Meet the Teacher

Hi there! Allow me to share a bit about myself. 

I was born in Melbourne, Australia (where I continue to live). Much of my youth was spent in Ferntree Gully at the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. This was largely where my love of forests, lush gardens, steam engines and quaint tea rooms and cafes came from. After finishing Year 12, I did the first year in the Advanced Certificate in Art and Design course at Outer Eastern TAFE. This paved the way for me to study at the University of Melbourne, undertaking the four year Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts (Secondary) course. It was packed with a huge variety of art experiences and was so much fun (well, most things were)! 

My teaching career began at a small country school in central Victoria back in 1998. I decided to go back to university after that and gained my Graduate Diploma of Education (Primary) at Monash University. This began what turned out to be twenty-one years worth of teaching (with a few breaks here and there) at Heathdale Christian College in Melbourne's outer-west. During the first several years I taught as a classroom teacher.

In 2007, I embarked on a rather exciting adventure

- hopping on a plane to head to England to study the

Bible for a year at Capernwray Bible School in

Carnforth, Lancashire. As the plane descended into

London and I saw St Paul's Cathedral out of the

window, it truly felt like I was coming home. It was

such a rich, blessed time of learning, fellowship,

growth and renewal. I visited many inspirational

places and even took a trip across to Rome (where I

sketched the scene used in my logo at the Villa Borghese

Gardens).

When I returned to Melbourne the following year, I devoted some time to my own art, holding a couple of art exhibitions and getting my art professionally printed. Soon, a position came up at Heathdale for a middle-school art teacher and I very happily stepped into the roll. Thousands of students later I look back at many happy times with students, helping them to grow as budding artists.

In 2022, I have taken a step sideways to nurture my own art-making while continuing to nurture the budding artists that come across my path through Mr Kingdom's School of Art. I'm excited about the many possibilities that this new path will open up both for me and for those I teach. My prayer is that God will make me a blessing to others through the art that I make and through the art that I help others make.

My Interests - a Visual Summary 

What is my teaching philosophy/style?

I see the role of the teacher as someone who imparts knowledge and provides inspiration and guidance. A good teacher knows their subject well but also maintains the attitude of a life-long learner themselves - they are humble enough to admit that there is still much that they do not know (but would like to learn all the same). They recognise that learning is an exciting adventure and invite others to join them on that journey. A good teacher acknowledges that students are teachers as well: students may, in turn, teach the teacher, their peers and ultimately teach themselves. Together, the teacher and student are on the same journey: both are growing, heading in the same general direction; one usually leads the way but is happy to be shown new paths that they haven't yet discovered for themselves.

Discipline is not an overly popular word but it is a crucial element in learning and growing. I wish I had learnt the value of discipline in my younger years - I could have progressed much faster in my learning if I had done so. I learnt the violin for nine years (starting in Year 7 at high school). I enjoyed playing violin but didn't discipline myself to practice as often as I should have and while I made some progress, I only got so far. A couple of years ago, when Melbourne was in regular lockdowns, I had been reading up on how to be fit mentally and look after your brain health. I learnt that playing an instrument can be very good for the brain - especially because of the coordination aspect of it. I shook the dust off my old violin (approximately 130 years old actually) and started playing again. It was a shaky start but I discovered that after a few months of regular practice, my playing was improving - even sounding decent! All that to say, discipline and learning go hand-in-hand and the artist that can discipline themselves to regularly put pencil to paper and brush to canvas will travel further, faster.

Teachers vary greatly in their teaching styles as well as in their philosophies of education. Some are loud and dramatic and others are quieter and have a more gently approach. I am very much in the latter category (my students all knew that "Mr Kingdom is allergic to noise"). It has been a blessing through my years in the teaching profession to discover that it's not necessary to dress and behave like one of "The Wiggles" (popular children's entertainers in Australia) in order to engage students and help them to enjoy learning. Some classrooms had the air of a debate in Ancient Greece or dare I say, in Parliament, whereas my art room tended to be a place of sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of school life (with the exception of pack-up time) and my students valued the respite that it offered. Humour has always had a place in my classes (and was sometimes hard to suppress during very serious staff meetings) and a bit of laughter can help us to remember our humanity, move on from our mistakes and it also turns out to be rather good for us! The Bible teaches us that "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22).

When it comes to teaching children, I believe that children are far more intelligent than we often give them credit for and strongly suspect that they are capable of understanding much deeper truths and concepts if we would stop "dumbing things down" for them (while acknowledging that there is a need for differentiation when it comes to special needs children). There are some things that are not appropriate on moral/developmental grounds for young children to be exposed to but putting those things aside, children may grasp a law of science or theorem of music if it is presented to them in a palatable way.

Education is a great gift and a great responsibility. Learning is part of the joy of being human. Learning that looks to God and receives from God as the Ultimate Teacher and Authority is most blessed of all.