2021 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award
On Friday 19 March, 12 of the country's finest educators, including Blackwater State High School Principal Rebecca Godfrey, were celebrated at the Commonwealth Bank's Teaching Awards ceremony held in Sydney.
While the 12 teachers have come from all parts of the country and teach a range of subjects and ages, they all have one thing in common: the determination to keep education fun and engaging for their students.
The theme for the fifth annual Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards this year is: through life's challenges, great teachers inspire – and how apt that theme is.
The last 12 months have been challenging to say the least. In March 2020, COVID-19 brought world economies to their knees and Australia was not exempt. Within a month, the country had gone into lockdown, with many small businesses forced to close their doors. The nation's schools were forced to come up with innovative ways to teach those children who were no longer physically present in the classroom.
And innovate they did.
Australia's community of school teachers showed just how incredibly talented, resourceful, innovative and dedicated they are.
Special relativity and quantum mechanics were not cutting through with students studying physics for electrical and other trade apprenticeships. So, Rebecca Godfrey developed her own course, more relevant to the needs and experiences of her students in the mining communities of Central Queensland, and advocated until it was recognised by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
Working directly with the mining industry, Rebecca, now the principal of Blackwater State High School, developed an approach to physics, chemistry and maths that addressed core scientific concepts while applying them to the electrical and other trades. Students engage much better with the QSMART (QMEA Science and Maths and Related Technologies), with high pass rates and acceptance into apprenticeships.
The course, now nearly a decade old, is deeply integrated in several central Queensland schools and at a Trade Training Centre in North Queensland and provides a pipeline of employment opportunities into local industries.
Rebecca says teachers have a responsibility to advocate for students' needs. “I passionately believe that teachers have a huge influence over students and can make all the difference for them. Being in a rural school, much of my work is in supporting beginning teachers to become good teachers, and good teachers to become the leaders of tomorrow."
Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in STEM
The Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in STEM Education recognise students, teachers, support officers, schools and education partners (volunteers, mentors and organisations) who demonstrate an outstanding and innovative contribution to STEM education in Queensland.
The awards are named after Professor Peter Doherty, a Brisbane-born Nobel Prize-winning scientist, who was educated at Indooroopilly State High School and the University of Queensland.
Blackwater State High School teacher and STEM Coordinator Mr Locklan Hall is one of five recipients of the Outstanding Teacher STEM Award in 2020.
During 2020, I was honoured to receive the Peter Doherty Award. This award is for STEM teachers who have demonstrated an outstanding and innovative contribution to STEM education in Queensland. I received this award for aligning the curriculum, programs and practices used in industry so our students can have a firsthand look at professional programs and skills used in IT. I also implemented a program with one of our cluster primary schools to teach the Year 6 students IT skills to help them better prepare for high school. Teaching skills of the 21st Century is essential to the success of our students, and I was grateful for the opportunity to share this with our school community.