A Mackay teacher who has helped improve student behaviour and has led professional learning at her school is a finalist in state teaching awards.
Mackay State High School (MSHS) teacher Lynne Hardy has been announced as a finalist in the Queensland College of Teachers Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning TEACHX Award.
Mrs Hardy said she had always wanted to be a teacher. As a young woman travelling abroad, she even became qualified to teach in California. As a Mum back home in Victoria she volunteered as a teacher aide for several years and picked up a lot about how students learn.
“Being an observer in the classroom helped me recognise that every child is coming from a different starting point. We can’t just deliver material to 25 kids and expect them to ‘get it’. You actually have to know where the students are before beginning a topic. By asking, observing and assessing a new topic we can determine where students’ learning needs are, before launching into teaching. Students also need to know why they’re learning a topic and how it’s going to benefit them in their future learning and life,” she said.
“As well as supporting students with additional learning needs, we must also take the time to engage our more capable students, keeping them stimulated and motivated. Lack of engagement is what can lead to behavioural problems,” she said.
Mrs Hardy went on to earn a graduate diploma and became a Mathematics teacher. One piece of advice has stood the test of time over her long career. “You can’t teach them if you don’t reach them. That’s one thing that I really stress to the young teachers that I’m working with. It’s not enough to just ‘know what sports and interests they have’, but for me I think it’s so important that you find out what their learning fear is and what they don’t know,” Mrs Hardy said. “Positive relationships are the key to teaching and learning.”
The veteran teacher, known for her open-door practice, is also leader of MSHS’s professional learning team community which focuses on improving teaching practice in small groups.
Behavioural incidents have declined at the school following her initiative, as Year Level Coordinator, to bring consistency in behaviour management across all classrooms. She knows each of her students, and their families, well. Constant communication with home is vital, she said.
Mrs Hardy thinks of her job as a privilege and an honour. It is an invaluable opportunity to be asked to help create and educate the leaders and citizens of tomorrow.
“The parents of Queensland leave their children in my care every morning at 9 o’clock till 3pm—what an honour! And we all know teachers make the biggest impact on a child’s life apart from mum and dad,” she said.
Mrs Hardy takes pride in hearing about former students who have achieved over the years. “It is a thrill to have past students, and parents, approach me in the community and share their life’s success and journey, appreciative of the education they were given at school!”
As a finalist, Mrs Hardy received $500 for professional development.