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Madonna Lawrence

St Joseph’s Parish School, Atherton

“The highlight of my career so far has been having a student from my first class ever in 1989 contact me to tell me that I’d inspired her to become a teacher herself. This was truly humbling, to realise the impact a teacher has on their students.

My advice to parents is to be patient and to build a positive relationship with your children, their friends and school staff. Everybody gets there in the end, but every family’s journey is different. Be patient with your child and guide them through their schooling. Help them to love learning. Work as a team to support each other and everybody gains.”

Venessa Garozzo

St Joseph’s Parish School, Atherton

“I have had many adventures and highlights in my career as a teacher. However, it is the everyday learning of students that is the exciting and satisfying part of my profession. Children are full of surprises! They have such a unique way of looking at the world and I marvel at their curiosity and inquiring nature.

I wish my students would remember how unique and special they are. Out of our global population of seven billion people, there is only one you. Children grow up so quickly – parents, take the time to enjoy and celebrate the milestones and successes in your child’s life.”

Ann Blakeney

St Gerard Majella School, Woree

“I’ve been fortunate to be at St Gerard Majella School for 10 years and there is nowhere I’d rather be. I’m always proud when I hear from a former student and they tell me how they are doing. I will always remember one little boy who really struggled at school, but always put in 100 per cent. I bumped into him last year at the airport and he wrapped his arms around me and said “thank you Miss, you always made me feel smart.” It’s times like these that remind me I have the best job in the world.”

Tegahn Maitland

Our Lady Help of Christians School, Earlville

“The best thing about OLHOC is our community. The families, students, staff and Parish community have such a strong bond. It’s like a massive family. My proudest moment is when I hear “Miss Maitland” being yelled out and then introduced as the person who taught them how to read or as the student’s favourite teacher.

My advice for parents is to read and talk to your child as much as you can – read everything. For students, remember that it doesn’t matter what grade you get, just do your very best.”

Nadine Grant

St Monica’s College, Cairns

“I came over to St Monica’s College when Year 7 moved to secondary school. I love working with the Year 7s and 8s. They are full of life
and energy and approach learning with enthusiasm and rigour.

My advice for parents is to let your children experience disappointment and failure. Let them sit out of play if they forget their hat, or fail an exam if they haven’t put the work in. These experiences are the greatest teachers of resilience, and will assist your children to face the challenges that life will inevitably place before them.”

Kerry Sweeney

St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch

“I absolutely love the community feel and working relationships that we foster at St Andrew’s Catholic College. It’s a place where people genuinely care.

My proudest moment as a teacher comes when a child who has been working on a challenge or goal finally understands the concept. It is a magical light bulb moment where it all just clicks into place and all of that work that we have put in comes to fruition. I just love the power of that moment. Usually, we celebrate with a high five in class, the student goes home and tells their parents, then they usually drop in to see me and that is why I became a teacher.”

Brian Springell

Trinity Anglican School

“I enjoy helping people. I am passionate about mathematics and science, and I enjoy explaining these concepts to students. As a student I spend my time helping other students, which was an indication that I might end up teaching as a career. I have been teaching for 36 years now.

Physics is my favourite subject to teach as there are so many demonstrations that can be done in the class laboratory, and so many YouTube clips demonstrating amazing physics phenomena. In particular, the latest developments in physics, engineering and technology from SpaceX and Tesla who are making the future happen now.”

Rohan Lee

St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch

“A couple of years ago, the parents of a student with a disability asked if their son could join the school rugby league team as the water runner. I told them we’d trial him for the team and he ended up with a jersey. I worked with him and trained him up as our dummy-half for the inter-school tournament. He ended up crashing over for a try!

The moment was reminiscent of an ’80s Disney movie… there were handicams rolling, cheering spectators and proud parents. It was a moment of kindness, persistence, sportsmanship, determination and inclusion that sits as my absolute favourite moment as a teacher.”