Alumni in profile

Mary Tannock
Bachelor of Letters (Honours) 1997

As a secondary school teacher for over forty years, graduate Mary Tannock said she has been fortunate to have experienced many career highlights over this time - particularly in the education of thousands of young minds.

'My career highlights include being on the marking panel of English in Western Australia for nearly 37 years and I have been on the literature marking panel for the past two years - both panels were associated with the old tertiary entrance curriculum.

'I have always loved seeing knowledge lodge in the eyes of my students when they have indicated they understood a concept - particularly associated with literature. An example springs to mind when teaching the structures in poetry, when students are able to link these structures to meaning and they discern how this meaning is conveyed - it is very satisfying,' she said.

However like many current teachers, Mary is very concerned about the curriculum and methods of teaching English and literature in the classroom today.

'I enjoy teaching and have been in the classroom teaching secondary students English and literature for 40 years. Regretfully I do not enjoy the current courses which are particularly hard on literature. It should begin at the grass roots level in the classroom. Literature is an imitation of life in many respects and acknowledges a past, a present and a future in its cultural contexts.

'The current Courses of Study Curriculum here in WA have been colonised and acknowledge no past in their content. The broader impact of this smacks of colonialism, which denies a past. To deny this is to engage in cultural genocide and is no different to what is and has been happening globally with past and present colonialism,' she explained.

Although it is over ten years since she graduated in 1997, Mary still can't speak highly enough of her time at Deakin University.

'I came to Deakin to expand my personal and professional horizons - and it was the most exhilarating experience of my life! My area was literature and my honours thesis involved the study of the constructs of women in TS Eliot's poetry and verse plays.

'The course units were demanding and covered a range of texts from the classical era to contemporary texts that are so lacking in our education system today at the classroom level. The reading material made available by correspondence from your excellent library service was delivered the next day - meaning you could devour twenty books a week!

'The assignments were profound and the advice from tutors, equally demanding, knowledgeable and painstakingly detailed. I would strongly recommend Deakin for its professionalism and ability to deliver knowledge,' she said.

As for the future, Mary plans to continue to educate young minds in the field of English and literature and lobby to improve the curriculum and methods of teaching in this subject area.

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29th August 2011