Sheldon College teacher Beth Cooper is held in high regard by her school community. Known for her positive outlook, fun sense of humour and keen embedding of new teaching methods, she has also proven there is nothing she won’t do for her school. Recently the father of one of her students became seriously ill. “Beth’s genuine care, calm and gentle manner provided a great deal of relief and comfort to this family. Beth demonstrated a willingness to ensure all lines of communication were open at all times of the day; her support to provide love and comfort and a guiding word were above and beyond the expectations for teachers”, Craig Kerwin, Director of Academics, says.
Beth responded to the child’s emotional needs, adjusted class learning and with a light- hearted touch assigned jobs and tasks to give the student something to look forward to during a difficult time. A leader in the staff Social Club Committee she builds staff morale through various activities including supporting the annual community evening ‘Mother’s Night Out’. She is regularly involved in college events including sumo-suit wrestling or making an appearance as the college mascot Scout. Beth is also taking students on a Community Service tour to Vietnam at the end of the year. An example of her teaching practice is a cross-disciplinary unit based around Nadia Wheatley’s My Place. It is a unit where students develop their own understanding of their family history after visiting a local indigenous community to learn about indigenous culture and history. They design their own memory box and write their own autobiography, recorded as a podcast to place in the memory box. With an importance placed on community in what is learned, students share their memory boxes during a family picnic. By evaluating programs and implementing effective strategies, Beth regularly improves student outcomes. Academic data shows for Beth’s Year 3 class, 84 per cent achieved above year-level expectations in English, and for Mathematics 96 per cent of her class achieved above year-level expectations. For problem-solving and applying a new concept for multiplication, 100 per cent of all students made year-level benchmarks. Congratulations Beth on your nomination.