July 14

About Ellen

So who is this teacher?


I have been teaching for a long time, 2017 marks my 40th year in education, and one day I reckon I might take the L plate off my door. But there is always something new for me to learn. I guess that insatiable appetite to know what something is and how things work drives my learning. I think asking questions is a fundamental part of learning. Being a teacher means I can get others thinking too and perhaps they will ask more questions, better still, they’ll eventually discover the answers, and then a whole new set of questions will come up.

I began my career as a Junior Primary Teacher teaching at a few Elizabeth JP schools, I loved working with year 5 to 8 year olds. I was able to keep the same children from reception to year 2, as we had continuous intake with vertically grouped classes. I loved seeing the incredible changes kids underwent in their learning over three/ four years before I sent them confidently off to the primary.  However when I transferred to Grange in 1993 there was a fork in the road and I experienced a shift in my teaching focus.


At that time Grange was two schools and although I had been transferred into the JP section a mutual swap in the Primary sector with my replacement provided me with a decision. Do I take a new year level, year three, and an opportunity to work with the primary “big teachers”, or stick to what I knew well and stay with JP kids … ooh scary stuff indeed, I was put out of my comfort zone! That was the first of many learning curves at Grange. Now I guess you are doing the maths and can work out I’ve been at Grange for some time now, aren’t I bored with the same school? Well Grange is never static, the school has had lots of changes with leadership and direction and I have had fun learning to keep up, thoroughly enjoying the middle years sector with grades three and four. Of course that is where my passion lies now, particularly with the collaborative pedagogy that I’ve been constantly dabbling in, so enriching and rewarding. Do I miss teaching in the JP? I take my hat off to them now, cos I reckon my patience was left back up north and I am too old for five years olds now!


Do I have any other interests apart from teaching kids? I am filled with scientific curiosity, I think we live on an awesome planet so a lot of my interests are science based because I need to understand how Earth works.

  • I’m a part time amateur astronomer, but I don’t get as much time to do that as I used to, (teaching does have some draw backs).
  • I’ve always been a geology buff so volcanology, earthquakes, plate tectonics etc is fascinating.
  • I love going to physics lectures, when the Higgs Bosun was recently discovered there was electricity in the air indeed. A lot of the science goes way over my head but that doesn’t stop me.
  • I’m keen bush walker and I’m proud of my hiking achievements some of which are walking the Milford and Routeburn Track in NZ, the GSWWalk in Vic, The Sumarian Gorge, Crete, The Heysen Trail,  SA, Multiple Volcanic tracks on The Big Island, Hawaii.
  • I’ve just found out about the joys of snorkelling (blame Hawaii!) we call it underwater bush walking.
  • I do love gardening too and specialise in roses, I often bring them in during the growing season.
  • I’m also an avid reader which used to mainly read sci-fi or Star Trek to be honest, but now it’s shifted to mostly fantasy.
  • Which leads to gaming, at the moment I am playing Defenders of the Realm. It’s powerful stuff, a fabulous board game where I get to kill dragons and take on the roles of different heroes. But, I’ve been recently introduced to Zombicide, that is a great collaborative game!
  • Oh and I’m a great cook too, bottling the odd jar of quince jelly or three!
  • Now where there’s a lot of science, there is SCI-FI, so yes I am a Star Trek nerd too. I can safely say that these are all heavily influenced by my fantastic husband Peter (all the fantasy and nerd stuff is his fault!)

A couple of years ago I got to combine a few of my favourite pastimes bushwalking/hiking, astronomy and geology all in one place, Hawaii. I took some long service leave and my husband and I indulged ourselves. I was in awe of the raw power of this dynamo, our Earth. Observing molten lava cascading into the Pacific Ocean was breathtaking. Standing on the three highest mountains on Earth (yep Mt Everest is 4th!) was a humbling experience indeed and watching the sunrise on Haleakala and set on Mauna Kea was an incredible experience. I’ll never forget the Star Party at 9,000 feet, a bit chilly that, but it’s the closest I’ll get to the stars. 

Hey check out the volcano from vanuatu.

If I can pass on a little of my enthusiasm for learning to others I’d be happy. So I’ll keep learning and share what I can.


Well, making sure I have seen growth and progress for all my students is always on the top of my list to achieve, but on the way, other things do crop up. I have mentored many preservice teachers and taken various leadership roles. I have opened my classroom to groups of teachers to observe my collaborative methodology and had a collection of overseas visitors too. I have taken my kids to other many schools to talk about their work in teams. We have always been received warmly with enthusiastic responses and positive feedback.


