Passionate about teaching and forward-thinking around the use of technology in the classroom, joining EP was a natural fit for Maree. With an appetite for travel, Japanese teaching and culture, Maree is adventurous and brings energy to both our new recruits and teachers to ensure we continue to uphold our first class service and the benefits of the EP platform.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
I grew up in the sunny Noosa hinterland in QLD after my dad retired from the NSW police force when I was in kindy. I always loved school and was particularly adept at language – foreign and my own. As most kids do, I started learning Japanese when I was in Grade 6. I was enamoured by the culture and quickly identified myself in many of the obsessive quintessential Japanese traits; efficiency, organisation and cleanliness.
It seemed only natural to follow this passion right through school and into university, where I majored in Japanese and Journalism at the University of Queensland; combining my language skills with my interest in news and world affairs. The original dream was to become a foreign correspondent but I slowly realised, during the course of my degree, that the world of Journalism probably didn’t…err…align as well with my own moral and ethical compass as I had idealised and so after a number of jobs in marketing and copywriting, I made the leap into education, completing a two-year Post Graduate Bachelor of Education and have never looked back.
Outside of my professional life, I have an insatiable appetite for travel. I’ve visited 40 countries or more – a number of them more than once. Travel has always reaffirmed my faith in humanity and as the saying goes, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
After 12 jam-packed years as a Japanese teacher, I felt it was time for new challenges. I was left with the burning question – as I’ve come to learn so many teachers ask themselves at a certain point in their careers – “What do teachers do after teaching?” (No really – I literally Googled that!). I had already been assisting the Languages Team at EP with proofreading their Japanese resources so when I was approached to consider applying for a full-time gig as a Teacher Consultant, I took a big leap of faith and plunged head first into an exciting – and somewhat terrifying – new world.
During the course of my teaching career, I developed quite a solid reputation among my peers for forward-thinking use of technology in my classroom. To then be able to fuse my love for teaching with my passion for online learning and to have a world-class platform from which I can lead others on that journey has been the ultimate ‘fit’.
A day in the life…
I have two shiba inu (Japanese hunting dogs); I don’t have a life! Ha! But in reality, my work day typically starts out touching base with teachers by phone to see how things are going. This role has allowed me into the lives of so many incredible, hard-working and dedicated individuals and I am humbled on a daily basis by their openness and the trust they put in me to help them achieve better outcomes for their kids. They’re not just my “teachers”; they’ve become my friends. I then tend to emails and the various administrative duties associated with my role, and typically wrap up the day with a visit to a school for training and PD.
This is my favourite part of the job – I get to make new friends, catch up with existing ones and generally feel like I’m making a positive difference in their lives and the lives of their students.
Tour to Japan
Throughout my teaching career, I had the absolute privilege of leading two groups of students on tours to Japan. These adventures were the definite highlight of my time in the classroom. They were incredibly labour-intensive (I don’t do anything by half!) but to have a front row seat to witness the personal growth and transformative power of travel in my students is something I will never forget and certainly made all the hard work worthwhile. Some of these kids had never left their familiar surroundings, let alone travelled on a jet to a foreign country. They left Australia as wide-eyed teenagers and returned as confident global citizens; their perspectives on the world and dreams for their futures forever changed.
Official training program
Our team, thanks to the incredible success of EP, is an ever-growing force. However, this role is relatively new to EP and has been a constantly evolving process. To ensure our new recruits are up-to-speed as quickly as possible in their roles and to ensure they continue to uphold the first class service our teachers have come to expect, I’m currently working on an official training program.
Favourite feature – Assessments
I think my favourite feature of EP would have to be the Assessments area and the potential for targeted remediation. Online assessment – for those brave enough to consider the possibilities – is truly game-changing. To have the power to set up individual learning pathways for each student within your classroom at the click of a few buttons is just outstanding and wields the power for revolutionary change in not just what we teach, but how.
I have a personal passion for well-executed online assessment after experiencing the benefits first-hand in my own classroom. I implemented online assessment for three years prior to leaving teaching and it was one of the best things I ever did.
Most excited about
The thing that most excites me about the future of EP is not only the potential we have to continue changing the landscape of education but the untapped potential we have to disrupt the world of corporate training with the beginnings of our “EP for Work” initiative. This is such a thrilling prospect and I can’t wait to see where we head in 2020.
EP in three
- It’s a one-stop-shop for all of your educational needs; from a simple homework task right the way through to summative assessment.
- There isn’t anything that I used to do in my classroom that I couldn’t now do in EP and have the benefit of capturing all that fantastic data in the process.
- Once you’ve started using it, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without it.
If you could meet anyone who would it be
This is definitely a struggle to narrow down but ultimately, I think I’d like to meet Max Ehrmann, the author of “Desiderata”. He seems like a truly insightful individual from whom I could probably learn a lot. I still remember the first time I happened upon this wonderful contribution to the world. I was 16, sitting at my best friend’s dinner table. Thanks to some very unfortunate family struggles in my early teens, I ended up in what could best be described as a foster family situation until I left for university in my late teens. It was an incredibly difficult period and reading that poem at that point in time brought me such a sense of peace and comfort. It is an inspiring reminder to strive for high ideals, to treat others kindly, to be gentle with ourselves and to have faith that everything will be ok. It is short and simple but magnificently powerful and has remained my favourite piece of writing since.