Video messages exchanged between Gold Coast Year 1 students and children in Mauritius in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games this year were so impressive they were shared with Her Majesty the Queen.
The extraordinary relationship built up between Coomera Rivers State School (CRSS) Year 1 students and their Mauritius peers is just one of the reasons why CRSS teacher Jack Burrows is a finalist in this year’s Queensland College of Teachers Excellence in Beginning to Teach 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.
The Physical Education (PE) teacher has been praised for his incredible dedication to students, including knowing hundreds of Prep to Year 6 students by name. He uses digital technology like Showbie to further engage students in the school’s Health unit, but outside of this unit he has a passion for seeing students having fun without digital devices.
Mr Burrows said while he had wanted to be a teacher from the time he was in primary school, he instead studied multimedia and digital media, and then worked in the building trade before returning to his initial career dream.
“I just love everything about teaching, from the learning to the engagement with students, to the sporting activities, the park runs, the extra-curricular things, but – most of all – the camaraderie you see building between students when they’re working together, off their screens,” Mr Burrows said.
He is known for encouraging CRSS students to be team players, to be involved, committed and have the courage to try new things. Mr Burrows has also worked closely with two colleagues to create PE programs which focus on social and emotional learning, drawing on neuroscience, positive psychology and mindfulness training.
This year the PE teacher played a key role in organising the relationship between the Mauritius school and CRSS students, who exchanged cultural information via videos. The project resulted in Mauritian students visiting CRSS, and the President of the Commonwealth Games Board sharing the students’ videos with the Queen.
Mr Burrows, who organises school sports carnivals, cross country carnivals, inter-school and after school programs and the whole-school program Kidfit, also took 16 students, along with fellow CRSS teacher Justin Murillo, on the Kokoda Challenge on the Gold Coast this year.
Congratulations Jack on being named a finalist.