I was very humbled in 2013 when the dear parents of my class nominated me for the Public Teaching Awards. After several nominations in previous years by equally persuasive parents, this time my name made the short list and I ended up winning the Western Adelaide Region Primary Award.

I was pretty proud when I heard that there were 700 hundred others nominated.  I was also delighted as my principal at the time, Frank Mittiga, also won the award for outstanding Principal in our region. We were able to celebrate together with our partners at a rather special night. I was indeed honoured. That would have to be a standout in my professional career.


How exciting was that night.

Still nothing beats the joy on the faces of my kids when they achieve their goals for learning or eureka, when they get that ah ha moment and they finally make connections.

31 thoughts on “About Ellen

  1. Shayla

    Dear Ellen
    Wow!!!!!!you have sure been on adventure like current flow and lava flow that is cool
    Warm regards Shayla

    I keep forgetting to tell you that my family including my nan and pops saw Mars in the sky the other week . It was really bright and cool

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Hello again Shayla,
      You’ve been busy reading. Yes I did have quite an adventure in Hawaii I got up to some interesting and dangerous stuff I’ll tell you about it sometime. As for Mars, he is quite bright at the moment but also so are the other planets and next term we’ll find them in the night sky. but if you want to get a head start look at the nightskymaps I have a link on the blog in the science section. There’s anew map each month and you get to see great things. your eyes are good and if you have binoculars even better. You don’t need a telescope but it’s fun when you can see through it.
      Actually the winter sky is the most interesting but it’s hard to stay out too long because of the cold.
      Warm wishes and happy star gazing

  2. BELLA v

    Hola Ellen, -Relly good teacher
    -funny teacher
    -kind teacher
    -helping teacher
    -good teacher
    -useful teacher
    Warm regards Bella

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Dear Bella,
      what a thoughtful poem. Poems are good thread tobuild fluency. Have you thought of doing that? Perhaps you could challenge yourself to read one tithe class with lots of expression.
      Happy reading Ellen

  3. Kiara

    Hi Ellen
    I think you have lots of detail in your writing I think you are a very good writer. from Kiara

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Greetings Kiara,
      Thank you for your kind words, it’s good to read your writing too. The more you write the better you get. It’s like excercising the more you do the better you become. I’d like to see you keep writing too. How are you enjoying your new book. Ronald Dahl does write exciting stories. I heard the BFG is being released. Do you think you will see it? I think I might just take a visit to the cinemas soon. Could be a holiday treat.
      Warm wishes Ellen

  4. shayla

    Hola Ellen
    I think you are the best teacher because
    – you give detail
    -explain well
    -good listener
    – you are kind
    so that is my reasons .
    best wishes Shayla

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Hello Shayla,
      Why thank you for such thoughtful and positive comments. I do hope you find my detail useful I can certainly see big changes in your work s you try so hard. It’s great to be able to teach such enthusiastic students like you Shayla that makes teaching so much fun.
      Warm regards Ellen

  5. kann16

    Wow!!! I’ve joined your blog kids!!!! Look forward to the updates and can’t wait to see what this year brings.
    Keep up the good work

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Hello Kerry,
      So nice of you to join our Blog. It is still blocked for me at school so apologies for the late reply. I’m sure we’ll be impressing you quite soon. We are getting in the swing of things indeed. I trust our parent meeting answered some questions you had. Stay tuned for the book! Only kidding I will get the newsletter out to you all Monday. I am looking at streamlining the posts somewhat so I have a little learning to do.

      Warm regards Ellen

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Hi Nelson,
      I’m glad you had a go at leaving a comment. What is it about our Blog that you like so much? Was it a challenge to write your message? I’d like you to teach others now that you know too.
      Cheers Ellen

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Greetings Jorja,
      I was wondering if anyone would read my page. I wrote that quite a while ago so perhaps it is time for an up date. How are you enjoying your weekend? I’ve been quite busy this weekend. I need to get ready for acquaintance night which is always a lot of work for me. I do hope your parents can make it. I always look forward to meeting them, although I forget peoples names so easily. See you at school tomorrow.
      Cheers Ellen

  6. Suzanne Piovesan

    Hi Ellen, my son Max is in your class next year. It was so lovely to read about your interests. I’m sure he will enjoy your class as he’s so into science, technology and anything to do with dragons! I can’t say I’m into Star Trek myself but my husband John loves it! The blog is fantastic, thanks for sharing it with us and we look forward to meeting you in the New Year.

