Tagai State College, Erub Erwer Uteb Darnley Island Campus
In one of the most remote Indigenous communities in Queensland, students and their families are now eagerly sharing in a love of reading created by their teacher, Nicola Jardine.
As an early years teacher at Tagai State College Erub Campus, Nicola saw an opportunity to ignite a love for reading in her students and their families when there was limited access to good quality reading materials by introducing them to Scholastic Book Club.
Nicola loves sharing books by her favourite children's authors with her class, which has enthusiastically propelled her students toward learning to read.
"My kids are a bunch of bookworms! When they finish an activity now, they are desperate to go and find the books and authors that I've introduced them to and they get so excited when they find familiar books in the Book Club catalogues, knowing they could own the book themselves," Nicola says.
Nicola is in the running to be awarded the 2017 QCT Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award.
In only her second year of teaching, Nicola has built resilience among her students by initiating a lunchtime STEM club where students are encouraged to think critically and solve problems as they experiment with coding and robotics as well as different team challenges.
Head of Campus Andrew Shaw says this type of activity is critical for students who have English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD), who usually engage in more tactile learning.
“Students at the school chose to miss their own playtime to be a lunchtime learner – no mean feat at any school,” said Andrew.
“In the last term we have seen a big change in students’ attitudes towards learning as they are more willing to make mistakes and try new things.”
Nicola says she finds working in such a remote location extremely rewarding.
“I find teaching here, to be more than just curriculum. It’s a two-way street. They teach me just as much as I teach them.”
“My class, because I’ve had them for two years now, have become like my little family,” says Nicola.
Nicola has taken on a mentoring role for her Teacher Aide, helping her both in the classroom and in completing her tertiary studies.
“We co-plan together, making decisions about curriculum and planning, and if she has any concerns I’m right next door. I’m always encouraging her to try new things and be confident in her own teaching,” says Nicola.
Nicola also devotes her time outside school hours to volunteering to help organise school sleepovers, camps, discos and movie nights as she is enthusiastic about building relationships within the greater school community.
Congratulations Nicola on your nomination.