Spotlight On: Jo Watt

Posted July 18, 2022 in Teacher Spotlights, The Wesleyan By Lachlan Fitzgerald

Everything at Wesley aligns with my own personal values, and a lot of what Wesley offers is what I believe in.

Get to know our Head of Mathematics, Ms Jo Watt. With over 20 years of teaching experience at IGSAA and PSA private schools in Perth, Jo tells us why being in the classroom always makes things better.

What is the most important lesson you want students to take away from their year with you?

My philosophy is very much about success in Maths. There’s sometimes a stigma that if you’re not that ‘really-smart kid’ then you can’t be good at Maths. It’s not about being at the top end, but more about having personal success in the level which you are at. Maths can be fun for everyone, and I hope that each student in my classes thinks that Maths can be fun by the end of the year.

What have you enjoyed about Wesley?

Everything at Wesley aligns with my own personal values, and a lot of what Wesley offers is what I believe in. The balance between academic, pastoral care and sports programs within the community is really great. There’s a lovely relationship between students, parents and staff, and everyone is working in the same direction in a constructive way. I’m the senior Volleyball manager, and the sporting engagement outside the classroom definitely helps to build those relationships.

What is the best thing about your job?

Being in the classroom makes everything better. Watching someone and being a part of those ‘Ah-ha’ moments when someone gets a concept or begins to understand something. It’s the best feeling in the world.

You’ve taught at both private boys’ and girls’ senior schools. What is the most noticeable difference between the two?

They work very differently. My Year 9 class is really chatty, and I actually made a comment to the Maths Department yesterday that each time I wanted to tell them off I realised that they were actually doing work. The boys in my class learn collaboratively off each other very well.

What’s the best piece of advice a family member has ever given you?

I remember my mum reading an advert in the newspaper and suggesting that I take up Maths teaching. I’ve always tried to live by my Dad’s saying that ‘If you’re going to do something, do it properly’, and after finishing my first year at university, I switched courses. Even at school, I remember the joy that I got from helping friends and watching it ‘click’ for them. It became really clear that being a teacher was what I was always going to become.

Who inspired you to become a teacher?

I really loved my Year 11 & 12 Maths teacher. I did double Maths in my final year, and I had her for one-third of my timetable. She was young, smart, and gorgeous, and my class absolutely adored her. She would share parts of her life with us, so we felt incredibly lucky during a time where the relationship between staff and students wasn’t like it is now.

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