2011 Sessional Awards - Peta Salter

JCU Sessional Teachers participate in a range of teaching roles and thus are oftentimes at the very forefront of student engagement, hence their ability to influence student learning in powerful ways. Sessionals contribute meaningfully to the learning and teaching community and their genuine interest in facilitating student learning, promotes high quality learning experiences as is evident in SFS.

The casual teaching experience encompasses but is not limited to preparing for and presenting tutorials and/or workshops; lectures; mentoring and group facilitation; designing teaching materials; external/online teaching and marking. In 2011, JCU peers and colleagues nominated Peta Salter for the FAESS Sessional Award, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to student learning. Peta has been teaching with the School of Education since 2007.

I have been teaching since 2007 across the Bachelor of Education degree program and Graduate Diploma. It is rewarding to have my contribution to the School of Education recognised and valued. Receiving this award has boosted my confidence in my teaching, reaffirmed my commitment to pre-service teaching and encouraged me to further explore ways to support effective student learning. There is a great quote by Ginott that really sums up what I try to do – ‘I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my daily mood that makes the weather...’ I keep this thought in the back of my mind when I am setting the tone for a class. I value what I am teaching and try to make connections with students and their lives so that they see the value in it too. I always have some ice-breakers at the start and sometimes throughout the semester so that I can get to know my class and I share something with them so they can get to know me too. I have found that when I take an interest in students both in and out of the classroom they generally respond with interest in what I have to offer. I try to emphasise the value in all aspects of what we may be looking at and make real world connections through a variety of different teaching strategies to link students’ learning as relevant to their own future work life. I encourage students to make their own connections through encouraging their contributions to discussions and gently questioning them to prompt deeper thinking.