OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO TEACHING
When Canterbury College held its first-ever Alumni Foundation meeting recently, former students were asked who their favourite staff members were. One name “was peerless” – Laurie Maetam.
The College’s Science and Engineering Head of Faculty has been described as an outstanding and influential leader, an exceptional mentor, and the “quintessential” classroom teacher who continuously strives to help students achieve individual excellence.
He has also played a key role in the school’s students achieving some of the most successful Overall Position (OP) outcomes in the Logan area.
Laurie’s legacy can clearly be seen in the number of students choosing senior science subjects at Canterbury College, his leadership on numerous sports fields and in his work with state-wide education organisations, including as a panel member for the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
Canterbury College Deputy Principal Paul Diete says education should centre on one word for teachers – relationships.
“That word ‘relationships’ underpins how he walks into every class, school yard or sporting field. Laurie is able to recite the names of past students and tell you what subjects they took, what sport they played and what they did post graduating; for a school of 1450 students that is no mean feat and only occurs with an investment of time and attitude,” Paul says.
“He understands that relationships with the community are paramount to achieving the best in class and has used his passion for cricket and AFL in particular, to be ‘seen’ by students and parents outside of his teaching role; Laurie has coached the First XI cricket team for over 20 years,” the Deputy Principal says.
Paul says Laurie’s most demonstrable achievements may be seen in the enormous number of students he has inspired to undertake science studies beyond school at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
“Canterbury has exceptionally high enrolment in the Senior Sciences with over 80 per cent of each cohort undertaking at least one of Physics, Chemistry or Biology. This is largely due to the seamless science curriculum in Years 7 to 10, as well as specialist electives for Extension Science in not only Year 9, but also with the SPARK program in Years 5/6,” Paul says.
Laurie has also been pivotal in the introduction of new subjects at the College including Engineering, which 25 per cent of all Year 9 students are learning, and Psychology.
He has been a member of the Science Teachers’ Association of Queensland since 1993 and a member of the Chemistry panels for the state’s assessment authority for 27 years.
“He has presented at numerous conferences and was part of the team that re-wrote the Queensland Senior Chemistry syllabus in 1995,” Paul says.
“Laurie has managed the OP Analyser and SAI (Subject Achievement Indicator) score process at Canterbury College for numerous years, leading it to be the most successful school in the City of Logan in terms of OP results, compared to percentage of students doing? academic courses.”
His ability to adapt was evidenced recently when he was the first teacher at Canterbury College to complete all the new Queensland Certificate of Education modules.
“He engages with new information as it arrives and ensures he lends his voice of clarity to administrative conversations as we all seek to understand,” Paul says.
“Laurie is a constant presence at his staff’s side and mentors them in content knowledge, their pedagogy and how to guide students to achieving their potential.”
Canterbury College Principal Dan Walker says Laurie is “held in the highest regard” by generations of students and staff.
“He is the longest-serving member of staff at this school and is seen as exceptional in all areas of practice,” Dan says.
“He has also contributed outside the classroom in co-curricular and other administration and leadership roles over his time here,” the Principal says.
“As a Chemistry and Science teacher, he is unparalleled in terms of experience, passion and commitment to individual student excellence.
“He is a quintessential example of a ‘career-teacher’ and I cannot speak highly enough of his contribution to this community over nearly 30 years.”
Congratulations Laurie on being shortlisted for a TEACHX Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.