Name: Hilton Donovan
Hilton Donovan is a well-known face around Alexandria Park Community School (formerly known as Cleveland Street High School). He has been teaching Aboriginal studies there for the past 14 years!
He also likes to use Deadly Vibe in the classroom, so we think he’s ace. “We use it when students are doing an assignment,” Hilton says. “We might do an Aboriginal person who is featured in the magazine, whether they are a sporting person, academic or from the field of music.”
Students also really like finding the words in the Vibe Puzzle. “We might also run off a few copies for the junior children in the school,” Hilton says. (The inner-city Sydney school is split into two campuses, primary and secondary).
He said students also liked to write stories for Writing It Up and many of them had been sent into us here at Deadly Vibe.
“I use the magazine every time I teach a class,” Hilton says.
Although Hilton seems a natural in the classroom, he started off his working life as an auto engineer. But while he was away on a trip to Victoria and Western Australia, his sister spotted an ad for a teaching job at Cleveland Street.
She thought Hilton would be perfect for it, so she quickly told him there was a job going. “I was interviewed on Friday, and got a telegram on Saturday telling me to start work on Monday,” Hilton says with a laugh.
Hilton had grown up on the north coast of NSW at Macksville. He says he was “quite bright” at school, probably as a result of having parents “who were sticklers for getting a good education”.
It was also a family who loved music – some of Hilton’s five siblings form the country music band The Donovan Brothers.
Although Hilton is multi-talented, he proudly says that his first love is teaching – and that he is constantly rewarded for his work in the classroom. “Some of my favourite moments have been when I see a student succeed in Year 12 and get their HSC,” he says.
“But it can also be other things, like students taking part in an art competition. We’ll put the pictures up at school or send them out to the local papers.
“You get back from the students what you put in – you’re putting in half the effort and they’re putting in the other half.
“In the end, I just like to see the kids do well and have fun while they’re learning.”
Some of the students at Alexandria Park are also Hilton’s relatives, which helps with his easygoing relationship with the students.
And he is proud to say that he is also on the executive staff, which meets regularly to discuss issues within the school. “It shows the respect that the new principal, Phil Irvine, has for me,” says Hilton.
We have the utmost respect for you too, Hilton. Congratulations on being our very first Teacher of the Month!
* Teachers! Check out Hilton’s lesson plan using Deadly Vibe magazine on www.vibe.com.au. If you have a lesson plan or activity sheet you are happy to share, please send it to [email protected] and you could be the Vibe teacher of the month and win our cool t-shirt.