ABOUT

Top-Notch Teaching is about providing teachers with practical, time saving tips and resources so that they feel inspired, empowered and willing to build a richer learning environment, thus making a better classroom. Specifically, Top Notch Teaching will:

  • Write about being a reflective teacher;
  • Share ideas that will assist teachers to support students that may have a specific learning difficulty;

  • Write about the importance of developing planning skills;
  • Share lesson ideas and lesson plans;
  • Delve into the various teaching strategies that teachers use and how these can be practically implemented in the classroom; and
  • Explore management skills.

My name is Melinda Crean and I am the creator and writer behind Top Notch Teaching. I am passionate about K-7 education and how we can better ourselves as teachers to provide more quality opportunities for our students.

 A little bit more about me

  • I currently live in Perth, Australia with my husband and daughter.
  • I had a number of different careers before I decided I wanted to be a teacher. Some of these included; telemarketing, owning a lunchbar/deli, being a trainee manager at an electronics store and training to be an auto electrician.
  • I started my teacher training when I was a little bit older (24), which I think was a good thing as I had a lot of ‘world’ experience to bring with me. I was surprised at how well I did at University, but also really quite amazed at how much I enjoyed all aspects of teaching.
  • When I graduated I moved (with my husband to be) to Port Hedland for my first teaching post. Wow what an eye-opener. If you don’t know where this is, it’s about 1650km north of Perth in Western Australia. It’s a mining town on the coast with not much else around (although excellent fishing!).
  • I learnt how hard and rewarding teaching could be in that first year – I have shared many of my experiences of being a teacher, you can find them here.
  • From Port Hedland I moved to Karratha (about 240km south of Hedland) and had many different teaching roles, including: being a music/drama specialist, literacy specialist, art specialist, year 5, 6 & 7 teacher and the list goes on.
  • While in Karratha I began working for a University. I taught quite a number of different subjects to trainee teachers. I also supervised trainee teachers on their teaching practicums. This was extremely rewarding and a really great experience that showed me a different side to teaching.
  • I also became involved with in-class coaching for graduate teachers. I went in to first year teacher classrooms and provided support in all facets of teaching, such as programming and planning, assessing and reporting and behaviour management.
  • As I became more involved with the University, I ended up managing their Karratha office, whilst teaching art at a local primary school as well as still training and coaching the teachers. This was a lot of hard work, but really helped me see all facets of education, from primary through to tertiary.
  • I ended up moving back to Perth (with my now husband) and managed to gain full time work with the University.  At first, this was coordinating all of the regional centres in Western Australia. Then this role changed to managing one particular course – a bridging program to assist prospective students in gaining entry to university.
  • During 2013 I retrained to be a Dyslexia specialist teacher and finished up at the university.  I now provide one-on-one specialised intervention in reading, spelling and writing to students diagnosed with dyslexia or who may have other specific learning difficulties.

The formal side of things, my qualifications, training and publications

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Education (Primary Education);
  • First Class Honours;
  • Miles Medal for Excellence in Education (Dux of Year);
  • Certified in the teaching of reading, spelling and writing using Sounds~Write (a linguistic phonics programme);

  • Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation – what is dyslexia workshop, deciphering assessment reports, writing student reports and developing individual plans; and
  • Learning difficulties in the Primary School – Module 1 & 2.

Specialised Intervention Experience

  • Working one-on-one with students with dyslexia;
  • Even Start National Tuition Programme: provided intervention to children to help them achieve better literacy and numeracy standards;
  • Reading Assistance Tutor: provided intervention to children to achieve better reading standards; and
  • Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS): supported Aboriginal students at educational risk with literacy.  I provided a learning environment that was supportive, inclusive and culturally appropriate.

Memberships / Registrations

Other Training

  • Using Web 2.0 Technologies for Online Teaching;
  • Elluminate Software – Provides ‘real time’ online learning;
  • Graduate Teacher In-class Coaching Program – Professional Learning Institute;
  • First Steps in English – Reading and Writing;
  • First Steps in Mathematics – Number;
  • Making Consistent Judgements in the Mathematics Learning Area;
  • Learning Difficulties in the Primary School – Module 1 and Module 2;
  • Makaton Basic Workshop – introduction to key word signing; and
  • Breaking out of the World Game. An anti bullying program concentrating on a whole school approach in combating bullying and related issues

Publications

Crean, M. (2007). Tambrey Information Resource (Version 1.0) [Computer Software]. Tambrey Primary School, Western Australia.

Crean, M., & Woods, D. (2004). Curriculum Framework – An Overview. Cassia and Tambrey Primary Schools, Western Australia.

Degree of Bachelor of Education, Honours Thesis
Crean, M. (2003). A Study to Identify and Define an Online Learning Environment in a Primary School Context, Western Australia.

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