EXCELLENCE IN BEGINNING TO TEACH
When beginning teacher April Clarke joined Miami State High School as an English and Humanities teacher after a successful career as a television journalist for Nine News, she was described as a ‘saving grace’ by her colleagues.
April’s first term at Miami State High School can only be described as tumultuous, as she was charged with transforming the behaviour and performance of a class of students who had experienced all sorts of personal trauma and challenges. Rather than just ‘survive’, April instead decided to thrive, and by adopting a positive, progressive and respectful approach to her students, April quickly became the glue that held them together.
“She was more than just an educator, she was a storyteller, a leader, a shaper of many futures, and she gave these kids hope when they needed it most because she cared…she put her heart before her head,” explains April’s colleague, Tami Creasey.
The impact April had on the class quickly became evident across the subject areas, as the students took the values and self-beliefs learned in Humanities to other areas of their schooling.
A further testament to April’s commitment to excellence in teaching practice and to her school community was her actions during the school closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. April quickly up-skilled in online learning tools and supported her colleagues to do the same. To ensure her students’ learning remained ‘on-track’ April used ZOOM to check in with students and continue her classes’ sense of community during the lockdown period. In this and a variety of other initiatives during the pandemic, April supported her students and school through one of the biggest wellbeing challenges it will ever face.
Her impact was not limited to Miami State High School; she developed an Instagram account, @AprilEducates, to build an online community of educators who can create and share resources, and support one another.
With experience comes growth and April will continue to reflect on her practice. April has achieved so much in her first year in the profession and next year she will draw on her journalism experience to develop Miami State High’s first extra-curricular journalism team.
Congratulations April on being shortlisted for the TEACHX Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award.