COVID-19 DIARY – WORLD TEACHER’S DAY

QCT2

 

October 30

The Queensland College of Teachers held their TEACHX Awards on Thursday night the 30th of October, 2020 digitally via video conference with some live components and some taped components. The next day was World Teacher’s Day. 

The previous year we had held the event in Customs House.

Last year I had been tapped to accompany the former chair of the Board of Teacher Registration (QCT’s predecessor) Miss Merline Muldoon last year. Miss Muldoon had just become the award eponym for the Innovation in Teaching category. She shared war stories with the finalists of the category. Long retired their individual experiences remained the same – their passion for education shared.

On that night as each Finalist received their certificate and each winner gave a short speech there was a feeling in the air that is hard to explain but contained good will, pride and optimism for the education of students across the state. It may be hard to quantify how such events elevate the profession but if you were there on the night you were left in no doubt that they do.

With COVID the challenge was always going to be how to create as much of this in a new setting without human contact.

I still remember 2019 winners Principal Andrew Peach speaking about education or the touching moment when Norah Parsons won – a teacher who had given so much to the mining community of Moura.

Last year I had been introduced by my manager in front of the finalists as the one who wrote half of their stories – a proud and rewarding moment for me.

I had been honoured to wait on Miss Muldoon.

This year I sat at my desk and listened to the ceremony on headphones.

The ceremony went well I believe and hopefully the teachers and their schools got something out of it. The nominees, finalists and winners were as deserving as any other year. 

 

 

Afterwards I was very kindly invited to go out with the rest of the team and celebrate the completion of all of our hard work. We had a little champagne at the Regatta and toasted each other and what we had achieved as a team.

Last year the TEACHX Awards, rebranded significantly by some very hard working and talented colleagues and with the media releases prepared by me and my manger, received unprecedented media coverage. 

At the time it was discussed that this would be highly unlikely to be repeated two years running due to the Awards being held in the final week of the Queensland State elections. 

Then COVID-19 happened and one result of the that was the shrinking of media offices in the country.

Despite this and due to the sterling efforts of my manager there was a lot of coverage in the press.

Of the teachers I interviewed.

Media Sponsor The Courier Mail wrote a large article about the Awards and all Finalists.

Quest Newspapers also covered the Award Categories and Finalists and highlighted five Logan teachers Ping Ding, Donald Cameron, Sophie Gruhl, Margaret Sherrington and Michael King. It also covered Cameron Lynch and Gavin Jones. I had interviewed Ping Ding, Donald CameronGavin Jones and Cameron Lynch.  

The Sunshine Coast Daily wrote an article about teachers Chantelle Amson and Alexandra Calligaris.

The Daily Mercury published an article on Clermont teacher Carly Bell.

The Morning Bulletin did an article on Ron Armstrong who runs the boarding of students at The Cathedral College.

CQ News also did an article on Ron Armstrong.

The Queensland Times wrote an article of Ipswich teacher Jodi Audoss.

Finalist Ben Habermehl was interviewed on ABC Breakfast Radio Brisbane by Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan. 

Breakfast – Breakfast – ABC Radio

Finalist Donald Cameron was interviewed on ABC Breakfast Radio Brisbane by Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan which is linked below.

How sports psychology could help your teenager excel in final exams – Breakfast – ABC Radio

A message from the Director of the Queensland College of Teachers was also published in The Courier Mail and can be found on the QCT’s website too.

Finally I will share one final story about one special teacher. 

My manager wrote about a shortlisted nominee 82 year-old teacher Dell Rathbone, she then interviewed Dell and wrote about her as a Finalist.

She won in the Outstanding Contribution to Teaching category on the night of 2020 TEACHX Awards.

Then no doubt with some help from my manager, Dell Rathbone was featured on the national television program The Project. To have shared Dell Rathbone’s story with such a wide audience is such a wonderful thing to have happened. 

-Lloyd Marken

 

COVID-19 DIARY – OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO SCHOOL COMMUNITY AND OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO TEACHING FINALISTS FOR 2020 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

QCT2

October 13

The TEACHX Awards are held annually by the Queensland College of Teachers to recognise some great teachers in our community and to elevate the profession.

In the year of COVID-19, the need for teachers to be flexible, hard working, innovative and dedicated to the education of students was on display more than ever.

The QCT received close to 400 nominations of which 74 nominees were shortlisted.

In each of the six awards categories there were five finalists.

Out of those 30 teachers I personally interviewed 15 of them and drafted 14 media releases.

These are their stories.

Outstanding Contribution to School Community

Chantelle AmsonChantelle teachers at the Nambour Special School and if Mohammed won’t come to the moutain, well Chantelle brings the mountain to her students. An incredibly dedicated teacher she has created two major events at her school and is part of the school’s choir named Sing, Sign, Sway which participates with mainstream schools in a Chorale Spectacular every second year. The two major events at NSS are a Market Day (the school’s fair) and Gold Pass Day where and this is for real, they set up a water park on the school oval including a massive slide. For some of the students this is the first time they are able to experience something like this. Chantelle Amson leads a school, a community in making this happen. She does not do it by herself but it happens because she sought to do it. Just another example of the amazing teachers who were Finalists.

