Victoria Barrett has been teaching for two years and fellow staff at Warrigal Road State school are full of praise for her proactive approach to teaching. “Vicky makes a point first of all, to get to know her students on a personal level. She wants to know about their interests, what they enjoy and what they struggle with so she can support them emotionally,” colleague and former teaching partner Evelyn Lau says. Victoria in addition to her other research, likes to watch YouTube videos of teachers putting ideas into practice particularly around behaviour management.
“She wants to ensure good behaviour using positives, so that her students can become the best examples of themselves,” Evelyn says. Victoria uses pre-assessment, keeps anecdotal notes, does regular check-ins and differentiates learning to maximise the potential of each of her students. She employs the gradual release model in mathematics and writing. It starts with ‘I Do’ time, where thinking and reasoning is modelled, and strategies are watched by the students. Then the students are split into pairs to work on the concept and then into groups. Finally, they work alone in a ‘You Do’ activity, to show they have taken on board the knowledge and can apply it independently. At the end of the term all of her students were sitting at a C level or above for Mathematics. Starting as an idea between her and her teaching partner, Vicky developed a Guide To Making Judgements (GTMJ) marking guide that kids could use to check their writing. This allowed the students to set writing goals and identify what they needed to do to improve their writing. The ‘kid friendly’ guide is now used across the school at all year levels. Responding to the needs of her school community that has over 30 deaf children she completed a weekly two-hour ten-week AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) foundation course. She completed this before there were any students in her class with hearing disabilities because she still saw it as relevant and having completed the course, she volunteered to take the hearing-impaired class in 2019. This is just one example of professional development she has completed. Victoria fosters positive relationships with parents and fellow staff; constantly in communication, sharing information and seek feedback to improve her teaching. This includes a close working relationship with the AUSLAN interpreter in her current class. Victoria keeps her in the loop about upcoming lesson content and specific vocabulary it may contain. Congratulations Victoria on your nomination.