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The Southport School

No two days in the classroom are ever the same, according to Lead Teacher Stephanie McQuillan. And she loves it that way.

Stephanie McQuillan | Lead
Year 7 teacher/Head Start Coordinator | 16 years teaching

"Students need to know they matter and that their contributions matter."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I think most of us can recall a mentor who challenged us, encouraged us or believed in us; the person who was a catalyst for our own personal growth. To have the opportunity to become that person for our younger generation is an absolute privilege. Lighting the spark in a student or even keeping the faith when they doubt themselves is very rewarding. Throughout my career, I have also been really fortunate to work alongside some truly inspirational educators, both in Australia and overseas, who demonstrated such passion for their students and also their subject.  

What do you love most about being a teacher?

My students. No day is ever the same and I am constantly inspired by the boys’ passion, enthusiasm, energy and optimism for the future - and they always make me laugh! As an educator, seeing the progress your students make throughout the academic year, both personally and academically, is especially rewarding. You just can’t help but feel an enormous sense of pride when they experience those wins.

What do you believe, from your own personal experience, has the greatest impact on student learning?

Without a doubt, having a positive relationship between parents, student and teacher cannot be underestimated. Research confirms that this is one of the key predictors of success and I believe it is absolutely crucial. As an educator it is so important to build strong connections with your students by taking the time to get to know them and finding out what is important to them; their interests, their background, what motivates them and their future aspirations. Students need to know they matter and that their contributions matter. Likewise, parents need to be supportive of the school and the teacher. When everyone is on the same page and working together towards the same goal - that is when the magic happens!

What have you learned about yourself as a teacher by undertaking national certification?

Professional reflection is integral to continued development. Undertaking this rigorous process has reinforced my belief that educators play a crucial role in modelling the concept of being a lifelong learner. I believe the best educators consistently and consciously work to improve their ability to teach. They read the current research, they share good practice, they support each other and they explore the techniques successfully used by others in a never-ending effort to better themselves and their skill. Taking part in the HALT certification process and being recognised as a Lead Teacher has not only been incredibly rewarding, it has further reinforced this for me.

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