Fraser Coast Anglican College
When Leanne Collins had her first preschool class in the 1980s, she wrote to every child over the Christmas holidays because she couldn’t imagine not ever seeing them all again.
Her deep connections with students and depth of care for them over three and a half decades as a teacher, teacher aide and volunteer has earned her the nickname “the amazing Mrs Collins”.
This year the Fraser Coast Anglican College teacher has been nominated for a Queensland College of Teachers Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.
“I wanted to be a teacher from when I was very little. That was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” she says.
“I started teaching at the One Mile Pre-school Centre in Gympie, which was just like I had found heaven on earth; I loved the children, I loved the families, it was wonderful.”
Now at the Fraser Coast Anglican College (FCAC), Leanne has taught from Prep to Year 12, and has also worked extensively with International students, Study Tour groups, ESL students and students with special needs.
You never stop learning how to teach, or teaching how to learn or even learning how to learn, you are on that path yourself.
“For me, it is always about the kids. I genuinely like kids; I like their honesty, I love the unlimited potential that they bring. I love the fact that they all come from different backgrounds and it’s wonderful because they come in with a wealth of different experiences,” she says.
“And instead of looking at deficits or what they don’t have or what they can’t do, if we look at their strengths and what they can do, then they are valued and they also value themselves.”
“Really early in my career I worked out having kids with self-esteem was the secret. We’ve just got to embrace them, make sure that we acknowledge them, that they feel safe and valued and challenged, and the rest of it takes care of itself.”
FCAC staff have praised Leanne for applying her deep pedagogical and child development knowledge to creating engaging programs for students from Prep to Year 12, for always embracing challenges and for going above and beyond for students. She gives up her time before school, after school and during lunches for children in need.
After three and a half decades of teaching, Leanne’s passion for the profession is still palpable. She says she adores the staff and principal at her school, who always put children first.
“I’ve just been lucky, that’s all,” Leanne maintains. “We’re blessed—if you are in this profession, we are blessed, we really are. It’s not something I would ever take for granted.”
Congratulations Leanne on your nomination.