Education change-makers highlighted

Education change-makers highlighted

Ten inspirational teachers have been surprised across the country by their pupils, colleagues and community as the winners of the 2016 A Day Made Better program which recognises exceptional primary and secondary school teachers.

Now in its sixth year, the 2016 A Day Made Better (ADMB) program received over 39,000 nominations in the quest to find ten of Australia’s most inspiring teachers.

Students past and present, parents, family, friends, as well as colleagues, principals and school administrators nominated teachers for going the extra mile and positively influencing their students’ lives.

Paul Munkley, OfficeMax marketing director, told The Educator that the aim of the program was to provide recognition the teaching profession and the teachers who have “given so much out of their own lives to improve the lives of the children they teach”.

“Teaching is an important enough job already, but underneath everything they do in the classroom, there’s the massive amount of time they take out of their personal lives to be ready for those children,” he said.

“So the concept was: these teachers spend their lives making our children’s lives better every day – why don’t we put a day aside every year to make their lives better.”

Munkley added that it was important for society to acknowledge that there aren’t many professions in life that have a greater impact than teaching.

“Last year, our program reached between 4,000-5,000 schools, but the question for us right now is: ‘can we do more?’ We’ve gone from having 120 nominations six years ago to 39,000 today,” he said.

“If we can reach 50,000 nominations next year, we’ll be entering uncharted territory, but the aim here is to ensure as many great teachers as possible are recognised.”

Munkley said that many of the nominations received were from principals, adding that it was surprising how often they were highlighted by the teachers they look after.

“Principals put an awful lot of time and effort into making sure their staff are recognised, and this program makes that easier for them to do this,” he said.

“I also think it’s a great way for principals to drive publicity about the great things they’re doing in their schools. There aren’t that many programs out there helping principals toot their horns.”

He pointed out that generally, principal have to do this themselves, but said the program allows them to highlight the work of their school and drive community interest in how they’re helping their staff and students.

“Being six years in, we have many past winners who can help parents with concerns about transitioning their kids from primary to secondary school, as well as provide academic support,” he said.

“There is an opportunity we’re currently working on to get those winners and the nominees to contribute content that helps parents find information about how to make the transition from primary to secondary school, as well as provide academic support.”

Each of the ten winners received a host of prizes for their classroom worth over $5,000, including an Apple iPad and office products provided by OfficeMax’s partners.

A Day Made Better 2016 Winners:

• Fiona King, Carrington Primary School, VIC
• Amanda Flood, John Tonkin College – Education Support Centre, WA
• Lynn Murfet, Sorell School, TAS
• Wendy Goldston, Rockhampton Grammar School, QLD
• Samantha Cockshell, Kangaroo Island Community Education, SA
• Kate Harden, Berry Springs Primary School, NT
• Viv Doolan, Melba Secondary College, VIC
• Alison Inskeep, Lake Tuggeranong College, ACT
• Andrew Wookey, Hills International College, QLD
• Rose-Anne Monk, St Phillip’s Christian College, NSW