Ron ArmstrongWhen the zombie apocalypse occurs you might want to look up Ron Armstrong. Growing up on a dairy farm he spent 3 hours a day commuting to school and as a teenager he played rugby league and competed in track and field at state level. As an adult he learned martial arts and became a Muay Thai instructor, climbing instructor and archery instructor. Having been a teacher most of his working life he has also worked in corrective services, employment services, ran a school in Papua New Guinea and had a book of poetry published. For well over a decade he has been involved in the boarding of students and been called upon for his expertise. When COVID hit, he and his team worked hard liaising with various agencies to meet safety requirements and be one of the first in the state to open up their school’s boarding facilities.

Carly BellIn a town of about 3,000 people, Clermont teacher Carly Bell makes a difference. Having moved there sixteen years ago she has boosted numbers of students from the town going onto university and she has been heavily involved in community activities. She became the first female rugby league player from the town to play for the Queensland side. Talking to her gave me a wonderful insight into the appeal of living in Clermont and the idea that in such a community you get out what you put in.

Outstanding Contribution to Teaching

Ping DingA teacher with a remarkable story of growing up during the Cultural Revolution in China. Her entire generation valued education and made the most of their chances to pursue it. As an immigrant to Australia she has overcome language and cultural difference to build one of the state’s largest Chinese language departments. She continues to grow ties between Chinese and Australian school students. Like all these teachers, despite such accomplishments she is very self-effacing.

John AllowaySeventy-two year old John Alloway is the bedrock of the Iggy Park and larger Townsville community. He’s been teaching since 1978 and was part of a push to get Catholic students and state school students to compete together in the brotherhood of sports. He worked twenty years for the North Queensland Cowboys part time tapping him into the innovations of professional sport while he remained Head of Sport at Iggy Park. A lifelong athlete he pedals to school, has shins that put most of us to shame, and can be found lifting weights during the day but when he talks about building the confidence of young students regardless of their athletic ability it touches something in your heart. This is a teacher in the most important sense of the word. Interestingly enough he worked odd jobs after school before deciding to consider going to night school. My own father had a similar experience and so I found something familiar in Alloway’s experiences.

John AloizosWas a wonderful man to speak to about his background growing up in a migrant family and how it gives him insight into the students at his own school where English is not their first language. He has been involved in many projects and been a heads of department often over the years, but a current program where he recruits students to be part of the school’s Stage Crew taking care of all the AV needs for school and external productions is what we mainly discussed. Many of these students are shy and withdrawn, they become proficient, confident and self-reliant as a Stage Crew member. A small measure of John’s impact and maybe the most important one.

It will always remain an honour to have interviewed these wonderful teachers.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP IN LEARNING AND TEACHING AND INNOVATION IN TEACHING FINALISTS FOR 2020 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

QCT2

October 13

The TEACHX Awards are held annually by the Queensland College of Teachers to recognise some great teachers in our community and to elevate the profession.

In the year of COVID-19, the need for teachers to be flexible, hard working, innovative and dedicated to the education of students was on display more than ever.

The QCT received close to 400 nominations of which 74 nominees were shortlisted.

In each of the six awards categories there were five finalists.

Out of those 30 teachers I personally interviewed 15 of them and drafted 14 media releases.

These are their stories.

Excellence Leadership in Learning and Teaching

Donald CameronDonald Cameron was a lovely teacher to talk to, he is highly intelligent and can break down big concepts centred around the way the brain works that make it highly relatable and practical. He was fascinating to listen to and has contributed to the mindfulness of teachers and students at his school.

Keith GrahamKeith Graham has the distinction of being the second person I have interviewed twice. I interview him in early 2019 for QCT when he received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM). Our conversation then covered the positive role sport can play in the development of young people. Now we discussed the International Baccalaureate Program, dived deeper into his early years, his role as a Principal and ideas around leadership and building school communities. Graham is a first rate speaker, articulate and concise but also expansive on his points. It’s a dream to interview him but the best part is clearly hearing his passion as an educator and building up people of all ages to reach their best potential.

Ben HabermehlIt was great to chat Ben, an extremely dedicated maths teacher who has made a significant difference to the maths department at his school and the students who learn there. His school, Yeronga State High School partnered with Griffith University in the research project Y Connect which saw artists engaging students in maths through movement with tremendous results particularly with many students whose first language is not English.

Innovation in Teaching

Gavin JonesGavin Jones like every other teacher I interviewed was wonderful to speak to. An arts teacher who set up the second remote pilot course for high school students in Australia and the first in Queensland. Jones who obtained his Commercial Pilots Licence in the early 1990s, has put his school on the map with the program. He was full of amusing stories and we discussed the impact that teachers can make in a student’s life.

