EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
INSPIRATIONAL IPSWICH INCLUSION TEACHER A FINALIST IN STATE AWARDS
An Ipswich teacher has been recognised for her inspirational work as the Inclusion Teacher for Year 1 students with learning difficulties at Silkstone State School.
After working in education for 30 years and experiencing a life-changing event, Jodi Audoss sought an inclusion role to help students overcome learning challenges. This year, the enormous difference she is making in children’s lives has led to her being named a finalist for the Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Excellence in Teaching Award, marking the culmination of a hard-fought journey back to classroom teaching.
Amongst the students she supports is a boy who was limited in his communication with others when she first met him.
“All he said was, ‘Mama, mama, mama’. It took a lot of thinking and a lot of talking with his carers and our speech pathologist,” she recalled.
Through consultation they set out not just academic goals but also life skills and communication goals to work towards achieving in the school year.
Using Sign Language and the iPad program Proloquo2Go, the teacher and student could say things to each other. Early on, Mrs Audoss taught the boy which toilet to go to and would say ‘Boy’. The student told her ‘No,’ with delight and she recognised, ‘Oh, I’m a girl’ and the student laughed. He had been able to make a joke and have somebody get it.
“Through his iPad program and through signing he does have a voice and it’s just been amazing to watch. I’m so proud of him,” Mrs Audoss said.
In 2009 the teacher suffered a brain bleed post-partum, which set off a chain of events. She was deemed permanently disabled, ending her teaching career, and recalled, “To be told that you can’t do it, that’s harder”.
There were many side effects to work through, but Mrs Audoss’s health did improve. With the support of her family and her GP she started relief teaching, found she could do the work and eventually returned to permanent teaching at Silkstone State School.
The period of recovery gives her a keen insight into the learning difficulties of her students.
“When I was sick, I didn’t look like there was anything wrong with me but the people talking to me didn’t realise how much thought, in the early days, went into every single sentence that I said back to them, and I think that about children,” the teacher explained.
“It’s so important, the first five years of a child’s life. We see that from day one, when they come into the classroom with their little backpacks of knowledge. We get them at extreme levels of never being exposed to a book to being a confident reader. So from the onset you have to know where that child is and what they need to grow, and I have my own little belief that everyone should work in Prep,” the educator said, having worked for many years in early childhood before becoming a primary school teacher.
“Growth in all the children that I work with across the four Year 1 classes has been phenomenal. It is nice to see them sharing in their successes and seeing themselves as learners. No child should be left behind, no one’s unteachable, no aspirations are unreachable.”
The winners of the TEACHX Awards will be announced on 29 October, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day in Australia.