Hervey Bay Special School
Jan Joyce has excelled in creating a safe, warm, and welcoming learning environment in her special education career spanning 27 years.
The Hervey Bay Special School teacher has gone above and beyond to engage all of her students regardless of their level of ability, creating tactile resources for her vision impaired students, using alternative augmentative communication devices, and catering for mobility-impaired students to ensure that they can still engage with their peers.
She has also embraced a holistic approach to the education of her special needs students, forging strong relationships with their parents, doctors, paediatricians, and specialists to ensure they are receiving the care and support they need inside the classroom.
“The most important aspect of teaching and learning is knowing my students. I have great respect for each student I teach,” Jan said.
“I have learnt over my years of teaching that students will give back as much or as little as expected of them. My classroom has rules to follow and jobs to be done, and each student is aware that they are important, that they can depend on me, and that they can also depend on their classmates,” she said.
While Jan needs to be flexible in her teaching approach to meet the diverse needs of her class, she is constantly there to celebrate her students’ successes and support them during difficult times.
She encourages her class to work as a team, promoting shared decision making and providing every student with the opportunity to take on leadership roles like Weekly Class Captain.
Jan has also been an invaluable resource for other classroom teachers who have struggled with the challenges of teaching special needs students, using her tremendous wealth of experience to overcome the barrier of ‘disability.’
Congratulations Jan on your nomination.
By Claudia Farhart.