Alex Wharton

Alex Wharton, 27, is currently at William Clarke College. He is the Head of House Johnson and is integral to promoting the community atmosphere within the North-Western Sydney school. During his time at university, Alex was highly active in both EdSoc, and in reviving the Education and Social Work Revue.

1. So what made you decide to seek out a position at your school?

Alex: I grew up in Coogee, so I had actually never heard of William Clarke when I finished University. But when I saw the position being offered, I looked into the school and I knew this was the way I was going to give back to the community. I definitely had a professional, but also a personal motivation to go.

2. What has been the most memorable success you have had?

Alex: The first thing that comes to my mind is receiving the Premier's Teacher Scholarship. It was such an amazing experience! I received a grant to go to the US to research how teachers were re-energizing the American classics in the classroom. The culmination of which will be a teaching materials and a Conference presentation I am giving soon in November. It’s funny my old University of Sydney lecturer, Jackie Manuel, helped me so much in preparing the proposal for the Scholarship. I am not even her student anymore and she’s still helping me!

3. Since you’ve mentioned it, who was your favourite Professor while you were a student at the University of Sydney?

Alex: Associate Professor Jackie Manuel! I remember in my second year, Jackie gave us such a warm welcome and we all made little badges saying, “I love English.” She’s a great mentor and so very supportive. She’s really just such an inspiration.

4. So after getting some experience in the field, what is the mantra you live by?

Alex: I have two; you have to be proactive and seize every opportunity you can. But also, keep in mind that teaching can be very isolating. You spend hours and hours in the classroom with your students. So that’s why it’s very important to keep up contacts with your colleagues. I find being involved with the teaching profession by being on boards and doing HSC marking, or even Twitter, really help me connect with my peers.

4. What would you say to recent graduates?

Alex: Welcome to the profession! You’re joining the ranks and leagues of people who put others before themselves. Keep in mind that there will be lesson plans that fail and less than amicable colleagues, but you have to remember why you chose to become a teacher in the first place.

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