“There are so many amazing and dedicated teachers out there. I want to meet each one of them, shake their hand and say “You are shaping young lives for the better, keep going!”
Garry Hol is nothing if not passionate. The popular presenter boasts an encyclopaedic knowledge of the English cannon and he can pull out a Shakespeare and Dickens quote to mark any occasion. It’s his mission to spread the power and the beauty of literature into every classroom.
Garry Hol has been a teacher for nearly 20 years. Based at Calderwood Christian School in the dairy farming region of Albion Park south of Wollongong, he lives and breathes English – that is, when he is not playing rock in one of his bands at a weekend gig. Garry sums up his love for the cannon in one word: inspiring.
He thinks that there is enough in there to spark an interest in issues that are relevant to teenagers.
“You have a problem with unrequited love, there’s a Shakespearean sonnet for that. A desire to belong, I know a few Dickens characters you may resonate with. A seeking for who you really are, check out some searing honesty from John Donne. Feeling isolated, there’s a bunch of stories from Swift, from Melville, from Bunyan…,” he says.
But it is Garry’s expertise in pedagogy that makes it all click in the classroom and the generous sharing of his resources that drives his commitment to professional learning.
“About five years ago, I saw a whole bunch of fellow teachers who wanted to tap into the passion I was displaying in the classroom and I wanted to do something to help,” he says.
Since then, Garry’s courses at various professional learning bodies across the state have inspired teachers, who walk out with practical, classroom ready resources to start straight away. His generosity is as infectious as his enthusiasm. He has a particular interest in mentoring young teachers.
“I was more than happy to share all the ideas, tips and techniques I had developed over more than a decade of striving to make literature matter, and my younger colleagues found it incredibly helpful,” he says.
Garry is focused on the smart changes that can help a teacher improve. He has a strong commitment to pedagogy and although he thinks that the cannon is inspiring – he knows that without effective teaching and learning practices, students can quickly become disengaged.
Garry presents on Stage 4, 5 and 6 English.