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Written By

Hannah Gray


College of Arts, Society and Education

Publish Date

27 October 2022

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To our teachers: thank you

A student’s journey from classroom to career is never done alone. Teachers, school staff and education professionals are right there assisting students to find their path and pave the way forward to success.

We’re putting a spotlight on the diverse support that educators provide for their students. Teachers across the Cairns and Townsville regions have shared their unique perspective on the important role they play in students’ lives.

Head of English and Languages at , Louise Stout, says teachers are a guide for students as they navigate a world of opportunity.

“Teachers are a vital part of helping students learn what they are passionate about,” she says. “One of the hardest things a student has to do is make a decision about ‘what they want to do’ when leaving school. As a teacher, it is my job to help them figure out their passion and equip all students with the skills to follow that passion, which will help them find a career that they love and enjoy.”

A JCU Education alumni herself, Louise says the practical experience in her degree prepared her for her career. “I was well-supported during my school practicals, and the time we had after to reflect as a cohort helped us learn from each other.”

Connecting and championing students

Sarah Chapman is Science Head of Department in , Co-Chair of and a JCU Outstanding Alumni. She says fostering connection and communication is just the beginning of a teacher’s vital role in supporting students.

“My experience as an educator and advocate for STEM is the importance of connection, and the bringing together of each sector of the STEM ecosystem. The next important component is communication between each of those sectors, which strengthens their connection. Connections grow with positive and enabling communication that engages young people, absent of unconscious bias.

“The third component is collaboration, encouraging people to work together, sharing their strengths to influence and grow the STEM ecosystem. Championing success and telling stories is the all-important cherry on top. Connecting, communicating, collaborating and championing the brilliant achievements of our STEM community allows genuine pathways to be made clear for our young people to aspire to.”

Sarah’s education at JCU honed her passion for STEM education. “My Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree prepared me for an immersive experience in authentic science contexts,” she says. “It allowed me to join the dots between science concepts and connect with the science community that I still engage with today. My postgraduate Education studies allowed me to connect my passion for science with young people, a true privilege I am grateful for.”

A female sport teacher speaks into megaphone while two students run.
A male teacher reads a book to a young student.

Providing perspective and pursuing potential

Chloe Rutledge, English teacher at , emphasises that teachers are supporters as much as they are educators.

“The most vital role a teacher plays is providing emotional regulation and support for our students,” Chloe says. “We are the closest adult who is not a parent or a care giver, so our job is critical to providing a student with an alternative perspective that can encourage them to think beyond their immediate environment. This helps students as they’re in the process of mentally transitioning from a child to an adult.”

Similarly, John Nuttall, Director of School Development Services at the , says great teachers do much more than teach.

“Teachers are trusted with creating a classroom that enables children to learn and flourish,” John says. “A good teacher will help students to work with others, think critically and be curious. A great teacher sees the potential in children that they don’t necessarily see themselves. They motivate, encourage and nurture students to be the best they can be.”

“Great teachers successfully set students on their way.”

JCU Alumni John Nuttall, Director of School Development Services

John learned such principles from his own teachers. “At JCU, I was taught by some terrific lecturers who were helpful and supportive. They made learning relevant and thoroughly prepared me for my early years as a teacher.”

From the teachers helping kids in early education to gain confidence and explore their world to the educators and guidance officers helping Year 12 students find their next step, teachers are vital to students of every age.

JCU extends its gratitude to all education professionals working to guide their students well from classroom to career, and celebrates JCU Education alumni for their quality work and dedication.

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