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Hello Suzanne,
      So nice of you to drop us a line. We only had such a brief visit today and I’m sure when we get started next year we can connect with lots of Max’s interests. It takes me a while to learn names, but I get there. I’m glad you liked our learning from this year and I’m hoping to keep the next class blogging too. Enjoy you Christmas break and I too look forward to meeting you.
      Warm regards Ellen

  7. Alicia

    Hi Ellen
    I think that you have been a great teacher this year and it is sad that you can’t teach us any more. I believe that your next class will love you as much as we did. In the photo of the lava flowing was it scary seeing that because for me it would terrifying because it would be flowing right next to me? I will miss you at the end of the year because you were a great teacher and you taught me lots of new interesting and things.

    Kind Regards

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Dear Alicia,
      Thank you so much for your beautiful thoughtful comment. I too am sad about not being able to stay with the class for next year, but I guess we move on. It will be hard to have a class as great as you guys, they better be as smart as you all! Now you should only be a few doors away so pop in and say hello. Or keep blogging.
      I wasn’t terrified by the lava it was moving slowly and because it was so hot I didn’t get too close. It was amazing though. You see as it is molten rock and very hot indeed, as soon as it gets into contact with air it starts to cool, so there was this crackling tinkling sound as it tried to solidify but kept getting stretched as it was moving. I was in awe!
      I too will miss you all. But we have a couple more weeks so lets make the most eh!

      Warm regards

      1. Alicia

        Howdy Ellen
        I will miss you next year but I will still pop my head in and say hello to you. When I got home today I couldn’t stop crying because I will miss you and my friends. You have been an AMAZING teacher this year I loved learning about space👽. Because you have told me how much about how much you love dragons I have started to like them🐉. When did you start liking dragons? And just so you know I will really miss you but I will still go on the blog and I will pop my head in every now and and again to talk to you or just say hi. You have been an amazing teacher this year and have tought me so much.

        Kind Regards and happy holidays

        1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

          Greetings Alicia,
          What a sad farewell we had, that’s because you guys are all dear to me. I am glad you will come and see me next year, it’s always hard on the first days with new kids to get to know. it doesn’t take long though. I do hope they are just as good as you guys. If you are allowed to stay up tonight the Geminid meteor shower is supposed to be on so if there are clear skies you’ll see them if you look to the north I think.
          I’ve got so much to do now, my home gets forgotten in the last term while I take care of my class, but now I have a big job to get things organised for interstate guests. I’ll put the photo up soon. stay tuned.

          Best wishes Ellen

  8. sergio

    Hi Lili.

    In my opinion The Miserable Mill is getting very exiting with Sheerly A.K.A Count Olaf plotting schemes to get the Boadaleres fortune and also Klause getting hitmotised and hitting Phil breaking his leg, so unfortunate yet so interesting I look forward to reading all of it with Ellen.
    Do you have any questions about the books and have you read any of them at home? Because I have read the first three at home and have seen the movie.
    Cheers Sergio

  9. Wendy Pugsley

    Ellen this was so interesting to read. You have certainly had some amazing adventures and no doubt many more to come. Loved your photos too. Thanks for sharing.
    Where are you off to next time you travel??

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Hello Wendy,
      Thanks for reading my profile, I guess when you’ve been teaching as long as we have, we’re bound to do some interesting things. Teaching itself is an adventure don’t you think? Each year new discoveries. Well just having completed The Great Ocean Walk I might have a little rest these next holidays as we really didn’t get a break. So what exciting things do plan to do? (besides teaching of course?)
      Regards Ellen

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Well Steven when you get as old as me there’s a bit of time to travel to exciting places.I don’t ever get bored so if I was stuck at home I’d be ok. Where would you like to go if you could go anywhere?
      Cheers Ellen

    2. sergio

      Hi Steven I agree with you but I do have another question for Ellen I would like to know all the places you went over the years of your life. Regards Sergio Barone.

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Thanks Manuela, it’s always a little scary trying something new. I guess I put myself in the shoes of my students and take a calculated risk. Hawaii was an amazing place and I’d like to go back there. The big island has it all for me lots of dynamic geology, as I’m not one for shopping or cafes I love that less tourists go there.


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