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Monique Donnelly

Year 9 and 10 boys who openly said they hated writing are reengaging in the task under an exceptional early career teacher who is making an enormous difference in her students’ lives. At parent-teacher meetings at Mt Maria College, Petrie (MMCP), which has a highly respected reputation for catering for students with learning difficulties, parents have brought Monique flowers to say thank you for the change they have seen in their children’s lives as a result of her teaching skills. Eighteen months ago, before being taught by Monique, only 6 per cent of the students in one of her current classes were classified as meeting their benchmark goal for writing. Now almost half—46 per cent—are.

MMCP Leader of Learning Dr Selena Fisk says Monique teaches some of the most disengaged students and has managed to reengage them through her use of resources—including information technology; her knowledge of student interests; her use of praise, encouragement, extensive support and feedback; and the high expectations she sets for her pupils. “There are so many students in our school who are now passing English because of the work that Monique has done for them,” Dr Fisk says. “Other than connecting with students interests and knowing the curriculum, she cares about every single student in the school,” she says. “Students feel valued by her, and know that she cares about their performance, so they go above and beyond for her.” In class, Monique uses Bitmojis to communicate message and her OneNote and resourcing “is second to none”, Dr Fisk says. She also manages basketball teams across two competitions – BOSBL (Brisbane Outer Schools Basketball League) and SECA. The school’s Year 9/10 SECA team just won their division series undefeated. “Monique’s biggest academic contribution is she has de-stigmatised writing with some of the most disengaged students in our school,” Dr Fisk adds. “She has Year 9 and 10 boys who used to openly say that they hated writing, but they are now writing for her in ways that we don’t see them do in any other subject area.” Congratulations Monique on your nomination.

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