Phd Journey

Learning my A,B,C

pexels-photo-977931A is for Alsup, analysis, and argument

B is for Bourdieu and Blackmore

C is for critical discourse analysis, context

D is for deconstruction, for Day and difference

E is for epistemology,  education, and expression

F is for feminism, Foucault and flipping the system

G is for gender, genealogies

H is for hooks, help, and hard work

I is for identity, that is fluid, complex, organic

J is for the jester that writes

K is for KISS – keeping it simple

L is for leadership, Lather, and language

M is for Mockler, who argues that Professional learning is identity work

N is for narrative, the stories we tell

O is for ontological, organization and opportunity

P is for poststructuralism, pedagogy, place, power, and PhD

Q is for questions for the research, that continue to change and evolve

R is for rural, a lens which I apply to my research

S is for subjectivities and supervision

T is for Tamboukou, who writes about the paradox of being a woman teacher

U is for understanding and knowledge

V is for voices, often silenced

W is for women who teach and lead

X is for Xcuses and imposters that cast shadows over my work

Y is for you, me, the researcher who is an integral part of the project

Z is for Zotero that houses my reading

Phd Journey, Writing

When the duckling becomes the swan…

It has been too long since I read you, Toril Moi. You remind me of my younger days, reading and writing and embracing literary theory and making sense of feminism in my corner of the world. It was your name that popped up, time and time again.

In a little exploration of Bourdieu and feminist post structural theory I chanced upon you again. And here you are, speaking to me, to keep writing, crafting, developing words on the page. Embracing the process, the stilted, difficult, arduous task of making sense of the world through words.

So thank you, Toril Moi.

#survivephd15, research, Strategies, Teaching, Writing for Research



The summer sun has kissed our shoulders and bleached our hair. We have sipped on gin and tonics, laughed with friends and splashed in the waves.

But the playtime is over and the new adventure begins.

School is almost back. A new group of students, new classes, new dynamics.

A new curriculum, texts and innovative ways to engage students in reading and writing And new resolutions to keep writing and reading and researching.

Even when it is crazy busy.

This life, this Ph.D. life, teacher life, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend life is a rollercoaster. So right now I am strapping myself in. I am cleaning and sorting files, setting up work schedules, contemplating workflow and preparing for the daily demands of teaching and writing.

But I am also investing in some time with friends, to top up my emotional bank account, hoping that there will be enough in the tank when the rollercoaster dips and dives.

I am excited about 2018. But only God knows what is in store for you and me.

Let the adventure begin.


identity, Storytelling, Teacher Indentity, Women and Leadership, Writing, Storytelling

I don’t know how she does it

IMG_3311I am sure you have known that amazing, inspirational colleague. The teacher that seems to be on top of her game, shares her knowledge, builds confidence in the team and manages to push you that ‘little’ bit to achieve your best. Often we realize that impact that she had on individual teachers and students and the department as a whole after she has gone. And frankly, we really had no idea how she did it. She led, inspired and quietly challenged us all.

I have been reflecting on leadership and how we inhabit the role as leader, how we become that woman who inspires, challenges and encourages our colleagues. And I have been reminded to ask her before she moves on – ask her how she does it. Ask her how she entered the teaching profession, what drives her each day to make a difference, what she does to counter the challenges that inevitably come her way. Ask her who she looks up to, how she unwinds at the end of the week. Ask her to share her story.

Stories continue to shape and define us. One of the best ways to learn as an educator is to share stories. Invite others to tell their story and find ways to share your own. It is then you may be closer to understanding how she does it and perhaps why you too can do it.

PS. This post was first published on Staffrm a professional learning network and community for educators. I was sad to learn that this initiative is no longer viable and no crowdfunding or support can keep it alive. I hope I am wrong. Thanks for the introduction to Staffrm Hannah Wilson (@TheHopefulHT ) – a woman that inspired. #WomenEd #WomenEdAus

Context, Education, English teaching, identity, professional learning



Identity is a nuanced, complex, fluid notion. And yet, as an English teacher the temptation is to talk about identity, the key characteristics and traits of a character in a novel as though they are fixed and defined. Identity, who we are in a professional or personal setting is constantly being contested and challenged by our environment and context. For me, it might be an interaction with a family member, an assessment that is due, an interview, an emerging conflict with a colleague or some bad news. Each one of us enters our world aware, to some extent of the ways in which our private lives impact our professional selves. This area of identity, as it pertains to educators is an emerging area of study and one that has been linked to issues around professional learning and delivery.

For me, this Oscar Wilde quotation is a simple truth often forgotten. Today, it is a timely reminder that each one of us needs to be true to our own self, our values, and beliefs. As educators it is vital we have a sense of our own, emerging identity and know that our role is a vital one.

Education, English teaching, Teaching


“Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
– Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams, an American first lady (1797- 1801) and wife of John Adams the second president of the United States, and the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, reminds us that learning is not a random act or accident. Rather it is something we must seek and act upon, with regular attention and focus.

How is your learning today? How do your students perceive learning in your classroom?

Attend to it with diligence.


leadership, research, Teaching



This week Education Leaders from across the country are meeting at Australia Council for Educational Leaders Conference 2017 #acelcon2017.

I am on term break, reading, writing, preparing for the final term of the school year and ‘attending’ the conference via my Twitter PLN. Online colleagues are sharing the key take aways from keynote addresses and workshops.

Rigour.This…..caught my attention today.  Barbara Blackburn inspiring and challenging educators to think about rigour. I realised that we often talk about rigour when we sense there is an absence or loss of rigour in our school, our classroom, our key learning. And yet it is somewhat of a buzz word that school’s include in all of their ‘information’. The question is do we really understand what rigour means?

Rigour is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels; each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels, and each student demonstrates learning at high levels.

This slide from #acelcon2017 highlights for me that there are key questions that we need to ask about student learning.

Rigour. As it applies to student motivation, engagement, learning and staff leadership. Rigour.