OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO SCHOOL COMMUNITY
Girls are achieving extraordinary results in Physics and are thriving outside the classroom in outdoor education pursuits thanks to a state teaching finalist known affectionately as Ranger Hal.
Somerville House’s David Haliczer is not only an exceptional Physics teacher, with 71 per cent of his Year 12 students achieving an A in the notoriously difficult subject, he’s also a role model for resilience and kindness.
The statewide Physics curriculum expert, Duke of Edinburgh Co-ordinator, marathon runner and former Industrial Chemist, has been named a finalist for the prestigious Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award.
Current and past students, parents and colleagues have provided stirring anecdotes of the changes Mr Haliczer has made in countless lives through his extraordinary commitment to providing opportunities for students through the Duke of Edinburgh program, of his outstanding skills and ability to inspire curiosity as a teacher, and his collegialism.
Mr Haliczer said it was important for him to be a teacher not just of subjects, but of life skills.
“I like to feel that I am providing values and qualities and characteristics that young people can take with them for the rest of their life and that when they reflect back, or when they are ever at some tough time at their life, that they think back and they think about the fact that there were kind teachers who thought the world of them at their school,” he said.
Mr Haliczer said his work with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) since 1995, and in particular his recent roles as a lead endorser, lead confirmer and lead external exam marker in Physics, helped him have his finger on the pulse as to what was needed for his students to master the new external exam and internal assessment system.
“It certainly helps a lot because it’s really worthwhile to see what is happening across the state. I see it as a two-way street; I am doing what is best to help teachers across schools across the state, but in the same way I am seeing what works for them and that helps me with my cohort as well,” he said.
Along with quality teaching, exam resilience was also important he said, with the school developing a bank of diagnostic tests to help students cope with the pressure an external exam can bring.
In addition to his teaching workload and QCAA responsibilities, Mr Haliczer spends an enormous amount of time co-ordinating the Duke of Edinburgh program for about 50 to 60 students. This includes overseeing Gold Award students who are required to undertake 52 hours of each of a skill, a community service, and a physical activity over a year, as well as planning and undertaking a four-day adventurous journey, which Mr Haliczer goes on with one of his colleagues.
“What we find is that the students who do this seem to have a lot more resilience, tenacity – it is like they’re far more balanced in their approach to their studies … and I really do think that the Duke of Edinburgh program, and other programs like that, really do help develop those coping skills and also those people skills,” he said.
After three decades of teaching, Mr Haliczer said he felt like there was “no more noble pursuit than to be able to leave a legacy with young people”.
“Like that old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, I feel like I am a part of that,” he said.
Winners of the TEACHX Awards will be announced on October 28, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day celebrations in Queensland. Finalists win $500, and winners $5000, for professional development.