Benjamin Babao does Maths differently at St Rita’s College.
Ben’s passion for the subject has led to his being nominated by Deputy Principal, Maree Trims, for this year’s QCT Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award.
“As a beginning teacher, Ben has immersed himself into life at St Rita’s. His enthusiasm for his classes is evident in every lesson,” says Maree.
“He creates lessons which are engaging for his students, knowing and understanding the challenge that is making Mathematics enjoyable for all his students."
Maree explained that as a very high achieving student at school himself, Ben realised his passion for education while tutoring at university.
“He could have studied any course he wanted, but he believes in the art of being able to teach young people that Mathematics can be achieved by everyone.”
In his drive to ignite his students’ passion for Mathematics, Ben makes all classes accessible to students via a OneNote portal so that they can recap prior learning or catch up if they’ve missed a lesson.
Instead of teaching run-of-the-mill classes, Ben approaches his opportunity to educate students from a unique perspective.
Recently, Ben got his class to calculate the area of a circle by determining the area covered by circular dots in an Aboriginal piece of artwork. This was well received by his students who excitedly went about applying their knowledge in a practical manner.
Demonstrating the importance of displaying mathematical working, Ben recently showcased the book of one of his Year 11 students, highlighting her neat and clear work. This then became known as the “Scotford Standard” and a page of her work was displayed in the classroom. It didn’t take long for other students in the class to catch on and want their work displayed on the wall, too. This approach has engaged students and encouraged them to strive to strive for excellence and complete work at a higher standard.
Demonstrating his commitment to learning, Ben takes on board advice and feedback regarding his teaching and tries to improve his teaching practice however possible. Ben has observed many lessons of his colleagues and draws on their experience to improve his own teaching practice.
While only being in the early stages of his career, Ben believes he has found a winning formula when it comes to developing students’ passion for mathematics.
“I try to instill confidence. Maths is one of those subjects where students often have preconceived notions of their ability. The first step is helping the students realise they actually can understand and apply a concept, even if it takes a little more time. Then you watch their confidence grow. It is very rewarding.”
Teaching at an all-girls school, Ben is also passionate about his students taking their knowledge and entering in to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“While at university, it was clear that females were heavily outnumbered in engineering and mathematics courses. I would love to see those numbers change. In 2018, it is a great time for women to be exploring the incredible opportunities that are available to them in STEM careers. I am continually reminding my students that so much of what they learn in Mathematics class has applications outside the classroom and will set them up for future study as well.”
Congratulations Benjamin on your nomination.