capes are two of their biggest exports) and as a freelance Science writer. All of these experiences helped me level-up to be able to take on the role I’m in now.
What hurdles did you overcome?
For me, the biggest challenge I had was making the decision to leave the classroom. Since I was a teenager, I always saw myself as a teacher and so to leave the teacher’s life behind felt like giving up my identity. In the end, though, I knew I had to make the leap because my deteriorating mental health was starting to impact me not just at home but in the classroom and I didn’t want to have that affecting my students. Getting on top of depression and anxiety, where one part of your brain tells you that nothing will get better and the other part is conjuring up all of the things that could go wrong, continues to be a daily challenge but I have much more time in my life to focus on the things that help me stay in a much more positive mindset. I try to bring this more positive mental state with me and use it in everything that I do.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Mornings require two things: coffee and pug hugs. Once I’ve had those two things, I’m ready to face the day.
There’s no doubt we, as a species, have a lot of challenges. Just as we created or accelerated the rate of change for all of the challenges this planet faces, we are equally in charge of changing circumstances for the better and so every day I get to work with a team of people supporting teachers and young people to be the agents of change across the planet. That’s special and it’s a powerful driving force.
What is your superpower??
Bestowing obscure nicknames to unsuspecting colleagues.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Enjoy your hairline while it’s still there!
Tell us your fave quote…
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way” – Marcus Aurelius
I love this quote so much because it’s helped me in so many different situations and circumstances. It basically means that, in life, we’re going to face challenges and some of those challenges will seem unbeatable, insurmountable. When faced with those challenges, we must make that challenge the inspiration for what we do next. Tackle the thing holding you back head on and let that become the fuel for the fire that drives you.