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There is something uniquely special about school life. There is something quite beautiful about coming to work armed with cellophane, crepe paper, gluesticks and picture books about the rainforest.

There is the transforming of the classroom space to spark imagination and get the 'whys' and 'hows' going. But then the classroom space, this little ecosystem of minds, is also transformative for us as teachers and we all discover new ways of seeing the world.

I love a challenge and so in September 2012, I took the less traveled path of teaching for four years in the Abu Dhabi public education system alongside other teachers from a variety of nationalities. This was a valuable experience, and extended my understanding of differentiation and catering for all abilities within the classroom. Learning to communicate effectively, and drawing on news means to express ideas became crucial to my work as a teacher of EFL learners.

If you are seeking teaching staff,  I encourage you to read more about my experience teaching both in Sydney and in the UAE. I am accrediated with BOSTES, I have completed all mandatory Heath and Safety DEC requirements, and have my Working With Children Check clearances. 

My contact details are below. If you require any further information, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Nadine Nelson 

[email protected]

ma1nad (Skype)

Curriculum Development Roles


I meet weekly with the Senior Visual Arts Curriculum Writers and have collaborated in designing units of work for Cycle 1 and 2 students. This has included a comprehensive Clay Animation Series including video samples, student work, storyboard samples and annotated units that has been  accessible by both Arabic and English teachers. I also volunteered my time giving feedback to the curriculum writers and helped produce exemplars for use in schools.


I researched a whole school approach to collecting and storing assessment data when I worked at Nicholson Street PS. I introduced SENTRAL, a school wide assessment tracking system to my colleagues and assisted in the implementation of this school wide this year. In my first year, I proposed the use of wikis to analyse the NAPLAN writing samples of our Year 3 and Year 5 cohort. I created the wiki for this purpose, and by using NAPLAN rubrics as an assessment tool, we tracked student understanding and ability of narrative writing as a staff and found that this approach helped us set targets for our students.


When I taught at Nicholson Street PS, I set strategic targets for our school in Aboriginal Education through increased involvement with the DEC Aboriginal Education Office and Aboriginal community members. All staff have since completed Cultural Awareness training, and continue to plan and program units of work that teach Indigenous perspectives. Through collecting the feedback from student, teacher and parent surveys on Aboriginal Education, a deeper connection and respect for Aboriginal issues and histories assisted us to move forward together as a school community. 

Leadership Responsibilities

During this year I was involved in a mentoring initiative where Emirati teachers were partnered with English Medium Teachers in order to share experience, to collaborate on planning units together, and to give opportunity to reflect and examine teaching practices. I meet weekly with my mentee, attended the mentor training and documented our meetings, feeding forward to administration and providing opportunities and support for classroom teaching experience.

This role included the annual organisation and coordination of NAIDOC Week, Reconciliation Week and the preparation and providing of teaching resources to my colleagues. It also included:

  • Maintaining relationships with community members, and who came to our school on a regular basis.
  • Facilitating Cultural Awareness training with staff members, and have presented research to my colleagues on our school communities attitudes and values towards Aboriginal Education.


By taking on this role, our school has been able to participate in inter school debate competitions, something that was previously unrealistic for our small staff. This role involved:

  • Organisation of the administration and permissions, travel arrangements and adjudicators for our team, this occurring on a fortnightly basis.
  • Coaching our teams on debating technique and have attended professional development courses on this.

This role included the annual coordinating and facilitating DEC Visual Arts competitions and events within the school such as Operation Art, and Koori Art Expressions. It involved:

  • Facilitation of our school's participation in Create East and Create South, which combines music, drama, visual art and film making.
  • Writing sample Visual Arts units for teachers in Years 3-6, prepared resources and provide rubrics for assessment purposes.
  • Leading Professional Development sessions teaching Visual Art demonstration lessons to my colleagues.

Classroom Responsibilities

Lesson Planning:

I plan and implement lessons in accordance with national and state outcomes, and I use Backwards Mapping as a means to design units of work. I focus on the understanding I want my students to come away with, and plan lessons around the skills and knowledge that link to that central question. Where possible, I integrate across subject areas in order to provide a cohesive teaching program. Giving students as many opportunities to hone skills and practise what has been taught in class is important to me, and assessment allows for the different learning styles and expressions of ability.

Professional Development Training: 

I have lead Professional Development training in both Sydney and in Abu Dhabi, but have taken on greater responsibility this past year in sharing methodologies and strategies with my colleagues in the UAE. I have lead sessions on Writers Workshops, Editing Circles, Clay Animation, and specific Numeracy practices for our English teachers. 

ICT Integration: 
I use Web 2.0 software such as EduBlog and wikis to communicate with colleagues and with my students. Each student in my class set up their own blog, and were able to publish writing, scan in work samples, art work, reflections and receive information from the teachers own blog. Students used Smart notebook on their laptops to create and export documents ready for uploading onto their blog.
I enjoy documenting learning experiences as a teaching tool. All presentations of work are filmed and used for peer reviews and as ways to give authentic feedback to others. Using iMovie has been a way to share work with the wider school community in parent evenings and in school assemblies.

I developed my own ‘Flipping the Classroom’, where instructional videos were made at in another setting and then watched by students. Often this would be role playing as some strange and unusual character, but engaged all students and hooked them instantly into the lesson.

