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Cannon Hill Anglican College

Teachers at Cannon Hill Anglican College have embraced the opportunity and challenge presented by national certification, with an impressive 10 staff members now certified as Highly Accomplished or Lead Teachers. 


Suzie Alexander | Lead
Primary gifted & talented teacher/Deputy Director of Primary | 16 years teaching

"The importance of always considering the impact any learning activity has on students is paramount."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I wanted to be a teacher from eight years of age. I always felt naturally drawn towards working with children and teaching or coaching others.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

Developing strong relationships with the students I teach. Seeing their growth, whether it be social/emotional or academic, gives me the greatest joy.

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

Developing positive relationships with students.

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

I have gained great confidence in my abilities as a teacher. I have also learned how much I enjoy mentoring other teachers. The importance of always considering the impact any learning activity has on students is paramount. Continual reflection on my practices will ensure I remain a Lead Teacher within my school and wider community.

 


Anthony Florido | Lead
Social Sciences/Business Educator | 29 years teaching

"There is still so much I can do to develop in the future."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I was fortunate to have some exceptional teachers at school with whom I could connect. I have also always enjoyed working with young people and I'm passionate about the key learning areas of Economics and Geography – I saw teaching as a way to share this.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

  • Thanks from those I teach – sometimes after a lesson – sometimes at the end of school – sometimes when past students have forged a career for themselves and you bump into them at the beach or on the street.
  • Having some fun whilst imparting knowledge.
  • Being able to encourage students to do their best and recognising that what their best actually is, is different for everyone.

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

  • Active listening.
  • Making it real – real life/world application of theoretical concepts; experiential learning – hence my passion for fieldwork.
  • Understanding everyone is different and recognising everyone learns and responds differently.
  • Having some fun when the time is right.
  • Being positive, measured, consistent and realistic.
  • Never giving up on a student – finding that spark/way to bring about continuous improvement of one’s work, behaviours, attitudes and development.

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

  • It's not so much what I have learnt; more so a reminder of what I have been fortunate to do.
  • A realisation of how I have changed and adapted over time as an educator and an awakening that there is still so much I can do to develop in the future.
  • How I should always remain mindful that, as educators, we should work together (collegially) to achieve positive outcomes but also be cognisant that we all have our own lives outside of being educators. Being respectful of this as a mentor and leader. Trying to ensure balance in life is maintained, which has become an increasing challenge.

Marion Rutter | Lead
Health & Physical Education Teacher | 30 years teaching

"The growth the students go through from Years 7 to 12 – physically, emotionally and socially – inspires me to keep teaching."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I enjoyed coaching and I was inspired by my own Health and Physical Education teacher. I had a passion to pass-on a positive experience to students, to enable them to remain physically active throughout life. I wanted to inspire students and equip them with skills to choose healthy options in life and encourage positive decisions.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

The students. I continue teaching as I really enjoy seeing students gain skills and knowledge to improve their ability. I enjoy the interaction with students and the positive energy they have for learning. The growth the students go through from Years 7 to 12 – physically, emotionally and socially – inspires me to keep teaching. 

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

Being in a positive, but challenging environment that stimulates them to learn and is meaningful. The environment must encourage questioning if they do not understand concepts. Students need to learn to problem-solve and interact in a positive way with each other, to instil the love of lifelong learning. As a teacher, you need to know your students and what is their best way to learn.

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

I would not usually reflect on my personal ability as a teacher, I would focus on student improvement. This process made me become more conscious of the impact I have had on other staff to improve the learning outcome of students. It also gave me an appreciation of what the students thought were my strengths and the areas I could still improve on. The process has improved my ability as a teacher. I now check what students already know before I start teaching. I am also very conscious of using differentiation in the classroom setting to cater to the large variance in students’ abilities and capabilities.   

 


Anita Spencer | Lead
Acting Deputy Director of Primary | 13 years teaching

"I believe relationships are the building blocks of a successful learner."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

My own schooling experience was enjoyable due to some select teachers who spent time getting to know me as an individual, honing my abilities by giving me tasks that were conducive to my individual learning style. They developed a relationship with me that gave me faith in my abilities as a learner. This learning environment and teacher interaction inspired me to be the teacher that I am today – someone who spends time getting to know the students.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

The day-to-day impact you can have on children. Not just academically, but pastorally. Getting to know each individual student, building relationships, understanding how they learn as an individual and how they react to the world and their peers.

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

I believe relationships are the building blocks of a successful learner. If you have a positive relationship with a student, taking the time to get to know them as a person as well as a learner, you are half-way there.

