Teacher Mikayla Giuffrida wants to empower her students at Southern Cross Catholic College with teaching strategies that revolve around the gradual release of responsibility and the embedding of skills. Students are made aware of the purpose of what they are learning and given clear sets goals allowing for collaboration, self-reflection and independent practice. “Mikayla also treats her students like young adults to ensure that they have ownership of their learning and communicates a sense of urgency and direction with students. Mikayla fosters engagement by addressing the feelings, interests, importance of work and capabilities of each of her diverse students,” Acting College Principal Martin Cordery says.
“Students feel supported and safe in her classroom as she is a part of the community in which they live and learn. Mikayla's students demonstrate significant improvement both in their level of achievement and their reported satisfaction with the subject.” Mikayla acknowledges her students’ diverse linguistic backgrounds, adjusts the layout of her classroom and differentiates her pedagogy to best serve her students. With a detailed knowledge of the structure, content and enquiry processes of her Humanities and English subject she collaborates with curriculum leaders in writing assessment and editing unit outlines. Mikayla participates in various extra-curricular activities throughout the school from homework club, to debating and sports. She consistently uses low-level behaviour management strategies and there are very few behaviour issues in her classes. Attending professional development including QCAA accreditation courses, she has worked hard to upskill to teach Senior English and been involved in conversations about delivery of new syllabi. This year she mentored a pre-service teacher, modelling her practice and encouraging their development. A great communicator, Mikayla is noted by colleagues and parents for her collaborative spirit and communication skills. “Mikayla has been recognised by the parents of many of our disengaged boys as a great influence in helping them to remain engaged at school. We regularly receive unsolicited high praise of her teaching from parents who see their child’s interest in school, particularly in English, being re-enlivened,” says Martin. Congratulations Mikayla on your nomination.