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Hillbrook Anglican School

Connect with students and make learning fun – that’s the simple but powerful advice from Hillbrook Anglican School’s six Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers. Together these exemplary educators have more than 120 years of classroom experience. 

 


Pauline Vallely | Lead
Mathematics Teacher | 41 years teaching

"It's in my blood."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

A great uncle of mine was a teacher in Queensland in the 1880s. My father was a teacher. I have two cousins who are teachers and both my sisters are teachers. It's in my blood.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

It's the "aha" moments when students "get it" and the surprising and insightful responses they give when asked about their own learning.

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

A passion for the discipline you teach and a caring, respectful approach to students as individuals.

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

The strengths of my classroom practice and the areas for development have been highlighted to me. As well, engagement with the AITSL standards has broadened my view of my role as a teacher.

 


Kathy Owen | Highly Accomplished
Visual Art Coordinator | 31 years teaching

"I love learning from my students."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I loved school as a child and I also loved learning, I still do and I have many happy memories of shared experiences and laughter.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

I love learning from my students and sharing a joke. Once you can do these things you make connections based on trust.

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

A strong connection with others, trust and the ability to accept mistakes and move on are attributes which help to build confident and flexible decision-makers and problem-solvers.

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

I have had my ability as a teacher and my value as a person reaffirmed and celebrated.

 


Lisa Newton | Highly Accomplished
Senior Science Co-ordinator | 24 years teaching

"I am creative and strive to make learning meaningful and fun."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I had great teachers at my own secondary school (Moreton Bay College). I was given a love of science by my junior and senior science teachers.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

Working with young people. They have a lot of energy and are usually upbeat and love to have fun.

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

Contextualised "hands-on" lessons and targeted feedback.

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

I am creative and strive to make learning meaningful and fun.

 


Tamara Gerlic | Highly Accomplished
10 years teaching

"I love showing young people how fun education can be."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I was inspired to move into an industry where the stakeholders (in this case, parents, teachers and the community) genuinely only have other people’s best interests at heart. There aren’t many industries like that!

What do you love most about being a teacher?

I love learning more about these unique individuals. I love showing young people how fun education can be. That "aha" moment on a child’s face when they understand a new concept in a new way is what makes me excited to go to school every day. 

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

The greatest impact I think on how students learn is fun. If it’s not fun, it’s not learning. That’s what we call a chore and no one wants our children to view learning as a chore, especially our children. I don’t mean to say that it’s all joke telling and giggles. It’s about finding what’s fun for the individual and teaching them in the most enjoyable way I know how.

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

Australian teachers are already meeting so many of the 37 Descriptors, but might not realise it. I think the AITSL Standards are a genuine reflection of what most educators are already doing in a valid, day-to-day and ongoing manner. Undertaking national certification has allowed me to reflect on my own teaching practices and see the areas that I could work on and other areas where I could congratulate myself. National certification shouldn’t be seen as a burden or a test, but as a valuable tool for positive self-exploration and reflection.

 


Tegan Baumgart | Highly Accomplished
Subject Area Coordinator (Philosophy) | 8 years teaching

 "I love when everything just clicks and their eyes light up with understanding and wonder."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

When I was a student I had some amazing teachers who inspired me to aim high and helped me to achieve some great things.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

I love a lot of things about teaching, but probably my favourite thing is watching students accomplish things they wouldn’t have without my help. I love when everything just clicks and their eyes light up with understanding and wonder.

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

I believe the thing that has the greatest impact on student learning is relationships. Building and maintaining a positive relationship with students can make a huge impact in their lives, not just academically, but also socially and emotionally.

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

In undertaking national certification, I learnt that it is the little things that can make a big difference. Effective teaching is about all the little things that we do on a daily basis coming together to create the big picture.

 


Joshua Taylor | Highly Accomplished
Drama/English Teacher/Year 12 Year Level Coordinator | 7 years teaching

"If a student is passionate about a subject and content, then they are far more likely to learn and grow."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

A passion for helping others become well-rounded citizens by offering education and experiences to teenagers.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

Building strong connections with students and getting to know them beyond the limitations of their grade or ability in a class.

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

Student engagement – if a student is passionate about a subject and content, then they are far more likely to learn and grow.

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

Reflecting on my use of the Professional Standards has taught me the importance of being a well-rounded teacher.

 

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