Catriona McGuire has demonstrated significant passion and dedication teaching in primary and secondary schools for the past 28 years.
After working with refugees in Tasmania, Catriona made the commitment to retrain herself so that she could support students with very diverse needs.
Former Mackay SHS Deputy Principal Tania Cheers says Catriona undertook the role of co-ordinator and teacher of students who speak English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD students).
“She developed a program to support these students that catered for the 12 per cent (of our) student population who come from non-English speaking backgrounds, including a significant number of Philippine and Indigenous students, some with very little or no English experience,” says Tania.
Catriona also provided significant input into the creation of the Senior Course for EALD as a stand-alone English subject area, along with an integrated and inclusive program for students transitioning to middle school.
In support of her EALD students, Catriona has promoted flexibility in teaching, learning and assessment to support their diverse needs and backgrounds. She also hosted and organised Harmony Day to showcase the diversity of cultures among the school’s students and staff and to promote understanding, inclusion and acceptance.
Another former Deputy Principal, Donna Drinkwater, says Catriona was very skilled at understanding the unique backgrounds of her students and spent a significant amount of time familiarising herself with the available data on her students.
Serving on the State Panel for English for ESL Learners, Catriona first trained in the classification of EALD students under the new Band Scale Process before bringing that learning back to Mackay SHS and training her peers.
Tania notes Catriona’s passion for this area of education saw her convene a regional conference for EALD educators, where she fostered the sharing of experiences and best practices, along with resources, across the region.
Catriona has supervised preservice teachers, students on practicum, as well as coached, mentored and supported new teachers within Mackay State High School.
“Catriona would also model best practice for these staff and provide them with constructive feedback to improve their craft,” Tania says.
“(She) would assist beginning teachers in the creation of their folio of evidence for submission to allow them to transition from provisional to full teacher registration.”
Donna says Catriona was engaged in many facets of the school.
“She participated in many extracurricular activities, including school camps, engaging with students in an informal arrangement,” Donna says, “… she also established an after-school tutoring arrangement to support students, engaging other staff and senior students to coach younger students.”
Having taught Years 2 to 12 across three states during her teaching career, Catriona has led classes in Music, Art, Religion, English, Drama, History and Geography as well as English as a Second Language or Dialect.
Congratulations Catriona on your nomination.