Mr Kemp NZ

Professional Development and Women in Leadership – a guest post

Today’s blog is a guest post from Lina Ponto, who is an early career educator from Sydney, Australia. Lina is a STEAM advocate and an extremely committed and inspiring young lady. I have been lucky to meet her several times during my work in Sydney Schools. Last year at #pubPD in Sydney, Lina won the competition for a FREE ticket to the 21st-century learning conference in Hong Kong. We met while I was presenting and again, I was constantly inspired by her passion for education so I had to ask her to summarise her time at this conference and her learning. You can also follow her blog at Enjoy!

Hi everyone! I’m Lina Ponto, @Miss_Ponto (shameless plug) on twitter and I’ve just finished my final year of my education degree at The University of Sydney. So, I’m about 2 months into this vocation as an Early Career Teacher and it is an absolute privilege to publish this blog post.

Last year, I attended Craig’s Professional Development workshop in Sydney (#pubPD) where his magical hands selected my name out of a bag. I was quite shocked as I was undertaking my internship and I never thought I was going to be going overseas in 2016. I am extremely grateful for coming all the way to Hong Kong.

The 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong, ignited and validated the ideas that I had in my mind for the last couple of months. My mind was extremely porous to the information out there that was presented by the various presenters especially on coding, maker spaces, innovation and finally, design thinking. From the various sessions that I attended, I learnt how to continue to foster creativity and innovation that students possessed, be more confident with teaching design thinking in the classroom, was provided with some tips that assisted me with further planning and developing a more integrative STEAM programme that I could use within the various schools that I currently work with. I’ve learnt some valuable lessons about maker spaces and it has really provided perspective on how to build the constructs of an effective

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I’ve learnt some valuable lessons about maker spaces and it has really provided perspective on how to build the constructs of an effective maker space that I’m keen to lay the foundations of within various schools over the next couple of months.

I’ve been provoked and stimulated mentally with the amount of information presented and I really am looking forward to contributing to the “Ideas boom” that the Australian government has been endorsing when I return. From meeting all the other amazing and passionate delegates it has reinforced that I need to give back, to stop being afraid of the ideas within my head and work even more collaboratively with my fellow, more experienced colleagues. To attend more PD sessions to continually feed my thoughts and to participate in more teacher events. I also learnt from spending time in Hong Kong at the conference and from Craig mentoring me that I should reach out and touch base with other undergraduates whom I know who are studying at uni and need someone to bounce ideas off. That they need someone to provide guidance to, as I’ve been very fortunate to be nurtured intellectually and creatively by my PLN both online and in person.

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I am grateful for all the people that I’ve managed to meet in real life and to hear their stories, their passions, their successes and how they overcome many different pressures in their environment to enact change.


“When you educate a girl, you educate an entire generation”

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Following Craig’s advice over dinner, I signed myself up and attended the inaugural W LEAD at Harbourside Hotel in Hong Kong. It was a sisterhood where on a foggy day, we discussed the current  and inherent issues that affected women’s leadership such as perceptions, factors and attitudes in today’s context. I realised how complex women’s leadership is and that I actually can contribute to change in developing and encouraging women’s leadership from a young age such as using positive language in the classroom, changing values and eradicating forms of sexism in the classroom to many other things.

I felt extremely supported and inspired by the women there who were both older and wiser, or much younger than I was. We were bonded by that innate passion to empower other females to unlock their potential.

It also made me reflect on my beginnings, my roots, my journey… as a young female of ethnicity and what my duty is to the future generation along with the thought that I can be a leader. It also made me think about the University of Sydney’s motto plastered everywhere that “Leadership starts here”- what is exactly leadership? who am I truly? what exactly is my influence? All the thoughts that I’ve been pondering in my previous post on my blog:

I reflected regularly on the many incredibly strong minded women and men who have invested in me and helped develop my identity as an individual, as a musician and as an educator from a young age as I grew up in a multicultural community. Those who taught me was leadership was and helped me develop my voice in this very dynamic yet complex 21st-century domain.

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What really touched me the most was hearing Belinda Greer’s story about her journey as a woman being a leader was remarkable. How her determination and her ethos resulted in her emergence as a leader. She also highlighted to me that age isn’t a barrier to being a leader. Her message about making an impact on all children made me realise that all the unfortunate things that have happened over the last 3 months has been a blessing within itself as it forged a new path, one where I was free, where I could work with more children, have the ability to be more creative, autonomous, the ability to fail more often (as I was prototyping all the ideas that were brewing my mind) and the ability to continue researching whilst teaching. Returning back home to Sydney, I went and enacted things, I ignited more fires in children’s minds about education, nurtured their creatives even more and realised that I am a teacher without a border. I am happy to travel 2 hours to a school in the South Coast that is geographically far away from Sydney but is considered an Utopian school in New South Wales.  Most of my peers think I’m a little weird for the long hike, but I justify the journey because its what inside that matters and mine is to nurture students psychological, social and creative needs whilst teaching them the fundamental basics of learning to read, write and count.

I guess, my influence now is to advocate STEAM education as a young, early career teacher and empower more girls to create their futures. They can be whatever they want and yes, girls we run the world! Everyday should be International Women’s Day!

Its going to be tough and I know I will be challenged. BUT, I am a woman and hear me roar!

Thanks for reading and a massive thank you to Craig Kemp for this opportunity of a lifetime!

Keep being amazing everyone!

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Global EdTech Consultant based in Singapore but working with Schools and EdTech companies all over the world. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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