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Cairns is lucky to have terrific teachers that mentor and help raise our kids. For Terrific Teachers, we bring you advice and more, from some of them.

Maureen Cameron

St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch

“As a musician and teacher, I have had many moments on stage in front of audiences. I’ve travelled and shared performing space with some of the finest musicians on earth. But, undoubtedly, my proudest moment happens at the end of every academic year as my Year 12 music students approach the end of their schooling.

One thing I wish parents knew is how much their children mean to their teachers. We think about their children when we are not at work and are constantly planning our next adventure in the classroom.”

Angela Collins

St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch

“I have had so many proud moments in my career, but one that stands out for me is being able to take students on Immersion to schools in Papua New Guinea, and later teaching in PNG personally. I feel that this has greatly influenced my life and how I interact with students.

Overall, the best thing about teaching at St Andrew’s is the students. They’re passionate and know how to give back to their community. Our Service-Learning program is one way that we continue to see the amazing nature of this generation.”

Lucille Ruggeri

Holy Cross School, Trinity Park

“There is really nothing better than seeing my students come into their classroom excited to learn when I make lessons more fun and enjoyable. Reading about a topic is great, but putting it into action is even better, such as running an experiment or doing a particular kind of project whilst incorporating new skills.

My students are excited to tell their parents about what they did that day when learning is fun and engaging. This creates an important partnership between Teacher, Parent and Student where all are involved in the learning and development of the child.”

Nicola Chambers

Mount St Bernard College, Herberton

“It’s so rewarding helping students that need extra guidance and support, especially at a boarding school where students do not get to see their family day to day.

They really appreciate the effort that you put into supporting them in and out of the classroom.

I went to school in England so there are a number of differences I see in school today. Mainly, the way that the students are assessed allows them to showcase their diversity. It means that those who may not excel through a written exam can show their strengths in other ways.”

Michelle Breen

Trinity Anglican School

“Teaching is a complex profession; in a single day you plan, teach, assess, manage, inspire, engage, talk lots, read, answer 1000s of questions, apply band-aids, rescue wildlife and tie shoelaces. There are many precious moments that can mark our days, weeks, years.

The highlight of my career is the collection of thank you letters and cards at the end of the year, which bring a tear to my eye when I realise that I’ve made a real difference. It’s also very special when past students get in touch to say thank you.

I’d like my students to know that it’s okay to try new things because the best time is right now. Their time will come because everybody has their time to shine so keep trying new things! Believe in yourself.”

Julia Czernek

Cairns Hinterland Steiner School

“I fell in love with my workplace about 12 years ago when I was looking for a school for my own children. One of the best attributes is working with our Steiner curriculum, which is designed to meet the specific developmental needs of our students. It is wonderful to see how play and artistic expression kindles such a thirst for learning.

My one piece of advice for parents with school-aged children is to cherish your time together, and develop good routines with sleep, nourishing meals and activity and play in nature.”

Traylea Sexton

Mount St Bernard College, Herberton

“I absolutely love that I get to teach a subject I am passionate about. I respect the students and they respect me; we learn from each other every day. My favourite arts practice is Ceramics. I enjoy teaching students the processes of wheel throwing, hand building, firing and glazing. I have never seen a group of year 10 boys so quiet for two lessons.

Overall parents can support their children in school by encouraging them to be independent. Don’t do everything for them, help them to find their talents within themselves, and ignite their passions.”

Ryan Mawdsley

Mount St Bernard College, Herberton

“I became a teacher because I love to help individuals learn new skills and see the growth in them from year to year. I was also influenced by my grandad as he was a physical education teacher and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

One of the best experiences I’ve had at Mount St Bernard College is taking our year 9 and 10’s out for expedition camp. It’s a great time to develop meaningful relationships with staff and students as they build resilience both physically and mentally.”