Spotlight On: Nathan Jessup

Posted January 5, 2019 in Interviews & Spotlights, Teacher Spotlights By Community Relations

Meet our Deputy Head, Nathan Jessup. Nathan was previously at Wesley between 2005 and 2009, as the Year 9 Program Leader and Assistant to the Headmaster / Strategic Projects Coordinator, before taking up the position as Director of Leadership at Melbourne Grammar School. Since returning to Wesley, Nathan has launched himself into his role as Deputy Head and as a member of the College Executive. 

What inspired you to become a teacher?

First and foremost, my parents. They placed a significant emphasis on education. Not simply as a transaction, but as a privilege to be honoured through hard work and a genuine commitment to learning.

I was also fortunate to have some great teachers. Particularly in my senior secondary years and during my time at university. These individuals were not only passionate about their profession, but went out of their way to encourage and support their students. Given that I wasn’t the most motivated or capable learner in my early teens, their guidance proved pivotal. Two high school Physical Education teachers were particularly influential. It was through observing them that I knew that I wanted to be a PE teacher.

Throughout my career I have continued to draw motivation and energy from the staff and students I have worked with. Every day provides moments of inspiration. I have always believed that teaching is one of the few professions that can guarantee this!

How long have you been teaching?

I am in my 25th year of teaching. During this time, I have taught in four very different schools, in a range of subject areas – Physical and Health Education, Digital Media, Science, Photography, Personal Development, Ethics. I still identify myself as a ‘Phys Edder’ though!

Tell us about some of your teaching highlights, before you started here at Wesley (this time around).

I have been very fortunate to have a number of formative educational experiences during my career. As far as absolute highlights, I would have to share these:

The first was helping to set up and run the Katitjin program during my initial years at Wesley. To be afforded the creative autonomy to research, plan and establish Katitjin was something that I continue to be grateful for. The teaching opportunities and the nature of the pastoral relationships that this program enables, was and continues to be, quite unique.

I also cherish my time working at Melbourne Grammar School, while concurrently living at Trinity College (University of Melbourne). Both institutions are located in close proximity to the city centre and are steeped in historical and intellectual tradition. The people I met and the lessons that I learnt were extraordinary.  Melbourne itself was also such an amazing place to live.

What other memorable moments have shaped your thinking?

Up until the age of 21 I had never travelled outside of Australia. In fact, I think I had only been interstate once on a sporting trip. So my world view was very narrow.

Upon receiving my first teaching appointment I made the decision to spend the duration of every summer holiday somewhere overseas. Part of the challenge was to book a flight in and out of a country; without pre-booking any accommodation or tours. This allowed me to travel completely independently and to become ‘lost’ in each country for weeks on end.

This form of travel became part of my existence for some 15 years. During this time, I only ever travelled to developing countries which added another layer of cultural learning and insight.

The result was a range of experiences that have been invaluable in developing my capacity to think creatively and critically. This was particularly important when things went wrong, as they inevitably do when travelling in unpredictable places.

It also fundamentally changed and shaped my world view. Igniting an ongoing interest in global affairs, ethics and a range of social justice causes.

What made you choose to join Wesley? 

When I started at Wesley College in 2005 it took me less than a week to realise what an extraordinary school it was – innovative, dynamic, warm and community oriented. Working in the Katitjin program only further reinforced this, particularly as it provided me with the opportunity to get to know so many students and their families.

While it was difficult to leave Victoria after seven great years, Perth is home, and so I feel is Wesley. To rekindle relationships with members of the Wesley community has been great and to see how much the school has progressed, is a real credit to all those involved.

I have always thought that Wesley gets under your skin and becomes a part of you, even if only at a sub-conscious level.

Outside of school life, what are your favourite things to do? 

I have a relatively young family  so this takes precedence over everything else. Beyond this my aim has always been to keep active, both physically and intellectually. Despite my aging body I try to maintain the former through swimming, cycling and running. In terms of intellectual pursuits; I like to read, study, think and write.

Finally, I am a long term Carlton supporter and sufferer. For almost as long as I can remember this has involved an annual cycle of pre-season optimism, mid-season resignation and late- season disinterest. Hopefully with a few more number one draft picks we will be competitive in the near future.

Subscribe to Wesley College News & Events