OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO TEACHING
For Elizabeth Kriesch, teaching is not just a job, it’s been a 50-year vocation.
St Columba’s Primary School Principal Mr John O’Connor says Elizabeth is a highly committed teacher who has a strong sense of the importance of the teaching profession in making our society a better place.
“Elizabeth believes that all children, irrespective of their background, cognitive ability, learning style or other issue can learn, improve and show growth,” John says.
The best way to illustrate Elizabeth’s contribution to teaching over her many years of practice is through her endless commitment to her students, including one whose mother has praised and thanked the Year 3 teacher for the enormous difference she has made in her son’s life. The former student faced significant mental and physical challenges.
Under Elizabeth’s guidance, he began to write and attempt spelling for the first time. He increased his reading level and improved his comprehension. The Year 3 student also learned how to use the calculator and engaged in maths problems, after previously finding them too daunting. Further, through support from Elizabeth and his Speech Therapist, the student can now speak with confidence and hold a conversation.
The mother says these dramatic improvements were a direct result of the tireless efforts of Elizabeth.
“She works on developing the child’s independence, teaching them responsibility, providing boundaries, guidelines, support and scaffolding appropriately to engage and teach them. She gets to know her students, understands their currency, rewards and encourages them…with our son, she has built his confidence and allowed him the opportunity to succeed,” the mother says.
Elizabeth establishes a wonderful rapport and close connection with all of her students, and develops an understanding of each child to learn about what motivates them, their challenges, and their passions. Elizabeth’s starting point is always what the child can do, rather than what they can’t do, and she uses this knowledge to subsequently set challenging learning goals, create scaffolds and supports, and work on helping her students to progress.
Elizabeth’s efforts are of course not restricted to the classroom; she has organised and run the school’s drama productions throughout her career. This involves a significant time commitment on her part, and endless amounts of patience.
Additionally, for many years, Elizabeth ran the Grade 4 camp which involved establishing pen pal relationships between St Columba's students and students at St. Mary's Kingaroy, hosting the St Mary's students for two nights at St Columba's and arranging parent helpers to cook and assist when the St Columba's students attended camp at St Mary's.
She co-ordinates the school's activities for Harmony Day each year, ensures the school grounds are decorated and produces an assembly to mark the occasion. Her energy, skills and experience are legendary throughout the school community.
Congratulations Elizabeth on being shortlisted for a TEACHX Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.