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St Hilda's School

The desire to follow in the footsteps of memorable and passionate teachers and a love for learning inspired St Hilda’s three Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers to pursue teaching careers.


Majda Benzenati | Lead
Economics-Languages Teacher/Head of Year 12 | 22 years teaching

"We succeed at making the greatest impact when we become the architects of our students’ learning and they become the engineers of their learning."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

It was an accident (a long story)but then I fell in love with the profession and never looked at reversing my fate! In this case, I shall pose the following question instead: What made you continue being a teacher? The love of learning – because if I can't learn, I will shrink and die.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

Being an agent of change and never being content with doing things the usual way. We live in an evolving world and we can’t allow ourselves to be satisfied with the status quo while educating future generations. We need to be able to take risks, to be resilient, to be inspired and inspire, to create, connect and share, and reflect on our practice at all times. This allows for growth for oneself, our students and the wider teaching scholar community.

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

Having empathy for them has the greatest impact! How do we do this? Getting to know them, build genuine working relationships and trust, convince them through practice that we learn from and teach one another, give them voice and let them ask questions including those that challenge our practice. This allows for opportunities to create compelling, engaging and effective learning experiences that include evaluative processes on how to improve their own learning and enjoy it. We succeed at making the greatest impact when we become the architects of our students’ learning and they become the engineers of their learning.

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

It clarified that having an impact, being able to move forward and enjoy teaching are an integral part of my life project. The foundation of this project was laid down when I was convinced that putting myself regularly “out of my comfort zone” is the only way to grow and let my students grow with me. The process of questioning ourselves about our own practice and seeking improvement is paramount to having impact on our students’ learning. Here, the certification is valuable and plays a crucial role specifically throughout the refection process.  Reflection makes us revisit our learning and teaching in all their facets, find areas we can tweak, change and improve. It is all about looking back so we can move forward better with our students.

 


Sherilyn King | Highly Accomplished
21 years teaching

"Every single student should walk out of any classroom I am in, believing they are capable."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

From my very first day at Kindy, I knew that I wanted to be the person at the front of the room. I still remember my teacher’s name. From that day on, I think instinctively, in my heart, knowing that is what I wanted to do, I observed, I listened and I formulated the exact type of teacher I wanted to be; a caring, supportive, knowledgeable, informed guardian of peoples’ futures with a student-centred focus and hopefully shaping someone else’s future and giving them the confidence of self-belief to accomplish anything. If I can be a part of that, then I have done my job well. This is my tribute to those kind teachers who I remember so fondly and how they have shaped my journey that I am so very proud of. 

What do you love most about being a teacher?

Everything. I love everything. There are so many things I love about being a teacher. I know that sounds like a simplified answer, but that is and always will be my first response. I love the opportunities, the changing atmosphere that each year, class and evolving generations bring. The changing societal demands and technological changes that enable me to embrace my passion for life-long learning and present new dynamic opportunities that influence my practices in a classroom environment are a part of the everything that I love about teaching. It is ever changing and it is exciting to be part of this dynamic. Maintaining currency and aptitude to relate creative teaching practices to real life that give my students an opportunity to step up and be ready to face an ever-changing world.

In saying I love everything about teaching, I do. I really, absolutely love everything about it, but most of all, I also feel it is an absolute privilege that every day I walk into a classroom and I stand there feeling very proud of myself as that person who I always wanted to be and who I will always want to be.  

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

The way you make people feel has the greatest impact on student learning. I hold the philosophy that all my students should feel they are capable, as I believe this forms the foundation. Granted, academic learning comes easier to some students, and while for others, learning is a challenge and they will work twice as hard, every single student should walk out of any classroom I am in, believing they are capable.

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

This comprehensive process has enabled me to focus, in fine detail, on what defines me as a teacher. From reflecting on the educational principles and philosophies I stand behind, to how I put these into playing my part in helping shape generations of students and my everyday actions.

 


Trent Uebergang | Highly Accomplished
Junior School Teacher | 9 years teaching

"Teaching is definitely a journey."

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Good teachers growing up when I was at school. I also always related well to kids.

What do you love most about being a teacher?

The bond you form with your class each year. Seeing that the environment that is created allows kids to love school and want to be here every day.

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

The connection a teacher has with the kids, combined with interesting, relevant content.

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

That teaching is definitely a journey. One that is laid out for you by undertaking the certification process. It is rewarding to look back at all of the things you have done/achieved as a teacher – it is easy to forget these things and can be hard to find time to reflect properly. The process allows for this.

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