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

Reflecting on the Professional Standards highlighted the impact and importance of what teachers do, helping to build capacity with both students and colleagues, as well as the community. The knowledge and use of the AITSL Standards has helped greatly in mentoring and empowering others in identifying areas that they can strengthen, as well as reflect on why they do what they do and what impact it has on their students or colleagues.

 


Robert Hawkin | Highly Accomplished
Industrial Technology & Design Teacher | 24 years teaching

"It is a privilege to experience the energy and anticipation of a teenager’s world."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

When I was 25 I moved to London to undertake an undergraduate degree, which was Materials Science and Engineering. I found the learning quite challenging, but discovered that I enjoyed helping others understand and succeed in their learning. I chose Design and Technology as a Postgraduate course and loved it straight away.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

I love working with young people and seeing them engage enthusiastically with their learning, developing confidence and satisfaction in their abilities and achievements. Whether the setting is a classroom, a fundraising event or a camp, it is a privilege to experience the energy and anticipation of a teenager’s world.

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

The investment that a significant adult has in a young person’s life is vital. As teachers, we should have high expectations of our students and high expectations of our own practice, but we should also develop a relationship of respect and trust that considers the whole individual.

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

No year is ever the same, nor should they be treated as such. We continue to learn and develop throughout our professional life. I found the HALT process challenging, but of great benefit to my self-confidence and perspective as an experienced practitioner. That growth is key to a sustained, successful and satisfying career.

 


Jane Everett | Highly Accomplished
Primary Japanese & Performance Arts Teacher | 21 years teaching

"I love being able to introduce students to a new world through the learning of languages."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I had wanted to become a teacher since I can remember and, after spending six weeks in Japan at the end of Year 11 – through the Lions’ Youth Exchange Program – I was inspired to study a Japanese Immersion Bachelor of Teaching degree at Central Queensland University. I have been teaching Japanese in primary schools in Central Queensland and Brisbane since graduating in 1996.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

Children are impulsive and so full of energy – there is never a dull moment! I love that although every day is structured and has routine, every day is also different. I love being able to introduce students to a new world through the learning of languages. It’s so important for students to learn, not just a second language, but that the way they do and see things is not the only way.

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

There are obviously so many things that can make an impact on student learning – it is difficult to narrow it down to one thing: content needs to be carefully structured for students to succeed; students need to know that you have belief in their ability to learn and that you care about them; the teacher needs to be passionate about their subject area and the wellbeing of their students

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

I have learned that developing relationships between staff, parents and students is very important to me. I value being able to push myself to experiment and try new approaches and ideas in order for my students to be successful learners.

 


Melinda Myles | Highly Accomplished
HPE Teacher & Head of House | 18 years teaching

"It has been interesting and rewarding dissecting my pedagogy and working with colleagues who are also undertaking national certification."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

To make a difference in the lives of children and teenagers and to foster a love of life-long learning in the students who I teach. I also aim to help each student to reach their potential.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

Working with students and learning what makes them tick. I love it when students "get it" – the "aha" moments – and trust me to help them with a problem. I also love running into students, years after they have finished school, and they go out of their way to say hello and are eager to tell me what they are up to and what they are doing with their lives.

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

Taking time to get to know each student, ensuring that they feel comfortable to ask questions and understanding how they learn.

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

The power of reflection – it has been interesting and rewarding dissecting my pedagogy and working with colleagues who are also undertaking national certification.

 


Fiona McCreadie | Highly Accomplished
Early Years Teacher | 18 years teaching

"Children in the early years of school need you to love them and care about them."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I had some amazing high school teachers whom I remember very fondly. They were a great source of support and inspiration to me. I have always been fascinated with the development of young children and decided to become an Early Childhood specialist teacher.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

It is an amazing privilege to teach young children. The growth they experience in the first few years of schooling is phenomenal. My vies is that these are the most important years of schooling.

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

It may sound cliche, but I think children in the early years of school need you to love them and care about them. They are being asked to do tasks that are challenging and sometimes far outside their comfort zone. If you walk the path with them and hold their hand, they are much more likely to take those initial steps.

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

Whilst I found the experience at the time overwhelming, I have found it ultimately reaffirming. As teachers we are always very self-critical; striving for perfection, which is hazardous given the variables. It was pleasing to get the feedback that I am a Highly Accomplished Teacher and I look forward to pursuing my Lead portfolio.

 


Cannon Hill Anglican College teachers Jo-Anne Hine (Lead) and Sandra Gerbes (Highly Accomplished) have also achieved national certification.

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