Nick Brierley is a thoroughly modern teacher. Since he started his first job at St Therese’s Catholic Primary Denistone nearly 7 years ago he has embraced technology as a tool for learning and as a way of connecting teachers and sharing ideas.
He has been a moderator for a number of Twitter ‘edchats’ with a worldwide following and now tweets ‘Authentic Learning’ resources for Sydney Catholic Schools, connecting to an international authentic learning education community.
He speaks at local and overseas conferences on utilising Google Apps For Education in the classroom, at Sydney Catholic Schools’ Teach Meets and is involved in CaSPA’s Authentic Learning project integrating performing arts with key learning areas such as Maths, Science and English.
I have always wanted a job where creativity is important, and that’s how I know teaching is right for me.
In his new role at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary Mosman he is a Year 6 teacher and eLearning coordinator. He is continuing to implement the school’s new Bring Your Own Device program ensuring the program is effective, the teachers are well trained and the use of the digital tools impact on student learning. He is also enjoying the independence and motivation of his Year 6 students and the delight on their faces when they understand something they have been struggling with.
“Education today is all about the students and choice,” says Nick. “You have to integrate student interest and need as once you have their buy in, you’ve got them. If you give the same thing to everyone in the class, you don’t get that buy-in and you are just teaching content. So it’s about differentiating for all students.”
Vince Campbell, Principal of Sacred Heart Primary says at the end of the day what makes Nick such a good teacher is that he ‘gets’ people, be they the students in his class or his colleagues across the staff room table.
“He is a person of humility who actually takes time to listen to children and staff, hearing them out and always being generous with his time. He understands that quality learning conversations are underpinned by quality interpersonal relationships and that in the absence of good relationships there will be no worthwhile learning.”
Nick is passionate about sharing teaching and learning ideas and about the capacity of social media and technology to enable quick and frequent connection.
“All these great things are happening in classrooms so there is no point in keeping them a secret,” says Nick. “It’s important to share ideas to increase our professional learning as that directly impacts on the quality of student learning.
He is a person of humility who takes time to listen to children and staff.
“As teachers we all have our niche areas whether its History or Maths. The value of Twitter is that you can go directly to another educator and seek help in specialty areas. You can engage with who you want to, where you want to and when you want to. Rather than someone telling you what you need in terms of professional learning, if you are aware of your strengths and areas for improvement, you can choose your own professional learning.”
Now in his 10th year of teaching, Nick says it has definitely been the right profession for him. “I had amazing teachers at St Kevin’s Eastwood and Marist College Eastwood. They connected with me as a student which I really valued and allowed me to learn in a way that worked for me. I looked up to my teachers and they were role models for me.
“I have always wanted a job where creativity is important, and that’s how I know teaching is right for me. There is really no limit of what you can do in the classroom now and each day I am rewarded with the joy on kids’ faces when they have that ‘ah, I get it’ moment. Nothing is more rewarding than that.
“It has been a rollercoaster ride as teaching is an art form and can be difficult at times. You need to rely on the energy of your colleagues and students and go through the ups and downs but also the transformative and awe-inspiring times. I will always be involved in education at some level as it is always evolving and changing. I enjoy being creative with the new challenges every day. That’s exciting!”
You can follow Nick Brierley on Twitter at @mythsysizer.