School of Education, The University of Queensland
Number of years teaching: 35 years in high schools; about 10 years part-time in universities
Where else have you taught?
Gladstone State High School (12 years: 1969-1981); Horsenden Hill Boys Secondary Modern in London's western suburbs (6 weeks in 1974); Ferny Grove State High School (21 years: 1982-2005); Winston Churchill High School in Eugene, Oregon, USA (1 year - 1991); Clarkson Secondary School in Mississauga, a satellite city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1 year - 1997); QUT; Griffith University; ACU.
What is your favourite book? Poem? Australian author?
I can't identify a single "top of the list" text but some favourite novels and plays are: 'Catch 22', 'Tristram Shandy', 'My Brother Jack', 'The Importance of Being Earnest', 'Hamlet', 'The One Day of the Year'.
Some poems I like well enough to know by heart are: 'The Geebung Polo Club', 'The Man from Ironbark', 'A Bush Christening', 'The Highwayman', 'My last Duchess', 'To his Coy Mistress', 'Gunga Din', 'Captain Bumble's Letter', and the greatest of all Australian poems, 'Butchers' by Redmond Phillips.
What is your best classroom moment?
As with texts, I find it very difficult to select single stand-outs but I recall feeling significant professional satisfaction with a series of term-long, writing and reading workshop organized units of work that I conducted with junior school classes at Ferny Grove High. Classroom operation was modelled on ideas that I first encountered in Nancie Atwell's book 'In the Middle: Writing, Reading and Learning with Adolescents'. My adaptation of these ideas was to incorporate a central focus text rather than just allowing completely open choice of writing topics. We had fun using such texts as the narrative poem 'The Highwayman' and the script of a 'Get Smart' episode.
On another tack, since I have become an enthusiastic functional grammar nerd, any classroom moment in which I can see an opportunity to explicitly focus on the way the grammar works is a good one.