Student attendance and academic results have increased under an inspirational Sunshine Coast teacher who is a finalist in state teaching awards.
After just three years of teaching, Brightwater State School Year 6 teacher Kylie McKenna is recognised by colleagues and parents as a leader in teaching and learning.
Mrs McKenna was asked to take her Year 5 class through to Year 6 after three-quarters of her students significantly improved their attendance, and one-quarter had a 100 per cent attendance rate. Student academic results were also up, particularly in Mathematics, for which Mrs McKenna has been running student workshops in her own time.
Mrs McKenna, who is known for going ‘above and beyond what is required and expected of a classroom teacher’, is a finalist for this year’s Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) 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.
Mrs McKenna said she was initially accepted into teaching after high school, but she deferred her study “to get more established” and over the next decade worked in a banking and lending role. But her passion to teach remained.
“I suspect being a mum, having worked fulltime and having had some life experiences has made me a more rounded teacher. It has enabled me to listen – and relate – to students and families,” Mrs McKenna said. “I love the connection with the kids because they are so different on a daily basis. To see the changes in my class over time [is rewarding]: they genuinely love coming to school and it’s rewarding to see how they grow – they’re my 26 ‘other’ children.”
When interviewed, Mrs McKenna wanted to make special note of her heartfelt gratitude to Paul Taylor and Erin Saarinen for nominating her for this award and to her mentor and teaching colleague, Ian Marsden, for his wisdom, patience and support. It was clear from her interview, that she is very devoted to Brightwater State School.
Mrs McKenna is also a school, district and regional netball coach, leads the Brightwater Buddy mentoring program, coordinated the Year 6 Canberra Ski Trip, is the lead teacher on her year level for student engagement and provides social and emotional support for groups of students – particularly girls and Mathematics support groups.
Congratulations Mrs McKenna on being named a finalist.