There’s not much that Anthony Spinks hasn’t done when it comes to teaching.
And he brings all that experience from around the world to his job at UOW College, giving his students a depth of knowledge and understanding that would be hard to find anywhere else.
On top of those credentials, his students at the College are also able to tap into his industry experience, a combination which is unbeatable when it comes to gaining a well-rounded and comprehensive education in the area of scientific thinking.
Before starting his teaching career, Anthony worked in environmental management, specifically in urban water management and as a water efficiency consultant for Sydney Water.
But after deciding to explore other career options, Anthony found himself in Taiwan, working for five years at the Chinese Medical University, teaching scientific thinking and application to students who wanted to learn their subjects in English.
“I taught a couple of subjects at the Chinese Medical University – a freshman year of general knowledge subjects taught in English as well as ethics and emerging technologies, and environmental science,” he said.
And the experience of living and working in a very culturally different environment has helped him in his career at UOW College.
“Living and working in Asia helped me to culturally understand what our international students may be experiencing,” he said.
“I can relate to them because I have been there and done that.”
Anthony joined UOW College five years ago and now works in the academic program as both a teacher and subject co-ordinator for Scientific Thinking and Computing Studies.
“As a subject coordinator, I am constantly looking for better, more engaging ways of structuring subjects to maximise student enjoyment and achievement, such as through problem-based learning and project work,” he said.
He honed his skills for academic teaching as a lecturer in the University of Wollongong’s intensive English language program, helping international students going into post-graduate degrees improve their English in an intensive six-week course.
“Then as I got to know people and they got to know me, and they realised I was science trained, I was fortunate to get offered a position in the UOW College academic program,” he said.
“And it’s great now to be able to teach the subjects I know.”
Anthony said the best part of his job is seeing the moment when his students realise their own potential, especially the mature-age students who bring to the classes their own life experiences and critical thinking skills.
“They often don’t realise just how much they know and how much they bring to the classes,” he said.
“It’s great when you put forward content or skills and see students grasp it and apply it to their own lives and circumstances.
“I try to help them to apply what they are learning in their lives and connect it with real-life situations. When you see them do that, you also start to get students to put their own personality and dreams into the content and the two halves come together.
“It’s creative and inspiring seeing what the students bring to class and how they incorporate that into their own experience and ideas for the future. It makes my work fascinating.
“And I enjoy seeing those students who may come to the College with a high level of anxiety about starting something new and watch them realise what they are capable of, watching their confidence grow. They become empowered.”
Subject Coordinator and Lecturer
UOW College Australia