Cecil Andrews Senior High School has proven its teaching stock is a cut above the rest after a teacher was named as a finalist for Secondary Teacher of the Year in the WA Education Awards.
Sports and science teacher and Byford resident Austin Ward was nominated for being able to break through education barriers with some of the most disengaged students by using unique project based learning.
He said students learnt more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics when it was engaging and fun.
“I’ve put a lot of STEM programming into our AFL classes in order to get the kids to think about those aspects of education and obviously integrating it into my science class as well,” he said.
“Basically it’s looking at project based tasks so getting students to complete projects based around those areas.
“With my year seven class we’re engineering bridges out of pop sticks.
“We get them to think about mathematics of creating triangles so Pythagoras theorem and that type of stuff.
“It’s about giving them a context or project and then embedding STEM areas into that.
“That way they think they’re building bridges but they’re actually learning about mathematical concepts and engineering and science procedures as well.”
Mr Ward said he loved coming to work.
“I enjoy coming to work and having a laugh with the kids and trying to get them on side and build a really good rapport with them,” he said.
“I don’t have sick days because I feel bad…I like to be there for them and make sure they’re getting the best education I can give them.”
Mr Ward said he wasn’t expecting the nomination but was grateful for the accolade.
It’s not the first time a Cecil Andrews teacher has been nominated for this award with Mr Ward’s colleague Jeremy Bruse taking out the award in 2014.
Education Minister Peter Collier said the awards were a fantastic way for the community to celebrate top public educators and the difference they made to the lives of students.
“Each year we honour the outstanding contribution of the best public schools, principals, teachers and support staff, and each year their stories are inspirational,” he said.
The awards will be announced in November.