Students who have experienced trauma and poverty often bring a range of complexities to the classroom but Leyshani Naidu, who is a beginning teacher at Riverview State School, is more than prepared to support them. Leyshani has only been teaching for one year in Australia; however, she has already demonstrated practice seen in much more experienced teachers. Through her adoption of a trauma-informed practice, Leyshani is able to use a wide variety of strategies and techniques to build relationships with her students and support their learning. In building these positive relationships, Leyshani provides an environment rich in learning opportunities.
She successfully combines active learning and early years curriculum with explicit instruction and scaffolded lessons. She plans and records detailed differentiation documents to ensure her students’ learning requirements are met, and her practice has been recognised in this regard as other more senior and experienced teachers use her resources. As a beginning teacher, Leyshani was one of two class teachers involved in trialling the Zones of Regulation within the classroom. Her commitment to student wellbeing and the communication of emotions has led to the Zones being implemented throughout the whole school. Leyshani’s impact is evident in her students’ progress. For example, one student experienced significant improvement in behaviour and is for the first time engaged in the curriculum. This improvement is largely connected to Leyshani’s hard work and ability to build constructive relationships with students. In a visit to Leyshani’s classroom, one would see her using an explicit instruction approach, and combining music and movement to engage her students. It is likely students would also be visiting Leyshani individually, to discuss their own progress. From there, students would move back to their flexible seating arrangements, which supports scaffolded learning in a highly complex class. As a beginning teacher, it is clear Leyshani has thrived in a challenging school environment. Schools are measured in academic growth, but the value that Leyshani has added to the emotional well-being of students is immeasurable. Her approach to engaging teaching opportunities and her strong commitment to the welfare of her students has been a strong inspiration to Riverview State School. Congratulations on your nomination, Leyshani!