EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
A dramatic increase in girls studying high-level Mathematics, school holiday workshops and outstanding student numeracy and music results are just some of the reasons a Coorparoo teacher is a finalist in state awards.
Over the course of her career, Loreto College teacher Deana Dodds has written innovative curriculum for Music, numeracy, Mathematics and Learning Support. She has run holiday mathematics workshops for students and has hosted workshops with teachers from local primary schools, to share best practice and strategies. Ms Dodds has included numeracy activities in her school’s newsletter to encourage families to talk about mathematics at home.
Her work has reached beyond the curriculum: to assist students to “find their tribes” she has run choirs, music ensembles, music camps, maths clubs, problem-solving clubs and has taken students to perform in their local communities and compete in eisteddfods and Mathematics competitions.
“Helping students to find their passion is one of the greatest responsibilities that a teacher has. Watching students evolve into young people with motivation, direction and independence is one of the great rewards of being a teacher,” Ms Dodds said.
Her passionate approach to teaching Mathematics is paying off, with the percentage of Loreto College students choosing the highest level of Mathematics – Specialist Mathematics – more than doubling. There has also been a 31 per cent increase in students choosing Mathematics Methods and an increase in students’ NAPLAN numeracy results.
Ms Dodds is a finalist for this year’s Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Excellence in Teaching Award due to her outstanding practice and her commitment to her students, her school and the wider community.
She said one of the challenges had been to show students the beauty in Mathematics and to help them to find the “excitement of getting to that last line”. She believes that once students discover this, the world of Mathematics opens fully to them, and they are hooked.
“That has really let the girls have that belief, that they can do that Maths at the highest level and not to have to settle [for less],” Ms Dodds said.
“We are living in a time where we have to educate our girls to go out and take their place in the world that they want, the place that they want to be in,” she said.
Her Music students have achieved at Australia’s highest levels, with several having attained AMusA (Associate in Music, Australia) and LMusA (Licentiate in Music, Australia) certifications.
They have also been awarded the Premier’s Award for Music Performance and Music Investigation in several years, with one student also being the youngest ever finalist in the Bach Competition.
Ms Dodds said her favourite part of teaching was watching her students grow and excel.
“If you inspire students to engage with the education system, you've helped them to open so many of life’s doors for themselves,” Ms Dodds said.
While Music and Mathematics might seem to some an unusual subject combination, for Ms Dodds, the two go hand-in-hand.
“They're both very creative, and they're both very analytical. I have the best of both worlds,” she 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.