I have the absolute privilege of teaching in the Technological and Applied Studies subject area, which basically involves students responding to a design brief or problem using a set material (food, wood, textiles, metal or mixed materials). I love how creative students can be, how their imagination can take them on a unique and creative journey, and how – when they are passionate about something – they really have no limitations.
When a student asks to explore a certain technique or use a certain skill, we often do so together – so I too am dyeing or printing, looking at various ways we can create a resist technique, explore natural dyes, or do whatever it is that they have shown interest in!
Creating is stress relief and ‘me time’, which is fairly limited with three children, fulltime work, a husband and a household to maintain! Creating allows you to pursue and individualise an interest or passion; it encourages you to set foot outside your comfort zone and explore new possibilities. To create is to recognise that you have been blessed with a talent or gift, and this gives you a sense of achievement in that you can look at something and say, ‘I made that!’ The challenge is being authentic and remaining true to oneself. You can’t just replicate what everyone else is doing; you must strive to be truly unique.
As the author of several books I have experienced firsthand the deliberate sharing of my work on a social media platform without my permission. I knew the person was doing something highly illegal, and when challenged on that fact (and informed that they had opened themselves up for litigation) the material was removed. But I was shocked that they so brazenly uploaded entire chapters of one of my works, plus those of other authors.
Copyright protects intellectual property, ensuring it can’t be changed or amended. It also protects the rights of the author or inventor so they can benefit from their work. When someone creates a new piece of music, art or literature, or a photo, graphic or a film, they become vulnerable to other people using this material illegally. Copyright ensures the owner retains legal rights and ownership, so that they can decide on how their creative works are to be used.
THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE
I have read many books over the years that changed my perception or view on something, inspired me to pursue a new idea, or made me look at something or someone in a different light. So it is hard to focus on just one! However, my most recent reading of Teacher by Gabbie Stroud really struck a chord with me. Gabbie’s heartfelt and honest memoir about being a teacher in the Australian education system is funny, sad, moving, emotional and raw. She discusses the impact of teaching not only on herself but on all educators: on our career paths, our families and our relationships. I could relate to so many of her stories. Teacher burnout is real, and it is important that we acknowledge and look after each other. We have an enormous impact on our students and our mental health is just as important as theirs. Teaching is a rewarding, fulfilling, challenging, eye-opening occupation and it does not really matter what school or town you work in; the students that we interact with on a daily basis all have the same needs, challenges and struggles to overcome.
Kelly Evans is the 2019 recipient of the Premier’s Copyright Agency Creativity across the Curriculum Scholarship, which is supported by our Cultural Fund.