Agnes Water teacher honoured for her impact in community
TO BE thanked or recognised is a wonderful thing says teaching award nominee Katrina Lucas.
The Agnes Water Year 2-3 teacher was humble when she was nominated for this year's Queensland College of Teachers' Excellence in Teaching awards.
Principal Trevor Buchanan said Ms Lucas was nominated by two parents in her class for her work in early intervention in literacy and numeracy and leading environmental studies at the school.
"Kate has an unbelievable ability to work with students, and get the best out of every student," Mr Buchanan said.
He also said her nature education had transformed how students appreciate the environment around them.
"She actively engages in community groups... and looks at ways that we can get students from a very young age involved in those community-based issues," Mr Buchanan said.
Ms Lucas started her teaching career in the Northern Territory, working with indigenous communities near the Kakadu National Park.
She was tasked to increase the English proficiency of the children to a level where they can participate, and to motivate students to be engaged in the classroom.
"We increased the attendance of students from 40 per cent up to 70 per cent," Ms Lucas said.
She attributes her access by being inclusive of her students' needs, embedding indigenous culture in to the everyday curriculum.
"I do have a big strong thing with working outside, and using real life world experiences for my students," Ms Lucas said.
Her family moved from the Northern Territory to Agnes Water, after being amazed by its natural beauty.
"We've been in the Territory for 20 years," Ms Lucas said.
"We love the bush...we enjoy the fact that there's no crocodiles here and there is a different climate."
However, she had to start from the ground-up as her experience teaching in the Territory was not recognised due to different education systems.
"I had to start again," Ms Lucas said.
"I was basically just a relief teacher (at first)...then I was working on contracts, until I finally became a permanent staff member."
Ms Lucas attributes her passion for teaching from the teachers she encountered when going through school, with one well known Australian author as a major teaching inspiration.
"John Marsden changed my attitude to learning," Ms Lucas said.
He is most well known for the popular book series Tomorrow When The War Began.
Mr Marsden was Ms Lucas' English teacher, and showed care and interest to his students.
"He really changed how I felt about learning, just in the way he treated us as students and his respect of us," Ms Lucas said.
"I think that was a powerful example of how a good teacher would be...and I wanted to make that difference in kids' lives"
Unfortunately for Ms Lucas, she didn't make it as a finalist for the QCT Excellence in Teaching award but she is still thankful for the recognition.
But Ms Lucas believes all her colleagues should be recognised for their dedication to the job.
"All of them do an awesome job and work really hard," she said.
"I don't think I deserve it more than anyone else in our group of teachers."
The QCT Excellence in Teaching awards is the pen-ultimate event of State Education Week, which wraps up with World Teachers' Day on Friday.