EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
Rapping about Chemistry, using underwater video craft, mentoring colleagues and celebrating more than 71 cultures through an award-winning multicultural program are behind an inspirational Logan teacher being named as a finalist in state teaching awards.
After teaching across the United Kingdom and Australia for over 30 years, Karen McGeachie has said there is nowhere else she would rather be teaching than at Mabel Park State High School (MPSHS).
Mrs McGeachie, who is a finalist for this year’s Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Excellence in Teaching Award, has helped lead MPSHS’s award-winning Multicultural program since 2014.
The program, which includes student-led celebrations of 71 cultures and is described as ‘a part of the heart of the school’, regularly sees over 1000 community participants at an annual showcase night.
Mrs McGeachie began leading a dance troupe in 2014 as a celebration of her own Bangladeshi culture. Under her mentorship, teacher involvement in the program, which also includes connections with local Indigenous elders and refugee communities, has risen from eight to thirty.
“It's really helped to establish a good, strong cultural environment with positive relationships,” she said.
The Highly Accomplished Teacher also uses music to engage her students in science, with teenagers asked to write and perform their own raps about chemical concepts in one of her Chemistry units.
“It really engaged a variety of EAL/D (English as an Additional Language or Dialect) students who found it less threatening than perhaps a Chemistry exam,” she explained.
In Biology, Mrs McGeachie’s students use industry standard technology, such as Baited Remote Underwater Video, to collect and analyse data on the flora and fauna of waterways. To help a visually impaired pupil understand light energy, Mrs McGeachie used arrangements of string that could be touched to simulate the physics and properties of rays of light.
The curriculum leader was also the lead teacher on an award-winning program which assisted primary school teachers in the Logan area with their teaching of Science.
Mrs McGeachie said one of the things she enjoyed most about her role was watching the “light bulbs” come on for students when they grasped previously challenging concepts.
“I love to see confidence growing in students as they develop throughout their learning journey,” she said.
Winners of the TEACHX Awards will be announced on October 28, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day celebrations in Queensland. Finalists win $500 and winners $5000 for professional development.