I love teaching clay animation which integrates art making, script writing, teamwork and ICT. Students practice skills such as taking a series of still shots on a digital camera, uploading and using iMovie to time the frames into a sequence of animation. Students export their animation as a Quicktime movie. The learning opportunities in clay animation are seamlessly integrated, and caters for many learning styles.

Personal Development:

I have maintained my BOSTES accreditation and am currently at 'Proficient'. I have tracked my Professional Development consistently in accordance with the Quality Teaching Framework, and have worked with my leadership team in achieving my Professional Development goals in Sydney. During my time in the UAE, I designed and implemented successful Personal Development Plans that have tracked professional goals each year.

In order to keep myself aware and updated with best practice I completed online training through the International Baccalaureate Organisation looking at integrating inquiry learning through curriculum. This course looked at the design, implementation and assessment/ exhibition of student learning within the Primary Years Program of the IBO.

In 2014 I decided to take the opportunity to study through Curtin University in Perth, and work towards my Masters of Philosophy in Education. My research looks specifically at Critical Pedagogy when applied in an ESL context with Arabic elementary aged students. I completed my data collection before returning to Sydney, and now look forward to to the next phase of data analysis.

Work History

Newtown Public School, Sydney Australia

January 2017July 2017

Primary Classroom Teacher

Newtown Public School enjoys a strong sense of community pride, with strong involvement in student leadership programs and extra curricular learning.

  • As classroom teacher, I have felt my practice hone in on classroom dynamics and I work closely with students who have significant behavioural and emotional needs. Creating Individual Education Plans, and setting achievable social and academic goals and seeing them achieved in a relatively short time, has been very rewarding. I collaborate with teachers in my planning and teaching of units, employing Backwards Mapping as the means to plan and teach.


August 2016December 2016


I am calling this time my sabbatical. A time to rest, travel and spend time with our families who had missed their grandchild. 

Khadeejah Al Kubra School, Abu Dhabi UAE

September 2012July 2016

English Medium Teacher

Khadeejah Al Kubra School has navigated through many changes and new teaching methods with great success, and was accredited as the highest performing government school as recognised by Irtiquaa evaluations.

  • As an English Medium teacher, I was responsible for teaching students literacy, numeracy and science subjects within an English language immersion program. I work collaboratively with my Arabic colleagues in planning thematic units that maximise learning and engagement for my students.

Nicholson Street Public School, Sydney Australia

January 2009July 2012

Primary Classroom Teacher

Nicholson Street Public School is a vibrant inner city school located in Sydney. Teachers, students and parents worked actively to promote a school culture that was positive and celebrated learning.

  • Due to the nature of a small staff, leadership opportunities were abundant and I had the opportunity to develop my professional interests quickly. As well as my classroom responsibilities, I was able to take on leadership roles in the Visual Arts, Indigenous Education and in the planning and implementing of online assessment collection that tracked student progress throughout their primary school experience.


Curtin University, Perth


Masters of Philosophy (Science Education)

My research looks Paulo Friere's Critical Pedagogy and its suitability within adopting this approach within an English as Foreign Learner context. Critical Pedagogy is essentially a pedagogy of questions, as opposed to a more teacher centric pedagogy of answers. Critical Pedagogy has been put forward as increasing the use of English as adult learners grapple with the language to communicate lived experiences and I am very interested in this within an elementary aged group of students.

University of Technology, Sydney


Bachelor of Education in Primary Education 

The University of Technology, Sydney is  a leading practice based provider of teacher education. My four year degree was completed here, with electives taken focusing on the Visual Arts. Upon graduation, I was a targeted graduate, which meant I was able to take permanent employment with the DEC in 2009. I also volunteered my time teaching UTS education undergrads the joys of clay animation and how to teach clay animation units in schools.

Waihi College, New Zealand

Jan 1994Dec 1994

A Bursary 

Achievement of an A Bursary (university entrance)


Department of Education NSW

Dec 2015Present

e-Emergency Care (ATPSs)

Mandatory certification for DEC Employees in attending and responding to emergency situations in the school setting.

International Baccalaureate Organisation

Jul 2014Present

Making the PYP Happen In the Classroom

Online Professional Learning modules looking at inquiry based learning and assessment within the IB Primary Years Program.

Department of Education

Dec 2015Present

Anaphylaxis e-learning (APTSs)

Mandatory certification for DEC Employees in Anaphylaxis awareness, treatment and policy.

Department of Education NSW

Dec 2015Present

WHS Induction for Employees

Mandatory certification for DEC Employees in Work, Health and Safety practices.

International Experience

I have traveled, lived and worked in the following countries aside from my Kiwi childhood...

  • Abu Dhabi, UAE (2012- July 2016)
  • Sydney, Australia (2000- 2012)
  • London, UK (2003- 6 months)
  • Calcutta, India (1997- 5 months)
  • Northern Sub Continent of India (1995-1996)
  • Nepal (1995-1996)
  • Thailand (1995-1996)
  • Pakistan (1995-1996)


Janice Camille Marten                                                 Nina Carter

Head of Faculty                                                           Curriculum Specialist

Khadeejah Al Kubra School                                         Abu Dhabi Education Council

ph: +971 56 752 5509                                                 ph: + 971 50 109 8629

Email: [email protected]                             Email: [email protected]

Abbey Proud                                                              Georgia Constanti

Principal                                                                     Principal

Newtown Public School                                            McCallums Hill Public School

(W) ph: +61 2 9557 4862                                           (W) ph: +61 401 841 015

Email: [email protected]                      Email: [email protected]