Teacher of the week: Rod Lane

Dr Rod Lane is Senior Lecturer in The Department of Educational Studies.

I’ve been in the Macquarie University family since leaving school and studying a BA DipEd in 1990.  I worked as secondary teacher for ten years teaching social sciences at state and independent schools in Sydney.  However, I maintained a connection with Macquarie casually teaching pre-service geography teachers in the evening.

I was inspired to become a geography teacher by my own geography teacher in Year 11 at Chatswood High.  Mrs Fogarty told us stories of her own geographical adventures that ignited my interest in people and their interactions with the environment.  She spotted my enthusiasm for geography and pushed me for excellence.  The impact of her belief in me was profound.

As a secondary teacher, I relished watching students strive for big things and push ahead because I believed in them.  I enjoyed researching and testing out innovative teaching practices and I was very student centred in my approach.  I was also inspired by watching other teachers and the amazing things they’d achieve with limited resources.

I joined Macquarie as a full-time lecturer in 2006.  I was drawn to the University’s focus on quality teaching, student-driven instruction and on linking research and teaching.  As Senior Lecturer, my mission is to inspire future educators and support them to evolve their practice. I’m driven by watching pre-service teachers light up as they learn to successfully implement effective and scholarly approaches.

I commenced a PhD in 2008 part-time and completed in 2013.  My research agenda explores two key areas –  focussing on learning in terms of conceptual change, and on instruction in terms of developing teachers pedagogical content knowledge.

Last year I became a first-time Dad to my beautiful daughter Eve.  On the weekends I enjoy ocean swimming, family time and playing the guitar along to Crowded House videos.

  1. What are your main teaching commitments?

Social science methodology, Secondary curriculum and instruction and Educational assessment.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge you face as a university teacher?

I think it’s important to build relationships with and engage students.  There are new challenges doing this effectively in blended and online learning environments.

  1. What has helped you improve your teaching most and why?

It’s been helpful to co-teach on units and learn from other’s practice.  I’ve also been fortunate to find some excellent mentors both at Macquarie, in other universities and at schools. I look at improving my teaching practice as a life-long endeavour.  I continually seek advice from mentors and colleagues and feedback from students.

  1. What’s been your most memorable moment in teaching? 

 A couple of years in at Macquarie, a familiar face appeared at my office door.  I’d taught Michael geography at Cumberland High a decade earlier.  He’d since studied business at another university and had come to see me because he wanted to switch course and become a teacher.  Michael’s Dad had wanted him to go into business but, after years of study, he realised he wasn’t passionate about that career direction.

He told me that he remembered how he felt in my geography class at school.  He said I brought the subject to life.  I’d inspired him and he’d decided he wanted to do the same thing for others.  Michael subsequently enrolled my social science methodology unit and now teaches at a Christian school in Sydney.

This moment is precious to me because it was the first time I realised that, as a teacher, I had imparted the same gift Mrs Fogarty gave me to others.

5. What is your favourite movie? Why?

Dead Poets Society.  I know it’s cheesy.  But I love teaching!


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