Skip to Main Content

Meet our first Head of House at Haileybury Pangea

In her role as the first ever Head of House, Natasha Eshuis brings a wealth of Haileybury knowledge, plenty of teaching and leadership experience and a strong belief that you never stop learning, no matter your age

NEWS 1 Sept 2023

Meet Natasha — a long standing Haileybury educator since November 2018. Natasha is not your average educator. From teaching VCE Psychology to crafting learning experiences as a learning designer, she’s also been a tutor and sports coach. Before joining our School, Natasha was inspiring young minds in government and independent schools and led parent information evenings, professional development days, school assemblies and student leadership programs. She is also a published author of Senior Science (Psychology) textbook series, which has currently been shortlisted for a 2023 Education Award.

We recently sat down with Natasha to learn a little more about Haileybury Pangea’s very first Head of House…

Microsoft Teams image 2

What do you find most rewarding about being part of the online school?

Since early on in my teaching career I’ve been passionate about the opportunities that online independent learning can bring. I enjoy the creative freedoms and flexibility of online learning and how it creates a community from individual places. From the students’ perspective, they appreciate the flexibility and freedoms that Haileybury Pangea allows — pursuing a part-time job or a career in modelling or pursuing a goal in an elite sport while also receiving a strong education. Furthermore, they enjoy the ability navigate independently their time and use of resources.

You’ve had a very interesting career inside and outside the classroom, how have you continued to broaden your teaching experience?

Outside the classroom I’ve developed and led experiences locally and internationally for students who want to challenge themselves, such as leading trips to Uganda and Yalata, which is an Australian First Nations community. Through these experiences I have been able to learn from the young people and grow my skills as a leader in various settings. I’ve also delivered therapy to young people with a diagnosis of Autism who needed additional intensive support. These opportunities inside and outside the classroom have helped me to connect with and understand the learning experiences of a range of students. Furthermore, I have and continue to volunteer for different community organisations as a teacher, leader, mentor, organiser and coach. Realising that each person has a story that forms their learning platform and being able to t use these opportunities to appreciate people's stories allows me to build a strong learning environment.

What does your other role as a Learning Designer at Haileybury Pangea involve?

I’ve been working with the Haileybury Pangea Head of Department and VCE Psychology team to build a blended model of learning that will be the basis of the Pangea VCE Psychology course. I’ve produced modules for key areas of study and have developed materials for the self-paced learning activities and assessments including quizzes, examinations and practical activities. Nevertheless, the online courses are an evolving platform, and as Pangea grows, so does the possibilities with designing and using online resources.

In a world of online learning, what’s the secret to building strong connections with your students?

I’ve come to understand the importance of individualising and differentiating the learning experience for each person. I love the opportunity to be present in class, in tutorial, in parent meetings, in assemblies and in the general online space to slowly get to know students, their passions and interests and to understand why they are on a learning journey. Learning and teaching online is new, though, and there is always so much more to learn. I am grateful for the feedback from students and the ability to learn from them as to what helps to build connections and community and what doesn't.

How important is pastoral care at Haileybury Pangea?

Pastoral care is a key connector to most learning environments. Learning is a journey for everyone — whether we are a student or teacher. It is not about being perfect or always getting things right, it’s about setting a goal, making a commitment, developing resilience and reflecting on the process and through that process we develop and forge our value system. For students there will always be times where they need support, guidance or a check in about their academic and pastoral wellbeing.

We take this seriously and meet regularly with students’ tutors, the Head of Campus, the Head of Individual Needs, and our school Psychologist to discuss the needs for our students and how best to support them. We encourage students to reach out to their tutors during weekly tutorial sessions or get in contact at any stage, when they need or want support or guidance. We are creating a thriving, flourishing online space and when students step into that space, it can be the start of great friendships and learning experiences.

As Head of House, what is your message for Haileybury Pangea students and families?

The Haileybury Pangea community is here to support you and we look forward to journeying with you each step of the way.