Cameron LynchHave you heard of eSports? Well I hadn’t. But it is a growing billion dollar industry of video game tournaments where players are paid to compete professionally. More importantly the industry employs many to market, plan, run such tournaments in a range of specialities with universities offering scholarships, running tournaments, putting together teams and teaching skills for the sector. Thanks to Cameron Lynch students in his high school are doing the same building inroads to tertiary study and industry careers. A teacher with a vast array of experience and great dedication, it was magic listening to him recall a moment coming out of COVID where two of his students reached the grand final of an eSports tournament and they arranged 100 socially distanced peers to cheer them on in the school’s auditorium.

It will always remain an honour to have interviewed these wonderful teachers.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – EXCELLENCE IN BEGINNING TO TEACH AND EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING FINALISTS FOR 2020 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

QCT2

October 13

The TEACHX Awards are held annually by the Queensland College of Teachers to recognise some great teachers in our community and to elevate the profession.

In the year of COVID-19, the need for teachers to be flexible, hard working, innovative and dedicated to the education of students was on display more than ever.

The QCT received close to 400 nominations of which 74 nominees were shortlisted.

In each of the six awards categories there were five finalists.

Out of those 30 teachers I personally interviewed 15 of them and drafted 14 media releases.

These are their stories.

Excellence in Beginning to Teach

Peita BatesI happened to drive up to Maryborough a handful of days before I interviewed two finalists from Maryborough State High School. It is a beautiful town but both teachers I spoke to were eloquent of the challenges that Maryborough students face and that even on the coast 3 hours from Brisbane the community can become isolated like many regional towns. Peita is a former business consultant who in her short time as a teacher had already made great strides for her students becoming part of a school audit of the school as a Registered Training Organisation. She set up computer coding as a language program at the school and a Roboacademy. In the year of COVID she created the Game On challenge for students to design a game around the theme of connection. Along with Cecilia Kovacic, Peita Bates is a great advocate for her students, her school and her town.

Alexandra CalligarisAllie is a whip-smart innovative and perceptive teacher who has already made a big impact in her chosen career. We spoke about the difference a teacher can make in a student’s approach to life and how she has structured subjects to be engaging and contemporary whether it be how geospatial tech could be used to survive a zombie apocalypse or about podcasting. She created a Year 9 elective which aims to cross curriculum with excellent results. As a teacher, Calligaris has already left her mark but she is only getting started.

Excellence in Teaching

Jodi AudossIt was an honour to speak to Jodi Audoss. Jodi had worked in early childhood for many years before becoming a school teacher. A brain bleed saw her leave the profession and gradually with great effort and resilience work her way back to being a full time teacher. She now works with students with disabilities to reach their full potential alongside their peers. She has a lifetime of insight and an unwavering passion for the individual development of young students at a critical time in their education. She is a very special teacher and individual.

Cecilia KovacicCecilia Kovacic who also teaches at Maryborough State High School and spoke with great passion about creating employment opportunities for students in the town through several initiatives including trade training and the FraserPop Pop Culture Festival which drew 15,000 people in 2019 which she co-created. She was full of pride for the resilience and flexibility her students had shown as COVID forced them to change plans for the festival. My manager wrote the piece on Cecilia.

It will always remain an honour to have interviewed these wonderful teachers.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – SHORTLISTED NOMINEES FOR 2020 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

QCT2

 

September 24

I have been lucky enough to be seconded twice to the Media Team at my primary employer building upon my experience as a freelance writer. Both secondments were centred around lending support in the lead-up to the TEACHX Awards. 

The Queensland College of Teachers is the registration authority for teachers in the state of Queensland. Every year they do a call out for nominations of teachers from the community. 

In 2019, the QCT received over 200 nominations and during my secondment I wrote pieces on 115 of the nominees while others were tasked to write the rest.

This year there were almost 400 nominations received of which 74 were shortlisted.

Out of those 74 shortlisted I wrote pieces based off their nomination forms on 24 of them.

They are as follows according to their nomination category.

 

Excellence in Teaching

Jodi Audoss 

Ben Collier

Lisa Collins

Adam King

Mathew Lourigan

 

Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning

Grant Stephensen

 

Excellence in Beginning to Teach

Naomi Kitching

 

Innovation in Teaching

Gavin Jones 

Cameron Lynch

Brett Murphy 

Kelli Parr 

Jason Sepetauc 

 

Outstanding Contribution to Teaching

John Alloway 

Trevor Auer

Terri Barton-Thomas

Pearl Donovan

Judith Fewtrell

John Aloizos

 

Outstanding Contribution to School Community

Chantelle Amson 

Ron Armstrong 

Kylie Barrett 

Josephine Belchamber 

Carly Bell

Garrath McPherson

 

The TEACHX Awards are just one way to celebrate the hard work and challenges teachers face and the appreciation that we have for the role they perform in our society. I was grateful to write about them and celebrate them along with so many other hard working and talented colleagues. 

The publishing of the shortlisted nominees was the culmination of three weeks of intense work but already I was consumed with interviewing and writing about the Finalists in each category.

Hence there are links to only shortlisted nominees that I wrote about that did not later become Finalists who were interviewed and written about by me or my manager.

If you click on any of the links you will find a story about an extraordinary teacher and person.

-Lloyd Marken