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Finalist — Michael King



Having more male teachers in early childhood education would be “a huge benefit” to students and their families, a finalist in prestigious state teaching awards says.

Michael King, a former musician turned teacher at John Paul College (JPC), was a Prep Learning Assistant at JPC for seven years before becoming a Year 1 teacher.

He has already been recognised for his outstanding work with a regional Queensland Training Award in 2015, when he was studying a Diploma in Community Services in Education and Care.

Mr King, who is a finalist for this year’s Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award, noticed when his son was in the early years of primary school that there weren’t many male teachers. He started out as a parent helper when his son was in Prep, before becoming a Learning Assistant. Last year he started as a teacher.

“A lot of people encouraged me to continue my studies as an early childhood teacher claiming ‘We don’t often see male teachers, particularly in the early years’. Children come from a variety of family situations and to be able to be a positive male role model for young children was a shining light for me,” Mr King said.

“It would be wonderful to see more males in early childhood to provide a balance for students and an opportunity to have a male influence in building strong relationships. I think that was another passion that drove me when I was going to university – I was one of only a few males studying early childhood,” he said.

Mr King, who started studying teaching in his 40s, has already made a significant impact at JPC. Last year, he led the way for early career teachers to receive even more support at the College, thanks to a suite of improvements he put forward, including weekly professional development meetings, welcome packs and a strengthened mentoring system.

This year, Mr King – alongside JPC’s school counsellor – delivered a heart-warming rendition of ‘What a wonderful world’, which was posted on the College’s social media pages, helping to lift the spirits of his entire school community as it went into the COVID-19 remote learning period.

Mr King is known for being an outstanding classroom practitioner who provides engaging lessons and builds a strong and positive rapport with his students and their families. He said as a child he used to invite his friends over to “play school” and he would pretend to be a teacher.

“When I left school, I went into a different career path – I chose music. I had some amazing experiences within the music industry, but deep down I had a passion to become a teacher and help others,” Mr King said. “As a child I had wonderful teachers who inspired me and … I really wanted to give back by doing the same,” he said.

The TEACHX Award winners will be announced on October 29, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day celebrations in Queensland.

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