My name is Rachel Wills and I am a primary education teacher who was a targeted graduate from University in 2000. I have dedicated the last 14 years of my career in special needs education and the last 4 years on teacher mentoring. I am super passionate about mindset, finding your purpose, learning support, building classroom culture & teacher wellness.
My favourite piece of advice I give all the beginning teachers I work with....
BE THAT TEACHER YOU WISH YOU HAD AT SCHOOL.
The teacher who inspired you to take risks, challenged your thinking, saw something in you that no one else saw & lit a fire in your soul for learning...
BUT... look after yourself, find a mentor & become equipped with the right tools
Why Teacher Mentoring... ?
I LOVE teaching.
I was born to teach, it is my purpose and I could do it all day long without getting paid. I remember in my first year thinking... ''I can't believe I get paid to do this every day." I thought I hit jack pot :) I got to school super early and left late. I spend the holidays and weekends preparing the classroom for things like an under water adventure for the next 'Environmental' unit. My boss FREAKED when he found my windows painted blue and the room was literally 'under the sea' complete with netting on the ceiling and sea creatures hanging everywhere :)
I was lucky to find my 2 teacher besties at my first school (shout out to Ren & Joc - who I could not have survived my early years without & were undoubtably the KEY to my success & support system). We were all similar in our approach to teaching and learning having no limits to just how quirky and 'out there' lessons could be. Their bold enthusiasm only encourage me to be @ my quirky best! You could say we took 'engaging lessons' to a whole new level of crazy exciting!
Over the years I have realised just how lucky I was to have such an amazing support system as a beginning teacher. The 3 of us inspired, challenged, supported, laughed, cried, protested, got pulled into Principals office (me) and helped each other not only survive but THRIVE the #teacherlife.
This is hard to find today but I hope to re-create such a support system for beginning teachers through mentoring & sharing my teaching experiences on here and in out BEGINNING TEACHERS LOUNGE;
providing teaching resources in key areas like organisation, IEP development, Parent Teacher Interviews, Professional Development etc.. (all those areas I was scared of and conquered)
sharing my own teacher journey in bit size PD videos
demonstrate my quirky results based learning activities
provide live video mentoring in our 24/7 support group
mentoring in Savvy Teachers project
help develop your teacher tool belt and find your teaching strength so you can be the best educator to those students destined to be in your life
being available to new teachers when they need ANYTHING...
launching in 2019...
As a beginning teacher I felt like this puppy... so excited and full of enthusiasm BUT had to conform to the pack..
MY SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION JOURNEY...
In 2008 I started Boost Education when I had to navigate (as a single mum), a scary unknown process where you are left in the hands of unfamiliar specialists who often 'box' your child after a formal assessment. It wasn't until I went through this process that I realised how helpless I felt as a parent now that I was on the flip side.
The 'educator' in me wanted to scream aloud as 'boxing' any child can be detrimental with the wrong attitude towards diagnosis! Too often I've seen diagnosis used as excuses 'why they can't learn' instead of seen as tools for 'how they learn'.
To me, special needs traits are a gift and should be treated as such.
Diagnosis & symptoms provide the KEYS to learning and unlock hidden treasures inside students.
This is what started my passion, to equip parents and teachers with the right tools and skills to help them navigate the process of IEPs (Independent Education Plans) and have a successful partnership with each other during the students' schooling life ONCE they learn their child has a learning difficulty or diagnosis.
I then found that many of the 'unconventional', 'different' and perhaps 'quirky' teaching strategies and activities that I created using the 5 senses were highly effective with all students had a profound influence over the learning environment.
I also found that keeping the systems, processes and learning activities consistent, changing only the content each week, led to:
(i) all student's ability to concentrate and complete tasks improved dramatically;
(ii) increased independent & collaboratively learning + self confidence,
(iii) an increased ability to successfully predict & navigate the systems in the classroom (fast finishers knew what to do, those who needed more support knew how to get it without interruption) and
(iv) overall improvement in the concentration levels, students supported each other, freedom to explore, take risks, investigate, respond, test, challenge etc..
AND ultimately we developed an amazing classroom culture without evening knowing :)
SO. . .
I published everything I could into Teacher Resource Packs or Kits, as digital files to provide prompt and easy access to support and tools, to help beginning teachers unleash their super powers and develop their own creative engaging classroom.