From the outset, my teaching has been informed by scholarly practice. Even in the 1990s, I was part of a team of teachers engaged in scholarly and collegial teaching practice. We created an Occupation Journal to publish our research about teaching occupation and I was one of the editors. There was no other outlet for this work at that time, and we published the journal quarterly for ten years.
The final Occupation Journal
I continue to attend and present at national and international conferences in order to advance my learning about teaching and assessment, and to keep current with my discipline. At present I am studying Te Reo at Te Wānaanga o Aotearoa to integrate bi-cultural practices into the school and the profession in response to our institution’s strategic framework.
Since 2012, I have run weekly research forums in the school for students and staff. These forums have developed into weekly online postgraduate webinars. I am the Master’s Coordinator, responsible for developing and overseeing the Masters program.
I mentor a group of degree lecturers, previously reluctant to embark on research. This group has now embarked on a research project called “Taking the Pulse”, aimed at producing results that can shape teaching practice and improve pastoral support.
I am a member of the OP Postgraduate and Research Committee; the OP Programme Review Committee and the OP Ethics Committee. I am also a Board Member of Vision Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa.
I believe that occupational therapy is poised for significant changes and I want to play my part in those changes through research-led education. Back in 2015, I applied for the position of Head of School (I didn’t get it), and I think that this letter summarises some of my vision for occupational therapy.
My strongest emphasis as a polytechnic lecturer is on creating high quality practical learning experiences for students which this year will include integrating an ethics framework throughout the OT curriculum. I will lead the development of an inter-professional student-led low vision community clinic and work with a colleague in the Design School to collaborate on an educational programme involving students and inmates from Milton Prison to produce graphic design art installations.
You never really know what impact you have on students, which is why reflecting on my teaching practice (and staying in touch) is so important. The creation of this portfolio has re-awakened a powerful memory of the teachers who have believed in me and the students whom I have believed in. Writing about my teaching practice has been a bit like wiping my eyes to let the sunshine come through. The sunshine falls on all of us: we sometimes just need to create a space, make our students welcome – and then get out of the way and let the magic happen.