Versatile teacher and valued mentor retires
Ruth Sheridan is retiring after 38 years as a teacher.
The multitalented educator began her career as a French and English teacher at a small rural high school in Victoria, but has since worked in diverse roles, including governess, a teacher of social education and drama, home economics and science.
Following appointments in New South Wales and Western Australia, she moved to the Northern Territory, accepting a position at Batchelor Area School that became a full-time position and provided many opportunities for professional development.
“In 1997 I transferred to Driver High School (now Palmerston College) to teach English and Social Education,” she said. “In 1999 I acquired Teacher of Exemplary Practice status (now HALT). I undertook further professional development, including English as a Second Language, an experience that made me a better teacher.
“I developed IT skills, taught computing, studies of society and the environment, modern history, the Year 11 Research Project, and served the Palmerston College as a teacher, and teacher librarian from 2004 to 2018.”
A mentor to HALT candidates, pre-service and novice teachers, Ruth believes resilience, organisation, and the ability to learn from mistakes and colleagues, are as important to the development of teachers as “knowing your students and how they learn”.
“In helping students my approach is to have high expectations, plan well, scaffold tasks until students are able to perform them independently, and differentiate instruction to accommodate different students,” she said.
“My proudest achievements have been acquiring TEP status, acknowledgements from professional associations, and in delivering professional development to other teachers.”
A past president of the Social Educators Association NT, the 2011 Social Educator of the Year said she “probably wouldn’t do anything differently” in her career.
In retirement Ruth will devote more time to her grandchild, family tree research, nature photography and Scrabble.