Mr Mike Filer is the Head of Learning Area (HASS) at Wesley College. Mike was recently recognised at the Political and Legal Educators Association of WA PTCWA Awards for his Outstanding Professional Service. This award is a fantastic reminder of how valuable Mike is both inside and outside of the classroom.
Why do you teach?
I love that every hour and every day is different. I enjoy the diversity and complexity of teaching and the value of learning (for myself and students), as well as the connections you build within the community who are all working together to try and help each student be their best and set their own direction or journey for their lives.
I chose Wesley as a teacher for similar reasons I have heard from parents and students. Because of the importance we place in providing opportunities for students to develop their whole selves – their character as much as their academics or co-curricular endeavours. Wesley’s values and respect for everyone and their contribution/service to others is significant too.
We also encourage students and staff to take risks, to try (and fail sometimes) and to innovate so that we can learn and grow all the time from our experiences and be ‘good humans’.
What is the most important experience you want students to get from their year with you?
Being a Politics and Law teacher, I would love them to recognise the role that everyone can and should play in our democracy and legal system. To pay attention, to think, to question, to challenge and participate. To seize the opportunities available to them and to find their passions.
As a HASS teacher, I would be thrilled if their passion was in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Regardless of that, ultimately I hope they understand the world around them, how we are all interconnected and how what they learn in HASS is actually about the real world.
I also want students to get to know themselves as learners and young adults in our society. To understand how they think and why that is the case, to be willing to listen to other points of view, form their own opinions and justify it, but not be afraid to change their mind too. This will help them be active citizens who can make informed decisions about their future and that of their friends, families and communities.
How do you ensure each student learns how to learn?
By being deliberate about what really matters or what will make a difference to that student and focus on that. Sometimes that is by providing very focused feedback, by focusing on skills and other times it is about “having a chat”.
I try to involve and ask students, be receptive to their feedback and try new things. In addition, I think about what I might have wanted to learn and how I learnt when I was a student.
What do you do outside of the College?
I make a lot of time to go hiking in the Perth hills and in the South West. I love getting out in nature and enjoying the lifestyle that Perth and our environment has to offer. I can be found on an aeroplane travelling to new places to meet friends, family and new people to learn about the culture, language, history and politics of the country, as well as enjoying the natural beauty and wilderness or taking on the challenge of hiking mountains or traversing glaciers. I also enjoy the odd game of Uno and some time in a hammock reading nerdy magazines.
Where I can I like to volunteer to help improve opportunities for others. Most commonly, I do this through working with the Political and Legal Educators Association of WA or through volunteer work with charitable organisations.
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