Staff Profile

Simon Cross
December – 2017 

What subjects do you teach?
Studio Art, Photography and Art.

How long have you been in education for?
This will be my tenth year.

 What convinced you to get into education?
I started out studying Fine Arts at Monash University. Printmaking is my background, and while I was doing that I always had an interest and passion for working with people and helping them out with their skills. I loved helping people to work on particular styles of printmaking like etching and lino-cut printing and those areas. I had two years out designing and assisting in the Myer Windows, doing the Christmas displays and working with the people who do the animation aspect as well. While doing that I thought I’d like to try education. I wanted a job that gave me a bigger scope on things and allowed me to help the next generation of teenagers.

 What was your first impression of Doncaster Secondary College?
I am over the moon to be here. The vibe here is positive and I connected straight away with not only the staff but with the students too. My first year here has been fantastic and I’m looking forward to the years ahead. I’m excited about what we’re doing in the Arts and being involved with various things that have happened throughout the year. When I say “things”, I should say the Year 8 Community Project, helping out with the installation of the Community Tree and the Doncaster’s Got Talent. Being part of such a wonderful school community is fantastic.

Do you have a teaching philosophy?
My philosophy is that everyone is treated as an equal in my class. I admire the variety of characters and personalities that come into my classroom. I enjoy learning about their different backgrounds and interests. 

Where do you see education going in the future? Is it going to change much or is it going to remain similar?
I strongly believe there will be more evolution regarding the technology side of things, and how we embrace those technologies will be important to keep our students at the forefront of education and also within a society that is very technology forward.

What do you hope students take out of their thirteen years of schooling?
To be a connected citizen in their local community and even the global community. Being a respected person and someone that can embody the values they’ve learnt at Doncaster Secondary College – Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, and Teamwork. 

How important do you think it is that the school focuses on, not just the academic side of things, but also takes a holistic approach regarding students?
I strongly believe that we do try to cater to our students holistically as well as from an academic aspect. The MYSELF program in Year 9, definitely gives students the scope to become independent and to navigate through life skills, like catching public transport and building relationships within a team.

How did the students find your MYSELF subject, MyUrbanArt?
I’ve had such positive feedback. They’re able to freely do their work in a space that encourages an open mind to how they approach their street artwork. And also, the positive vibe that they felt that they were getting from the classroom. Recently I took my class to an art exhibition, and one particular student was so grateful as it’s something that her parents haven’t typically done with her. She was pleased to have been exposed to a diverse amount of artwork. I was taken back by that and felt a real sense of achievement that even just one student gained so much from this experience. Having those moments reaffirm that you’re on the right track with things.

How important do you think student voice is at this school?
I found the ‘Teach the Teacher’ initiative that the school has implemented to be fantastic. I took on board a lot of what was being discussed by the group of students, and I feel like I’ve tried to apply a lot of those aspects into my classes. I’ve never seen anything like this in all my time in teaching. It’s always been teachers discussing what they could do to improve but to have a student voice with very constructive ideas, presenting to staff was great. I love that students are leading it. If a student tells me that something hasn’t worked for them and they give me constructive criticism, I’ll take that on board and improve my delivery. We’re all individuals and we all have unique styles of learning and I’d like to be able to cater to that.

Has there been a standout moment this year?
This is just a personal one. Being a new teacher at the college, I was walking into the school grounds for the first time and just thought, “What a fantastic space to learn in and what beautiful grounds we have”. I thought about how fortunate I was to be part of such a beautiful space that just keeps evolving!