James Adams: A passionate educator at Cranbrook School

2 May 2023
From commerce to the classroom: One teacher's journey
James Adams, a secondary school teacher, shares his love for teaching and how his time at the University of Sydney shaped his teaching philosophy. He offers advice for aspiring teachers and reflects on his childhood dream of becoming a palaeontologist.

How love of learning lead to a career in teaching

Portrait photo of James Adams. M.Teach graduate

“As I completed my undergraduate studies - Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) (Honours) - I increasingly found myself partaking in casual employment opportunities (private tutoring, rock climbing instructing and the like). Eventually, the pieces formed a coherent career path which I am extremely thankful for. This was coupled with a strong love of learning which my time at the University of Sydney had crystallised within me, making teaching an increasingly likely professional choice.”

Why Sydney's Master of Teaching (Secondary) program was the obvious choice for this educator

“The reputation of the University of Sydney was undeniably a factor in my choice; The University if Sydney’s education programme is a reputable one and has a strong faculty. However, I was also a USyd undergraduate which made the decision an easy one.”

James' university experience in 3 words

“Collaborative; Balanced; insightful.”

How university changed James' perspective: The biggest lessons learned

"There is so much to say. Two things: First, I learnt to recognise how complex, theoretical, and rich education, learning and school institutions are. Second, I think one key underlying and philosophical truth I learnt to appreciate was that schools and education is a highly contentious and politicised topic and that as educators we need to be knowledgeable, balanced and equipped to handle these dynamic issues."

A day in the life of a secondary teacher

“Cranbrook School is a wonderfully dynamic secondary education institution. In my current role of High Potential Coordinator, I spend time organising enrichment opportunities for our high-achieving students. This includes running key external academic events such as the da Vinci Decathlon, the Mathematics Olympiad, and the Ethics Olympiad, as well as assisting in designing and running a rigorous, opt-in extension curriculum for Cranbrook School students based in the Liberal Arts. I am thrilled to be creating substantive change at my school. The rest of my time is spent teaching Commerce and Economics which I still find the most rewarding part of my job.”

Words of wisdom: advice for future educators

“I am always surprised that I get paid to go to a school and teach, train and mentor adolescent students during their formative years. You will make a remarkable difference for so many students and I can only hope that you take the opportunity.”

Childhood dreams

“I wanted to be a palaeontologist when I was young. I found "dinosaurs" the most fascinating topic. Unfortunately, I quickly found that STEM was certainly not my calling(!).”

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