Meet Ivan Carlisie

Master of Teaching (Secondary) and Master of Educational Policy (International)* Graduate

What was your motivation for changing careers?

Prior to entering a career in education, I was consulting on sustainability matters in the property development industry and had worked on some interesting projects including Southern Cross Station and the Melbourne Convention Centre. Before that I had completed degrees in Arts and Engineering (Electrical & Computer Systems), and had spent time in an Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in France as well as working as an Electrical Engineer. Consulting on sustainability matters was an attempt to align my career with my values, but I felt I was just making things less bad, rather than good. I believed that a career in education would be personally fulfilling and involve a positive contribution to society. I initially intended becoming a teacher to be a stepping stone towards working in education policy, but I am thoroughly content as a teacher for the foreseeable future.

What was it about the Master of Teaching course that appealed to you?

The course had a strong reputation, and made it possible for me to become a qualified teacher, and to continue my studies whilst working as a teacher thereafter. In fact, I was lucky enough to be able to complete my Master of Teaching in my first year of employment as a teacher, and then go on to complete a Master of Education Policy (International) whilst teaching full time.

What were your learning areas?

Since I hold both an Arts degree and an Engineering degree I was eligible for a number of learning areas. My learning areas were Mathematics, Physics and English; however, I now teach Mathematics, Philosophy and Algorithmics.

What’s the best thing you gained from doing the course?

The course impressed upon me the importance of being continually immersed in the research to inform one’s teaching practice. I also thoroughly benefitted from my placements at Melbourne High and University High, and enjoyed the collegiality with my fellow teacher candidates.

What was the most challenging part of the course?

Learning how to engage most effectively with Middle Years students after having worked for many years in such a different industry context. This influenced my decision to take a job at Melbourne Girls Grammar collaborating with a team of primary and secondary educators to rejuvenate their Middle Years program. This gave me an opportunity to cultivate my pedagogy in a team-teaching environment. I am now predominantly engaged in Senior Years courses, but my experience at the Middle Years has proved invaluable.

How did you find the Clinical Teaching model that the Melbourne Graduate School of Education uses?

The Clinical Teaching model resonated with me as both an engineer, being that it involves such a systematic approach to teaching and learning, and as an educator, in that it is focussed on the needs of each student as an individual. I have endeavoured to incorporate this approach into all the programs in which I have been involved. I am currently working with a team of Instructional Designers at Melbourne Girls Grammar on a new Personalised Learning program, and I am excited about the opportunities to leverage emerging technologies in the educational context to enhance individualised learning experiences.

How prepared did you feel going into your first year of teaching?

I have always enjoyed a good challenge, and I trusted that I had a depth of academic and professional experience to draw on to be successful. I was glad that my initial role involved a lot of team-teaching and I certainly learned a lot in my first year – that said, a good educator continues to learn a lot every year.

What would you say to someone thinking about doing this course?

I think it is very important that teachers have a genuine love of learning. Teaching is a deeply rewarding profession, and it is a true vocation - which means you must give generously of yourself.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A school is a microcosm of society and being a teacher can be a multifaceted career. At Melbourne Girls Grammar I have enjoyed a myriad of professional experiences, including: going on a Science and Enterprise Tour to the US with fifty Middle Years students; teaching Mathematics from Years 5 to 12; establishing Philosophy and Algorithmics as new learning pathways in the school; taking on the role of Acting Head of Mathematics; immersing myself in curriculum development as an Instructional Designer; and, travelling through Botswana, Namibia and Zambia for a month with Senior Students.

Becoming a teacher means more than being confined to a classroom; school is a place where you can work with day to day integrity and can continually engage with new challenges and rewarding experiences.

Read more about Ivan in the Weekly Review.

*Now the 'Policy in a Global Context' specialisation within our Master of Education