Every month, the group of people who teach secular ethics at Narooma Primary School meet for a social lunch.
Local PrimaryEthics coordinator Mog Bremner took the opportunity to ask two teachers who have been involved with the program right from the start why they wanted to be involved.
John Druhan was involved with the PrimaryEthics program at Narooma Primary School before a single class was taught. He was the first coordinator for the area, and he recruited the first teachers in 2013. He now teaches a Year 2 class.
What do you like about teaching ethics? Children are natural explorers and it is very satisfying to watch and guide the group’s exploration as they work out ethical questions. Adults tend to be set in their ways, with fixed ideas, but children sometimes come up with surprising answers that I would never have thought of.
Have you any experience teaching? No, none at all! But the two-day free training course was very thorough and I get a lot of help and support from the group, some of whom are trained teachers.
How much time do you need to give to the program? I work full-time and have children myself, so I don’t have a lot of time. I teach a half-hour class once a week during term time, and I do probably an average of 30 minutes or so preparation for the class.
What have you gained from teaching ethics? I really enjoy the kick of seeing what the children come up with. I like the other people involved in the program and we always have interesting discussions at our monthly lunches.
Clare Hooper was one of the first teachers John recruited to teach ethics, and she has taught a variety of classes since 2014.
What do you like about teaching ethics? I like to know that I am encouraging children to think for themselves, and giving them the tools they need to work through ethical questions. I feel that if I can help even a few children out of the class to think in a new way, then I have done them a good turn.
How much time do you need to give to the program? At the moment I am teaching just one 30 minute class a week, and the preparation is about 30 minutes a week. Earlier in the year I was teaching two classes, and that took about 2 hours a week in total.
Have you any experience teaching? Yes, I taught drama to primary age children for several years. The training course has filled in any gaps in my knowledge and technique.
What have you gained from teaching ethics? I am learning a lot – I have a lot more patience than I thought I had! The curriculum has some very interesting topics that get me thinking. The team is an interesting group of people who are very supportive.
Do you think you would like to join the local PrimaryEthics team? To find out more, contact me the local coordinator Mog Bremner on 0401 968 899 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit the web site www.primaryethics.com.au