Breaking down the physical structure of living organisms for her Biology students and building up the gymnastic form of her cheerleaders is all in a day’s work for Marsden State High School’s state teaching award finalist, Kirra Gold. “When I tell people that ‘I teach dance, but I also teach biology’, they often say ‘What? Why?”,” jokes Kirra Gold, but for her it is about building life skills and helping students discover their interests no matter what the subject.
The educator has always had an interest in both science and dance, having worked for several years at a dance company and being one of the top students at her high school in Biology. “While I was teaching dance, I realised it was the teaching that I really loved to do,” she says. In just four years she has made a significant impact at her school and that’s one of the reasons she has been named a finalist in the Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Awards Excellence in the Beginning to Teach category.
Ms Gold is already a school leader at Marsden State High School (MSHS), as subject coordinator for Science, Dance and Biology she has supported fellow staff with unit outlines, assessment and building confidence. She is also a Literacy Leader for the Science faculty and participated in the Aspiring Leaders program in 2018.
“Her personality and teaching style enables Kirra to encourage students’ expression and exploration of their values and attitudes while using culturally sensitive resources, language and strategies to facilitate class discussions around controversial issues,” Head of Department, Science Megan Lynch says.
Academic results have been strong for her students including 90 per cent of her Year 12 Biology class obtaining A-C marks overall and all of her students scoring A-C in her Junior Dance and Science subjects. Assessment aside, Kirra sees the most important thing as the growth and confidence of students.
A big believer in extra-curricular activities the MSHS teacher notes it is an additional drawcard for the students and creates a safe space for them to learn. “A lot of our students are coming to school keeping their attendance up because of their love for extracurricular activities like dance, cheerleading and sports,” she says.
“In order to be fully prepared for the future generations to come, these students need that support, they need that nourishment to be able to discover who they are. Being able to assist students in discovering their true potential is valuable beyond anything else. More than just content knowledge, it’s the other life skills that teachers help students to uncover that are really vital.”
Kirra maintains all cheerleading accreditation and has been coaching the school’s Wildsharks Cheer Leading Team and various dance teams to success in local and state competitions.
Kirra is truly humbled to have been named a finalist in her category and is proud to teach saying, “It is something that does change lives and I know it sounds cliché but it is, it is one of those professions that allows people to have that real impact on our future generations.”
As a finalist, Kirra received $500 for professional development.