REVEALED: Two Coast teachers among state’s best
Two dedicated educators inspiring the region's brightest students have been named as finalists in the state's prestigious teaching awards.
Maroochydore State High School's Alexandra Calligaris and Nambour Special School's Chantelle Amson are finalists in the Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Awards.
The teachers were chosen from a record number of almost 400 nominations.
Mrs Amson was nominated in the Outstanding Contribution to School Community category.
The special education teacher decided that if the NSS students weren't going to the mountain, then the mountain was going to come to them.
She created a market day where the students held their own version of a fete, and an end of year event that included wading pools, water activities, inflatables and a large water slide.
"They're taught social, emotional, learning skills and our positive behaviour for learning rules
all year and it gives them an opportunity to put that into practice," she said.
"They do need to take turns; they need to share and play together and have fun like every other child in all schools gets to do.
"It's exhausting but it is hands down the best thing that we do as staff."
Mrs Calligaris was nominated in the Excellence in Beginning to Teach category.
The humanities teacher has taken an innovative approach, by engaging students through a podcast or geospatial technology dealing with a zombie apocalypse.
Her engaging assessments have been attributed to 94 per cent of students passing the subject, with 50 per cent of the Year 9 humanities cohort achieving A and B grades.
"They're growing up listening to podcasts instead of reading books, so let's take that and make one," Ms Calligaris said.
When teaching geospatial mapping in geography, she framed it around using geospatial tech to survive a zombie apocalypse.
"I don't think I've ever had a boy who hasn't been engaged in that activity, who hasn't wanted to learn or who hasn't realised the importance of mapping," she said.
Mrs Calligaris was in Year 10 herself when she started to irregularly attend school.
One of her teachers saw her at school one day and told her "you can do better".
Another teacher held her back after class and said, "if you need someone to talk to, I am here".
Looking back on her time at school, Mrs Calligaris believes those teachers kept her motivated.
"You've got to be perceptive. You can say just one little thing and they can go, 'oh yeah, somebody cares, and somebody is here, and somebody knows my potential'," she said.
The winners of the TEACHX Awards will be announced on October 29, on the eve of World Teachers' Day in Australia.