Home' Capricornus Quarterly : CQ April 2017 Contents SCHOLARSHIP
For the love of English
RGS teacher Mrs Julieanne Harris is
passionate about English and literature across
the whole School. Acknowledging this, the
English Teachers Association of Queensland
has involved Mrs Harris in its I Heart English
Teaching campaign to help celebrate ETAQ’s
50th anniversary this year. This is what teaching
English means to Mrs Julieanne Harris:
Why are you an English teacher? As
English teachers, we have a world of
stories at our fingertips and classes full of
young people who need someone to listen
to their stories. There’s always joy to be
made or found in an English classroom and
no day is ever the same as another.
I’m an English teacher because I appreciate
the significance of the learning it offers
young people. It ’s the place where they
learn about themselves, their place in the
world and how to express those ideas.
Why would I want to be doing anything
else? It’s the place I feel most useful.
What do you love about English teaching?
It’s true that whilst the Sciences teach us about
life, the Arts teach us how to live it. English
teaching works like no other subject. You can
teach the same novel, play or poem for fifty
years and have fifty different experiences.
It’s all about that magical interplay between
text, context and fresh perspectives.
Contrary to public perception, English
teachers don’t just deal in drafts, essays
and report cards... Our core business
is in fact, people. Through stories and
reflections, we are gifted with the knowledge
of our students’ dreams, quiet ambitions
and sources of deep anguish and joy.
We learn these things and as time passes,
we are blessed with a poignant view of
society’s emergent social and cultural
landscapes. It is the most interesting, fulfilling
and humbling way to spend one’s life.
What is your best classroom moment?
The best ones are always when students ‘get
it’. I love being able to honour a student’s
work by reading it aloud in class without
revealing the author. I love reading Year 12s’
final assignments; their words are honest and
mature. Better still, their thinking flat-out defies
the teenage stereot ype. I wish the public could
know young people like English teachers do.
Every English teacher could tell you about a
moment when a student ’s story stole their
breath away. You can never underestimate the
power of words nor the places they come from.
What gets you excited about the future
of English teaching? I’m always excited by
opportunities to engage in new texts, fresh
thinking and understandings. We live in a super,
fast-paced time where technology is master.
It’s changing the way society communicates.
It’s created a penchant for shorter texts,
abbreviations and visual communication.
Many English teachers know that ‘reading
fitness’ is at risk. And we all know about
Orwell’s warnings. Whilst some may throw
their hands up in despair at everyday, modern
language practices, English teachers are
bunkering down, using their creativity to retain
engagement, wonderment and enthusiasm for
the beauty of language. It ’s our job. It ’s our
responsibility. It ’s certainly a challenging future
in that regard. Then again, perhaps therein
lies its attraction. I know it certainly is for me.
After all, we’re in the business of educating
young people and that ’s never boring.
Julieanne Harris has
taught English for 25
years and previously
taught at Innisfail, Cairns,
Emerald and Springsure.
Marius Zeil-Rolfe (Year 12) is back in the
classrooms after a “mind-blowing” experience
attending the National Youth Science Forum
(NYSF) in Canberra over the School holidays.
The two-week programme included lectures
from science industry leaders covering
areas such as neuroscience, photonics,
critical thinking and the “battle” between
science and anti-science in society.
Marius and his like-minded science
enthusiasts also visited world-class facilities
including Mt Stromolo Observatory, the
Deep Space Communication Complex
and the GRIFFIN Startup Accelerator.
Marius said one of the best scientific
experiences at NYSF was the video chat with
a leading particle physicist from CERN, the
European Organisation for Nuclear Research.
“It was amazing, he spoke about
discoveries made in the large Hadron
Collider, what his job involves and what future
discoveries might be like,’’ Marius said.
Marius said however, what he has
truly taken from the NYSF is not the
intellectual gain but the amount of
likeminded people he met and those
of which he remains in contact.
“My public speaking skills improved
significantly. I learnt so much about
my fields of interest in STEM. I made
so many new friends. And I have
changed my future plans, slightly.”
“The program led me to believe that I can
start my life now, not after school, such
that I can begin to research my interests
by attending International NYSF programs
and just thinking ‘bigger’ than School.”
The RGS Race Day event will proceed at the Jockey Club after
the flood. Local races may not occur due to track conditions.
RGS Race Day
Saturday, 6 May, 12.30pm at Callaghan Park
Marquee (Table of 8): $1500
Garden Party (per ticket): $120
Contact Rachael at email@example.com or
phone 4936 0776 for further details and ticket information.
Help support the Rockhampton Jockey Club after the Cyclone Debbie flood.
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