For 50 years, ‘Mr O’ has been the champion of students outside the mainstream – those with learning difficulties and disabilities and those who simply don’t want to be in the classroom.
Known for still being at his desk late every evening, this 72-year-old former Rotary International Teacher of the Year is revered for his unwavering commitment to helping students achieve stunning academic turnarounds and personal success.
The extraordinary difference Colin Orevich has made in the lives of thousands of students and colleagues is being honoured this year at state teaching awards.
Mr O, who will retire as a senior Learning Support Teacher at the Australian Industry Trade College this year, after being the Coordinator of a comprehensive Support and Enrichment Program at Coombabah State High School for nearly 20 years, is a finalist in the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.
The QCT Excellence in Teaching Awards are the only State Government awards which recognise teachers from all schooling sectors state-wide. Winners will be announced on October 25, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day celebrations in Australia.
Mr O said he found early on in his career that he had an affinity for working with students who faced various learning challenges.
Graduating with a postgraduate diploma in special education and a master’s degree in teaching disengaged and at-risk students, he has excelled in providing programs for students with disabilities, learning difficulties and behavioural issues, as well as covering English as a second language and vocational education for disengaged senior students, overseeing Indigenous and cultural initiatives and providing aspirational programs for the gifted and talented. He is known for helping students, some of whom have had years of Ds and Es, to achieve As and Bs.
“I enjoy the challenge of helping them achieve things they never thought possible and instilling a belief in themselves – that they can be great in their own right. If you want to be a tradie, see your name on the side of the truck, if you are a hairdresser, own the business!”, Mr O said.
“I have a philosophy too that I want to be a better teacher this year than last year, and I want to be a better teacher next year than I am this year, so I am always seeking to better myself in terms of what I teach and how I teach it and the resources that I use. After 50 years it’s been some journey from methylated spirit duplicators to photocopiers, manual typewriters to computers and blackboards to electronic whiteboards."
“At the end of 2018 I will have completed 50 years of teaching in a career that has given me a life of purpose, meaning and fulfilment. I still get up each morning and look forward to another day at school. It has given me great joy to know I have been instrumental in helping perhaps thousands of young people over the years turn their lives and attitudes around, achieve things they never thought possible, and have instilled in them a desire to learn and a hope for the future.”
Congratulations Mr O on being named a finalist for the Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.