Mat Cheriton is using his extensive experience working for international and Australian government organisations, including representing international government agencies at the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland, to provide real-world applications in Science lessons. His passion for his subjects and the teaching profession are also inspiring his colleagues and students at Dakabin State High School (DSHS). DSHS teacher Angela Greenslade says Mat is the most enthusiastic teacher she has ever met and his knowledge of Geology and Earth Science makes him a valuable asset for students and staff. “Whilst Mat has developed a very strong understanding of the different ways in which his students learn, it is his passion and extraordinary enthusiasm that has set the platform for his students’ success in learning via a variety of channels he has established in his classroom,” Angela says. “It is not uncommon to see three to four groups of students learning via hands-on experimentation, note-taking, model building and group discussions often throughout the same lesson,” she says. The former rugby union referee regularly makes himself available to help students at the school’s Homework club after school on Tuesday. He has also led the school’s Science faculty presentation during visits to local primary schools and the Years 7 and 9 weekly parades. Mat’s use of science experiments and engaging presentations is particularly admired by fellow staff. When presenting to local primary schools, he showed children how they were able to build lava lamps easily at home with readily available materials. With his Year 9 class he built excitement around making electrical energy from fruit and vegetables, including lemons, limes and potatoes. When he took on an English support lesson, he challenged the students to respond to the question: should students be paid to go to school? Mat also utilises technology, including holograms, to engage his students. He hopes to extend his pedagogy and teaching practice further at the 2020 STEM-X residential teacher professional program for which he has recently been nominated to attend. His desire to make a difference through his new career as a teacher has been “infectious”. In just six months, he has made an enormous positive impression not just on students, but also on fellow staff members, including Senior Teacher Dani Taylor. “His contribution across not only our faculty, but our school, has been immense,” Dani says. Congratulations Mat on your nomination.