EXCELLENCE IN BEGINNING TO TEACH
Over four short years and across a variety of unique contexts, Melissa Blacklock has developed and demonstrated excellent teaching practice and leadership capabilities. Her story highlights the diversity of experiences available to beginning teachers and exemplifies the opportunities presented through a career in teaching, should one have the drive and passion to seek them.
Melissa joined the profession in 2016 in the Diverse Learning Department of Centenary State High School, where she was responsible for case-managing students from Year 7 to Year 12. In this role, she was charged with responsibilities such as developing individual curriculum plans, corresponding and collaborating with families, and supporting colleagues to adapt assessment and learning resources for students with diverse learning needs.
Seeking to learn more and find adventure, Melissa commenced a PhD program in 2017 and concurrently stepped into a full-time role at the specialist education company, Street Science. Here she utilised her science education to develop bespoke learning resources and to facilitate science incursions for students along the east coast of Australia. In this role, Melissa gained critical insights into curriculum and resource development, which would be integral to her subsequent role at Corinda State High School.
At Corinda, Melissa currently role-models and supports her colleagues to implement innovative teaching practices that help to create safe and supportive learning environments for students.
She has been empowered by her school to develop Corinda’s ‘Uber Classroom’ technique, an innovative teaching style which has provided her students with exposure to numerous teaching styles while catering to their range of learning needs.
Melissa’s experience and expertise in this teaching style has allowed her to create and run professional development sessions for colleagues, educating her peers on tools which are successful in this unique environment, and supporting their implementation.
Emboldened by her successes and the support of her school, Melissa took on a further leadership role as the Subject Coordinator for Year 7 English. In this role, she manages unit planning, delegates tasks to colleagues, and ensures well-rounded, curriculum-aligned units are designed and delivered to students. In addition to the usual responsibilities of this role, in her first year Melissa assisted her department to develop resources that would see students supported and engaged through the COVID-19 pandemic – a challenge for any leader.
In addition to her exemplary leadership inside the classroom, Melissa is an active and engaged leader in her broader teaching community. In 2016, she became the youngest Management Committee Member of the English Teachers’ Association of Queensland (ETAQ) – a volunteer organisation which supports English teachers across the state. As part of her role, she took charge of the ETAQ Beginning Teachers’ Day and rebranded it to be an Early Career Teacher Conference – a strategic move which revitalised the event and regenerated interest.
Further, in 2020 Melissa became a part of the Queensland Government’s Global Competence Pilot Program. This program invited a small number of schools from around Queensland to discuss and develop a Global Competence Framework. Once implemented, this framework will lead change throughout Queensland by equipping schools and school communities with innovative tools and processes.
Melissa’s teaching experience has been short, but it has been diverse and highly successful. Melissa wants to have a positive impact on her students, school and community, and it is this approach to practice which has generated her many successes.
As explained by one of Melissa’s past colleagues, Timothy Liddell, “the impacts she has had on fellow teachers, parents and students are ones which will, in some small ways, resonate with them throughout their lives, and this is Melissa’s goal – to have a positive impact on those around her.”
Congratulations Melissa on being shortlisted for a TEACHX Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award.