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Q&A with Middle School teacher Peter Hunter

How long have you been a teacher and when did you start at BGS?
I have been teaching for 16 years and started at BGS in 2016.

Why were you inspired to become a teacher?
When I finished school, I completed a Business degree and worked as a Marketing Manager for a number of years both in Brisbane and the UK; however, I had always had in the back of my mind that I would like to be a teacher. I enjoy learning new things and challenging myself. At school, I had some terrific teachers who I still refer to today in my classes. I pride myself on building working relationships with my students so that they can get the most out of every day in the classroom.

What do you enjoy most about teaching BGS boys?
BGS boys are excited about learning new things. As a science teacher, I love it when boys are inquisitive and want to know why. Our emphasis on collaboration and being supportive of each other creates a classroom culture which encourages learning. The energy of my Year 5s motivates me to do my best each day.

How do you make your classroom fun for students?
Humour and knowing my students. Developing mutual respect is vitally important. The boys know my interests and I know their interests. We are able to have a joke about why Carlton are terrible and the Bombers are awesome but still get on with the job of learning. I try to relate what we are doing in class to the students’ interests or life outside of BGS. It is important for them to know that the skills they learn here are being used every day in society. Boys are inherently competitive, so we run a group competition for the week/term, and boys can also gain QR codes which can earn bonus points or prizes. The main thing for me is that learning should be fun and engaging.

What’s your favourite lesson/topic to teach and why?
That is a difficult question to answer as I have many topics that I like covering. In Maths, I enjoy teaching fractions as this is an area that some boys find challenging. Seeing them overcome this in assessment is really satisfying. In Science, I really enjoy our Space unit. The boys are engaged with the topic and usually come armed with lots of facts and prior knowledge to share with the class.

How has teaching changed since you started?
Technology has certainly changed over the years. I completed my prac/internship at BGS in 2004. We were dazzling the students with OHTs and a data projector back then. Now, my Year 5s can navigate through OneNote, Teams, PowerPoint and Outlook with relative ease. Technology is a wonderful tool in the classroom, but there needs to be a balance between traditional learning and its use, otherwise the technology can lead to distraction. Another thing that has changed over the years is the student involvement in the classroom. We encourage the boys to be resources for each other and to share their thinking.

Do you think the way students learn will change over the next decade?
This year has shown how adaptable students are to change. I believe we will see more flexible teaching environments in the future. Technology will play its part as will the teacher who will need to adapt to change quickly. Home-based learning showed how quickly our students were able to upskill themselves in various software in a short period of time. Over the next decade, I can only imagine what our boys will be able to produce!

What achievement are you most proud of as a teacher?
It is very hard to just choose one. Each day I have moments which make me proud, be it a student struggling with a Maths concept who finally ‘gets it’ to boys in the Senior School coming down and having a chat at lunchtime. Teaching is a unique profession where you can see the impact you have had on student learning. Every day is different. Every day has its challenges. Every day is rewarding.

If you had to name one thing that sets the BGS Middle School apart from other schools, what would it be?
There is a true community feel about the BGS Middle School. There is a real sense of energy each day – it is a vibrant, fun and active place. Both students and staff enjoy coming each day. It is a great place to work!

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