EXCELLENCE IN BEGINNING TO TEACH
Allie Calligaris is a beginning teacher, but that hasn’t stopped her from pioneering innovative curriculum work in her Humanities Department at Maroochydore State High School, or from further capitalising on her passion for the intersection between education and research to achieve outcomes for her students.
In her third year of teaching, Allie was awarded the role of Humanities Curriculum Coordinator. In this role, Allie implemented a literacy program for students in Years 7 to 10 across all Humanities curriculum areas and worked with colleagues within and outside her school context to do so. Allie also was chosen to showcase Maroochydore State High School’s curriculum panel process to the Regional Director, and she was primarily responsible for implementing the SATE Ancient History Program.
Allie is committed to the Humanities, and for that very reason developed an innovative Year 9 elective called ‘Big Ideas’, which is the first cross-curricula unit of its kind at her school. ‘Big Ideas’ combines History, Geography and Science, and is demonstrative of Allie’s pioneering approach to curriculum. Allie encourages her students to be ‘big thinkers’ and to consider problems from alternative angles and her students attest to the way her teaching has challenged them and improved their academic performance.
The practice of teaching cannot be successful without relationships. This is something Allie acutely appreciates. For that reason, she strives to build meaningful relationships and rapport with students by using humour and technology in the classroom. By creating communities for learning in her classrooms, Allie supports students to feel safe and this practice has been adopted by other teachers across the school.
Her effectiveness as a classroom teacher does not go unrecognised, as one student explains, “I’ve had Ms Stevenson since the beginning of last year and I have never had a teacher that has been so passionate about helping students learn, achieve their highest marks and continuously encourage us to do our best… She is always so supportive and engages one on one with us students each lesson making sure we comprehend everything especially when we’re learning something difficult. "
"Ms Stevenson is fun, interesting and witty yet at the same time maintains a high sense of professionalism and never loses respect from us students.”
Allie has goals to work both as a teacher and a researcher in the future, using her own and others’ research to continuously improve both her own teaching capability and that of her community of peers. She uses her passion for research as a way to both understand and overcome the challenges she experiences as an early career teacher. She is passionate about conducting research into early career teachers and contributing to the field of education through this research.
Congratulations Allie on being selected as a finalist for a TEACHX Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award.