Over the Christmas holidays last year, Redbank Plains State High School teacher Stephanie Holmes renewed a communal classroom. She washed down all the walls and painted them. She removed damaged furniture, redecorated and hung up new handmade curtains. Whatever the room had been, it was different now, she had shown it care and respect and provided an example for her students. The theme of renewal is evident in the life and practice of the teacher who graduated in 2015 to teach Business and has since been a subject coordinator for a number of subjects throughout Junior and Senior, with a heavy focus on Hospitality. Stephanie seeks to create meaningful life experiences for her students.
Stephanie seeks to create meaningful life experiences for her students. She gained sponsorship to build, expand and maintain a school vegetable garden that utilises kitchen waste. She teaches a Junior design unit that makes and distributes re-usable Boomerang Bags and organised and supervises a school sewing club that re-uses textiles for fashion and haberdashery goods. She also works with the school’s Indigenous catering company, Platters on Willow, which provides industry experience for students undertaking VETs. Stephanie invests in her students and views each on their own potential and talents. Her classroom is welcoming and safe and she sets clear expectations and achievable goals. Students feel supported to share ideas, experiment and learn through collaboration. She updates her teaching strategies constantly in reflection of student needs. “She has high expectations of her students. She believes it is imperative to teach students to take accountability for their actions and their learning outcomes for them to be successful after school,” school Hospitality and Platters on Willow Coordinator Kara Pulou says. Stephanie is undertaking her Masters thesis and has done many hours of professional development covering behaviour management, strategies for engaging students who identify as Indigenous and English as a Second Language/Dialect (ESL/D). She has also learnt about digital pedagogies such as ReadCloud and eLearn, recently completed an Advanced Leadership Program through the National Excellence in School Leadership Institute, attended workshops with the Institute of Culinary Excellence, and completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and a Certificate II in Hospitality. She contributed to writing innovative design and technology courses and collaborated on study plans and tasks for Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance. She shows great care when communicating with students who face physical and mental barriers. She is professional with colleagues and parents and is eager to improve herself and the learning of her students. Congratulations Stephanie on your nomination.