Jane Greffe is challenging her Hospitality and Home Economics students to create products that offer real, sustainable solutions to the environmental problems facing our world.
The Marymount College teacher worked alongside local charity Boomerang Bags to create her very own curriculum-meeting assessments where students work with the charity to recycle discarded fabrics to make reusable shopping bags.
“I wanted to them to not only be sustainable in the future but I wanted them to also start understanding how they had to change their habits now,” Jane said.
“Kids like to be challenged, and they will step up if you give them a challenging task. If you give them a tokenistic task, then they’ll just give you what they think you want,” she said.
As a result, Jane’s students also featured in an educational documentary about solutions schools can offer in an effort to replace the plastic bag.
“Her students were truly inspired by this environmental consciousness and have a heightened awareness of their own responsibility for the choices they make in their lives,” colleague Paula Kennedy said.
Jane’s commitment to providing her students with real-world experience also extends to her Hospitality classroom. From 2011 to 2013, Jane mentored students in the International Secondary Culinary Challenge.
She organised for a range of successful local chefs to mentor the students and, as a result, one of her teams won three consecutive regional championships and went on to represent Australia at the international competition in Japan, where they won the gold medal.
“Jane ensures that, through progressive skills and development, all students have the opportunity for success. Her encouraging demeanour allows positive growth and mindset development for students,” Ms Kennedy said.
She has also facilitated an after-school nutrition and food preparation program developed by Diabetes Queensland for teenagers called Need for Feed, where her students learnt about nutrition and received training in healthy cooking.
“It was about increasing your fibre, increasing your vegetable intake, and reducing fats, salts, and sugars, which is very important for diabetes prevention,” Jane said.
“I was really surprised by how many students wanted to do the program, and I have a lot more students wanting to participate next time,” she said.
Jane is valued immensely not only as a teacher but also as a colleague and peer in her network of teachers. Within her school, Jane’s innovative delivery of the curriculum inspires other teachers to integrate real, sustainable innovation in their teaching.
In 2012, Jane co-created the Gold Coast Home Economics and Hospitality Network Group, which is a network of teachers that meets regularly to gain deeper insight into their syllabuses.
Jane was congratulated by the Australian Skills Quality Auditor for her dedication to the field and was asked to share her wealth of experience with other vocational education teachers as a mentor.
On top of her extensive commitments to her students and her wider network of Hospitality and Home Economics teachers, Jane still finds time to offer her exceptional skillset to the school, regularly managing catering initiatives for school carnivals and functions.
Congratulations Jane on your nomination.
By Claudia Farhart.