Turvey Park Public School knew exactly which teacher they would nominate for this week’s feature the teacher!
Name: Chelsea Skerry
School: Turvey Park Public School
Grades: three and four
1. Why did you become a teacher?
My first reason was year 10 work experience and that sold it for me, or I wanted to be a presenter on Playschool; that was my two – very different.
2. What’s the best or worst excuse a student has ever given for not doing their homework?
Well, they’ve definitely changed and I’ve been teaching for 11 years and probably the most popular excuse is ‘my WiFi wasn’t working’, or ‘I couldn’t connect to the internet’.
So it’s no longer about dogs eating homework or dropping or losing it on the school bus; it’s now technology of some description has died, hence why I couldn’t get my homework done.
3. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you in the classroom?
It actually happened outside of the classroom this year, I thought I would take on the year six boys in a game of basketball.
Just after our Easter hat parade, so the playground was full of parents, children everywhere, and I tripped over my own feet, gave myself a very bruised tailbone and actually ended up with a mild concussion, in front of all these people.
The year sixes were beautiful, they picked me up from the ground and said ‘Mrs Skerry are you fine?’ and I think with the dizziness, my ego was the most bruised.
4. What do you love most about your job?
Obviously the kids, I love meeting them, their parents and their families and hearing their stories.
I love the fact that often when the children are in the classroom, they spend more time with me in some cases, than they do with their own families.
Just having that opportunity to nurture and care for other kids that aren’t my own, that’s probably one of the biggest things for me. I can remember teachers that I had in primary school and they had an impact on me now, even as an adult.
The thought of having an impact like that on the little people that I’ve have in my classroom, that’s special.
5. What’s the funniest question a student has ever asked you?
I often get asked how old I am and they try and work out just how old I am. It’s interesting sometimes as they will ask, ‘Mrs Skerry were you around when dinosaurs were invented’, or ‘were you around when they had a mobile phone’, so they try and work out a timeline of when I was born.
Probably the craziest question is, I’ve had a few different hairstyles, so I had a child say to me one day: ‘Mrs Skerry did you do your hair today?’ After I had spent quite a significant amount of money at the hairdresser, getting this new fabulous style done, and I said ‘yes I did, this was the look I was going for’, and he turns around and says, ‘oh, I hope you didn’t pay a lot of money for that’. I was devastated! But, he was just being completely honest with me.
6. Who’s harder to keep in line – parents or children?
It depends what’s currently happening in the context at that time. If it’s report time or assessment time, things like that.
At the end of the day, parents are always out for their kids, they always want to make sure that their little ones are being cared for, nurtured and catered for.
I guess the tricky thing sometimes is when the kids go home and say a version of something and then the parent comes in and gets the real version of something.
I’ve found all the parents I’ve had to deal with, have been fabulous people to get along with and I’m a big open book; what you see is what you get.
But, I’ve been blessed with the parents that I’ve had.
7. What’s your secret to controlling an unruly class?
My biggest secret is probably the power of silence.
I find when they’re going crazy, I over dramatically will stand up the front as though I’m having all my time wasted and looking at the clock, looking at the watch on my wrist that doesn’t exist, and just waiting very quietly.
It will only take one or two of them to quiet down and then all of a sudden, they’re all quiet.
I was told this trick many years ago, by a prac teacher and I will never forget it and often when I stand out the front, I think of him.
8. What’s the one subject you would never want to teach?
We pretty much do everything as a primary teacher, however I’m blessed after working here for 11 years that we don’t have to teach science as we have a teacher that teaches that for us.
I feel blessed that I don’t have to teach science as that subject really scares me, I feel completely incompetent when it comes to that, so I’m glad I don’t have to teach that one.
9. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve witnessed during your teaching career?
The biggest change for me during my 11 years of teaching, is the impact of technology on a classroom and also the kids themselves.
Also the impact of social media, it is something that I discussed as an adult when I first started teaching, but this concept of social media is now inside the classroom and the children are openly talking about it.
As far as technology goes, the fads that come with it. Everybody is crazy Fortnite, with this game they’re all playing. I find that’s probably the biggest change, is how much that has impacted on kids and their lives outside of school as well.
If you have a stand-out teacher that you think would be great to interview and feature, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org