This World Teachers’ Day on 29 October we celebrate and thank our teachers for the difference they make in students’ lives. Courtney Hawkins, who studied a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at JCU and is now a Year Six teacher at Pimpama State School, shares with us her journey to teaching and supporting students in the classroom.
Straight out of studying a Bachelor of Education (Primary) in 2021, Courtney landed a job teaching a Year Six class at Pimpama State School. “It has been the best kind of challenge,” Courtney says. “I couldn’t wait to become a teacher full-time. I just felt like I could make a real difference in kids’ lives.”
Beginning to teach a class partway through the year was a daunting task, but one that Courtney says she was ready to take on. “The previous teacher was so wonderful and so I was a little nervous taking over from her,” Courtney says.
“But I’ve got so many emails from parents saying how much the kids love being in my classroom and how the transition has been really smooth. They couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t be happier! So, that has been my favourite part and it’s really nice to get that validation and to know the kids are thriving,” she says.
Courtney says it’s the little wins in the classroom each day that make all the difference. “I’m really passionate about social and emotional wellbeing. It’s really important to me to make sure that the kids who need more support are receiving that support. That they’re not just put in the too-hard basket or are left to the side,” she says.
“I had a really exciting win at the end of last term with a student who is on an Individual Curriculum Plan and who usually reads below their age group. I gave them a Year Six English comprehension test — so within their age group — and I worked with him to verbally answered the comprehension questions,” Courtney says. “He was getting above average marks in the assessment and was remembering such specific details from the text. It’s those little wins that are really great and seeing this student trying so hard and then achieving their goals was wonderful.”
Building these kinds of connections into the classroom to support students is most important to Courtney. “Relationships are the most important thing to me as a teacher. If you can’t connect with the kids, they don’t want to listen to you,” she says. “Education is all about giving options to students for their future.”