Teacher Influence Widespread: Parents, Students and Schools Decide The Stars of
Sixty per cent of voters in polls developed by the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) on behalf of the NEiTA Foundation believe a teacher had the most influence in their life after their immediate family (1).
The results support the vital role teachers play in the lives of our young people and the tremendous and lasting impression teachers have on many Australians - even as they grow into adulthood. The NEiTA Foundation's National Excellence In Teaching awards program honours examples of Australia's top teachers as chosen by school communities - secondary students, parents, school councils, and community organisations.
Fourteen top teachers were today recognised for their excellence in teaching at a ceremony held at Hawker College, Hawker, Canberra (Tuesday, 30 May 2006) for the National Excellence In Teaching awards where Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Education, Science, Training and Research, Jenny Macklin MP presented the awards to the recipients in front of guests and students. The Award recipients range from early childhood teachers to secondary school teachers in disciplines ranging from music and dance through to mathematics and teaching in government, independent, denominational and private education settings.
"The majority of Australians have an inspirational story about a favourite teacher," says NEiTA Foundation Chairman, Terry O'Connell, "NEiTA award recipients connect with students and parents, and engage them in the learning process, and inspire them to achieve their full potential.
"These teachers have so impressed others with their creativity, dedication, and passion for their work that school parents and students tend to become dedicated supporters, inspiring praise-filled and heart-warming NEiTA nominations," he said.
Launched in Australia in 1994 by the Australian Scholarships Group, the NEiTA Foundation's teaching awards program aims to recognise and honour excellent teachers from local communities, to recognise and highlight excellence in teaching and to encourage students to enter the teaching profession. In 2004, the awards program was expanded to include a category for registered early childhood teachers.
This year's award recipients received crystal apple awards, certificates and professional development grants of $5,000 from the Australian Scholarships Group to apply to their professional development or the special project of their choice. The award recipients were selected from more than 2350 national nominations.
The National Excellence in Teaching awards recipients include:
Early Childhood Category:Jannelle Gallagher, Early Childhood Teacher, Kurri Kurri and District Preschool, Spion Kop, NSW
Sandra Love and Peddie Cafarella, Early Childhood Teaching Team, Tully Community Preschool & Kindergarten, Tully, Queensland (Peddie Cafarella is now at Mourilyan Kindergarten, Qld)
Sonya Plunkett-Smith, K - Year 4 Teacher, Glenora District High School Teacher, Bushy Park, Tas
Primary School Category:
Susan Moore, Primary & OC Teacher (works with gifted children), Gosford Public School, Gosford, NSW
Rob MacFarlane, Primary - Environmental Co-ordinator, McLaren Vale Primary School- McLaren Vale, SA
Kerry Bolger, Early Childhood - Year 10, Head of Campus, St Leonards College Cornish Campus, Bangholme, Vic
Julie Percy, Primary - Year 2 Teacher and Numeracy Co-ordinator, St Peter's School, Epping, Vic
Karen Duffy, Primary - Special Education Teacher, Christ Church Grammar School, Claremont, WA
Secondary School Category:
Alana McGee, Outdoor Education Teacher, Hawker College, Hawker, Canberra, ACT
Conor Finn, Middle-School Teacher - English, Environment and Religious Education, St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, Qld
Helen Willmett, Vocational Education Co-ordinator - Secondary - Home Economics and Hospitality, Blackheath & Thornburgh College, Charters Towers, Queensland (now at St Margaret Mary's College, Townsville, Qld)
Aidan Coleman, Secondary Teacher - English and History, Trinity College, Gawler, SA
Stephen Corcoran, Secondary Teacher - Mathematics, St Stephen's School Carramar, Tapping, WA
Outdoor Education Teacher, Alana McGee from Hawker College, Hawker, Canberra received her crystal apple award and the opportunity to participate in NASA's seven-day International Space Camp to be held in Huntsville, Alabama, USA, in late July 2006. Alana, who has just undergone hip reconstruction surgery, is keen to recover in time to join teachers from across the world who will learn how space exploration impacts everyday life and become astronauts, scientists, and engineers for a week. NASA runs the camp to help enlighten and inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and technologists through teachers.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Education, Science, Training and Research, Jenny Macklin MP presented the 14 teachers with their awards and congratulated them on their great teaching practices and the high level of innovation they brought to the classroom.
"The teachers being recognised today demonstrate the passion and enthusiasm that makes a teacher great. Inspirational teachers who can connect with their students and the entire school community make a huge difference to children's learning and that's why effective teaching within an effective school system is one of the Opposition's top priorities," Jenny Macklin said.
ASG's Communities General Manager, Warwick James said: "ASG supports the NEiTA Foundation's awards program because teachers make an important contribution to the lives of our young people and help shape the future of our country, yet few opportunities arise to recognise the true value of the role they play within the community."
Nominations are now open for the 2006 awards program:
In 2006, the 13th year of the Foundation's program, two Awards streams are being offered to teachers from early childhood and special centres, and primary and secondary schools in government, denominational, independent and private education environments. Nominations are now open for the new round of awards until Friday, 28 July 2006. This new cycle of awards will conclude in 2007.
1. NEiTA Teaching Excellence Awards
These NEiTA awards and Australian Scholarships Group grants are presented to the teachers whose exemplary classroom skills and dedication have demonstrated innovative approaches to teaching that serve as models for schools.
2. Australian Scholarships Group Community Merit Awards
The Australian Scholarships Group Community Merit Awards are made to teachers who have engaged their students in activities that are of service to the community, and/or who have provided the local community with opportunities to support and participate in the work of the school.
The NEiTA Foundation awards program offers a unique opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of a special teacher. The participants in education - secondary students, parents, school councils, and community organisations are invited to nominate teachers for the next round of the Awards. Nominating is easy - information and a nomination form have been sent to all Australian schools and early childhood centres. More information can be obtained from the NEiTA Foundation website at: www.neita.com
(1). The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) ran a straw poll on its website www.asg.com.au and also on its parenting resources website, KidsLife Foundation www.kidslife.com.au asking the question: After your family, did a teacher have the most influence in your life? Voters were asked to agree or disagree with the question. The polls received a total of 144 votes with the results: 87 Yes votes; 57 No votes - 60 per cent voting Yes and 40 per cent voting No. ASG is a major supporter of the NEiTA Foundation's teaching awards program and conducted the polls on behalf of the Foundation.