The work of Tasmanian teachers was lauded recently as the three young finalists for the Southern Cross Young Achievers Excellence in Teaching Award met with the Minister for Education, Nick McKim.
Kate Longey of Hobart's Dominic college, Nicole Radin of St Patrick's College in Launceston and Lauren Shepard of Bowen Rd Primary School in Hobart have all been judged excellent teachers; the award winner will be announced at a Saturday 6 April at the Southern Cross Awards gala dinner at Wrest Point Hotel.
The Excellence in Teaching Award is sponsored by the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania; all three finalists are UTAS graduates.
The acting dean of the faculty, Professor John Williamson, said teachers have a significant role to play in the lives of their students and can make a real difference by giving them guidance, encouragement and support.
"This teaching award acknowledges young teachers who have the ability and skills to inspire students of all ages," he said.
"It recognises the significant creative, intellectual and conceptual demands required of teachers and is for those who are passionate about their work and have demonstrated a pattern of outstanding service."
Speaking at the event, 2012 Excellence in Teaching winner, Holly Barnwall of Flinders Island District High School, said the best part of winning was the opportunity to meet driven, enthusiastic and like-minded people who had inspired and encouraged her. She urged parents, teachers and community members to nominate hard-working and motivated colleagues for the 2014 award.
"Teachers who are eligible for awards such as these often don't work for accolades or recognition but just for the love of their work and dedication to their students," Holly said.
"They are generally people who believe they are just doing their jobs and this is exactly why you should nominate them."
Holly told the three 2013 nominees the work they are doing in schools and communities was important to the future of Tasmania.
"The knowledge that you are valued enough to be nominated for such a prestigious award is a wonderful honour, especially in a climate where it is particularly difficult for young educators," she said.
Finalists: Southern Cross Young Achiever Excellence in Teaching Award
Kate Longey, 28 of Acton Park worked closely with the refugee community teaching English and as a Youth Pathways Advisor for Colony 47 before arriving at Dominic College in 2010 to construct a pilot program for disengaged students called The Magone Program. Now the program's lead teacher, Kate is also responsible for implementing the Rock and Water Program, designed to teach young people safety, integrity, solidarity, self control, self confidence and self respect.
Nicole Radin, 28 of Prospect is recognised for her excellent learning and teaching programs in health and physical education. She is also renowned for her leadership of the co-curricular sporting program at St Patricks College where she coordinates 1,500 students and a large number of staff and parents. She conducts college carnivals and weekly sporting rosters. Nicole is completing the Netball Australia intermediate level coaching course, which will qualify her to coach netball at a state level.
Lauren Shephard, 26 of Austins Ferry travelled to Japan after completing her teaching degree. She taught at a kindergarten and ran after- school English lessons for prep to grade 6 students from her house. Lauren then went to Ghana, West Africa as a volunteer teacher for two months teaching pre-school to grade 9 in rooms without books, electricity or running water. Now at Bowen Road Primary School, Lauren has entered her students in an online Japanese language forum.
UTAS Law postgraduate student, Meg Good, is also nominated for a Southern Cross Young Achiever Award.
Image: From left to right, Lauren Shephard, Holly Barnewall and Kate Longey.