Seeing hope in a climate of accountability
A combination of many people and influences from many places, Alma has been shaped by having had her fourth birthday in an airplane on her way to a childhood in Saudi Arabia where a reframed week taught her the value of diversity and multiple perspectives (the weekend there was Thursday/Friday, with school running from Saturday through Wednesday…). She says she chose her mother wisely and has been privileged with interesting, intelligent, funny and faithful friends.
Alma is now an Honorary Associate Professor at Macquarie University, Sydney. She has held a range of roles including teaching student teachers and postgraduates at the university, sixth graders in California, four and five-year olds in Scotland, been a regional adviser with KU Children’s Services in NSW and Head of Department at the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie. She coordinated an early childhood teaching degree for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students as well as working as a consultant for educational change across diverse Australian locations. She earned her PhD at the University of Sydney by investigating the relationships between early childhood student teachers and their cooperating teacher colleagues. Across all of those roles, she is a learner, open to the perspectives of others and curious about ideas she has not yet explored.
Alma enjoys working particularly with educators interested in the power of pedagogical documentation and practitioner inquiry. She is well aware of the challenges confronting families and educators across the early childhood landscape and of the potential for becoming discouraged with the enormity of the tasks in front of us and the constraints around us. Nevertheless, with persistent tenacity and a glass-half-full approach to daily practice, Alma continues to seek ways around the brambles to places of optimism and hope. She continues to write, publish, research and teach with colleagues and good friends who hold similar beliefs in the possibilities before us.
Having grown up travelling, Alma continues to delight in both discovering places new to her and revisiting spots which bring a chance to breathe deeply and slow down. Similar pleasure comes from sketchy efforts at gardening, having been rewarded this year with a small crop of baby potatoes, some lettuces and a petite tree of miniature lemons. A quick rain shower and sunshine on the leaves gives strength and scaffolds optimism. A bit of cooking, dog walking, book reading and casual TV fills in available spaces in the kaleidoscope. Throughout it all, family is a constant; Alma is forever grateful for their willingness to let her be something other than ‘normal’.
Co-presenting with: Anthony Semann