“While Jean also knows the ‘why and how’, academically she is intuitive in her understanding of what switches learning on”, colleague Felicia Stockdale says. A teacher for approximately 40 years, Jean has worked in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand. For the past 18 years, she has taught predominantly Science, but also other subjects, at the Brisbane School of Distance Education (BrisbaneSDE).
One hundred per cent of her Year 7 students achieve a C or higher, 60 per cent achieve A-B grades (which is above the school target) and student attendance is 95 per cent (also higher than the school target). Jean studies the latest developments in the fields of science and technology and brings this to bear in her classes. Students were recently learning about ‘SpaceX’ and ‘Blue Horizon’ and heard from guest speaker Alistair Dove (Director of Atlanta Aquarium—the largest aquarium in the world), who attend the school. Over the years Jean has regularly taken part in open days, school camps, sports days, enrichment days and has been a member of the BrisbaneSDE social club since 2001. Fellow teacher Felicia says Jean knows, “how one might best work with a challenging student ‘who just needs someone to care’”. “The knowledge, the love of knowing and the sharing is huge, like her laughter: big, hearty, easy, inimitable.” As one student wrote at the end of the year in a message, “I will remember you as one of the best science teachers I have ever had”. Congratulations Jean on your nomination.