DEPA values our teachers and are proud to honour their experience and knowledge.
Here, we introduce a DEPA NSW member and take a peek inside their studio/classroom to learn more about our community, and consider best-practice pedagogy.
Blake has what some may consider an unhealthy obsession with Disney theme parks, trips to Hawaii and collecting Qantas Frequent Flyer points. He is constantly in the bad books with his colleagues for booking trips, however he always brings them something nice back!
Hi! I am: Blake Fatouros
I teach at: MLC School
I’ve been here: 12.5 years. In that time I have been Classroom Dance & Entertainment Teacher, Pre K – 12 Dance Coordinator, Immersion Projects Coordinator and currently the Director of Co-Curricular Programs.
I first began dancing: Age 14, when I joined the Rock Eisteddfod Team and Combined Dance ensemble at Randwick Boys and Girls High School.
I first began teaching: 16 years ago, at Colyton High School.
My favourite style to teach: Lyrical/Contemporary
The most special teaching memory of my career: Working on Rock Eisteddfod in my second year of teaching at Colyton High. Seeing a group of students most who had never danced before work as a team to put on stage pieces that challenged their way of thinking and seeing the learning that comes from embodying the content and sharing with others through performance. We also one the Open division in that first year, which was just an amazing achievement for the school community with lots of positive outcomes.
The most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in my classroom:Probably too numerous to mention over the past 16 years. The most ridiculous things usually occur during a production week, when you have had minimal sleep and are barely functioning.
The greatest teaching success I have enjoyed was: The three winning Rock Eisteddfods I have worked on as the themes were very personal and there was deep learning about important issues that was experienced by the students and have other teachers at school recognise the validity in that type of learning. Also Creating arena style musicals at MLC School, we would have a cast about 450 students from yr 6 through to yr 12 and the program was integrated into the dance, drama and musical curriculum from yr 6 to 11, as well as co-curricular ensembles. It the amazing buzz you get from collaborating with a great team of peers and students.
My proudest teaching moment: When ex-students from my first ever classes at Colyton High have gone on to have their own successful teaching careers and have gotten involved with the festival and events as teachers in which they participated in as students. When I become a teacher I had this sense of wanted to give back all that I was lucky enough to experience at school, and was proud that I was able to instll that in the next generation of teachers
Pedagogically, I specialise in: Combined IB/HSC. When MLC School introduced the IB Middle Years Program we had to shift our current outcomes based NESA elective dance program to meet the requirements of the IB’s inquiry and concept based learning frameworks. Initially it was a significant challenge for us especially around performance. After a year of trial and error, I think we achieved a result that has enhanced our offering in yrs 9 and 10 as well as better backwards mapping of Dance in IB diploma program and the HSC.
One tip I’d give graduating dance teachers in their first year: You need to be flexible and resilient. Flexible as schools are constantly in flux and you need to be willing to adapted. Resiliences goes hand in hand with being flexible, and being able to manage and adapt to change. Also feel empowered to say NO. As a passionate new teacher you will want to say yes to every experience that is offered to you. Just be measured in you approach, and effectively manage your time so you do not burn out. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO COLLABORATE!!!!!!!
A short learning experience, programming, administration or student-management trick which never fails: Try not reinvent the wheel every year. I know I have been guilty of want to try new things with Junior years every year, this leads to rewriting the program over and over again.
My favourite aspect of teaching in a school is: Working with young people, watching them being challenge and then seeing them overcome the challenges, mastering new skills and flourishing.