All Hale design teacher
TAKING the time to help his students be more innovative and solve complex, real-world problems has seen Hale School design and technologies teacher Simon Tilley named National Teacher of the Year in Technology Education.
Last month, the Design and Technologies Teachers’ Association of Australia recognised Simon for his contributions to professional learning and developing competitions and programs that encourage opportunity and interest in the subject, “all done selflessly for the benefit of teachers and students”.
This achievement follows his State awards win in the same category.
Simon’s achievements include initiating the use of Arduino Unos and Nanos (open-source electronics platforms) into D&T at Hale, creating the Hale Connect STEM Challenge involving 150 Year 9 boys and girls from more than 25 schools, presenting professional development lessons to teachers to show methods of integrating STEM in the classroom, and undertaking a Master of Philosophy in STEM research to examine relationships between STEM and possible subject selection.
Simon said he felt fortunate to work in a subject area that was constantly evolving.
“With a subject as diverse as technology and the accessibility to a variety of media, that lets us observe recent scientific breakthroughs and discoveries and make links between old ones,” he said.
“We can nurture creativity and innovation in its many forms and encourage the use of whatever subject areas are needed to solve the problem at hand.”
Colleague Braydon Butler nominated Simon for the award and praised him for his commitment to his students and leadership in the field of D&T.
“Simon is an exceptional educator; he works tirelessly for the benefit of his students,” Braydon said.
“Since he arrived at Hale some seven years ago, he has always put the education of his students first.
“Simon has shown leadership within his school and with the support of his Head of Department established a program that has the boys focussing on STEM and the skills needed for the future ahead of them.”
Born and raised in the UK, Simon started his career as a designer craftsman making one-off pieces of furniture that included boardroom tables for the G7 World Summit, the Duke of Westminster, Esso, Shell and British Aerospace.
He later changed direction, studying teaching and landing his first job in a “challenging school” in London.
After two years, he was invited to apply for a job at prestigious boys’ boarding school Eton College, where he found himself for the next 16 years.
“I was dressing like a groom at a wedding in a white bow tie, wing collars, waistcoat and morning suit whilst trying to teach welding to prime ministers’ children and royalty,” he recalled fondly.
When a job offer came up at Hale School eight years ago, he moved to Australia and has not looked back since.