Andrew’s career as a teacher began when he was just 17, teaching swimming at the Kew Recreation Centre.
After transitioning into a Master of Teaching at Melbourne University, he has never considered another career, ‘The idea of helping students to grow in specific skill sets has always been a delight for me. Whether it was correcting stroke technique, leading students to that grand epiphany behind a novel’s inner workings, or helping students to craft their written masterpieces, teaching has always given me a thrill.’ Andrew has been teaching English in the Middle and Senior School for eight years and says, ‘The School provides me the capacity to be the daft, eccentric English-mad person that I am.’
‘Do what you love and do so without reservation or concern for dignity or what people might think or say about you. Dignity stems from the confidence to embrace your true passions.’
What makes you so passionate about English? The area of English I am most passionate about is the study of argument. We unpack how writers seek to persuade and convince readers of a particular contention, something that I think regardless of where Fintonians go post-schooling they will invariably come up against at some point in their lives. The critical thought that English encourages girls to look at persuasive writing with a level of critique, ensuring that they don’t take convincing words at face value, but take the time to be wary of what others may expect of them. This skill, I believe, is vital to helping people to be independent, confident and to express their views, recognising that the world may not necessarily agree with them, but that they are free to express those beliefs.
What is one thing you hope students remember from your classes? I hope the girls take from my class that self-respect comes from a passion for one’s interests. If you love what you do, pomp and circumstance are unimportant. Do what you love and do so without reservation or concern for dignity or what people might think or say about you. Dignity stems from the confidence to embrace your true passions.
‘I frequently end classes feeling completely out of breath, and I hope my students may experience the same.’
What is it like to be in your class? Exhausting I should imagine. I am very conscious of the frenetic and energetic pace I charge through my lessons! I am frequently telling my students to arrest me should I go through the content too quickly, for when I get invested in an idea or concept from a text, I become incredibly excited and want to share with the students all the possible connections we might make. Similarly, I have been known to shriek with excitement when students offer unique insights into the content we work through, which can sometimes catch my students off guard. I frequently end classes feeling completely out of breath, and I hope my students may experience the same.
What are three books everyone needs to read and why? There are so many books I have loved with a burning passion, but when you ask which three people NEED to read…that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
Frankenstein. As most would know, it discusses the dangers of technological experimentation without restraint, but it is also so much more human than people realise. The creature’s abandonment and reflections on the very nature of being human is incredibly prolific.
The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald unpacks the dangers of humanity’s lack of meaning or purpose behind a life dedicated to material ownership and how it can corrupt the human spirit to the point of self-destruction.
Station Eleven. What I respect most about the text is its recognition that human society depends almost entirely on the connections formed between people. Yet these connections are unbelievably fragile and as a society we need to be conscious of the need to change values and beliefs as this societal structure is changed, reshaped, and nurtured to keep the human heart beating into the future.